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When Mutta was 12-years-old and Hibito was 9-years-old the two brothers saw what they thought was an UFO flying towards the moon. They made a pact then to become astronauts and one day fly into space together.
Fast forward to the year 2025. Older brother Mutta (Shun Oguri) works as for an automotive company and his younger brother Hibito works as an astronaut. Although Mutta failed to follow through on his childhood promise, after losing his job, he receives a phone call from Hibito which reignites his childhood dream of flying into outer space ...
- Based on Chuya Koyama's manga "Uchu Kyodai" first published in 2008.
- Portions of the film will be shot at the Kennedy Space center in Florida during the month of June, 2011.
- Theme song for the movie is British pop band Coldplay's "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" (Mylo Xyloto).
- Related titles:
- Space Brothers 0 (2014)
Additional Cast Members:
Q&A for "Space Brothers" took place at the 2012 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival on July 23, 2012. Appearing as speakers are director Yoshitaka Mori (left) and producer Genki Kawamura (right). AsianWiki editor Ki Mun was there and transcribed/translated the session.
- Yoshitaka Mori (director) - Hello, I am Yoshitaka Mori. I directed the movie Space Brothers. This is the first time the movie is being shown outside of Japan. I’m curious to know the reactions from the audience here. Thanks for staying late to listen to our Q&A.
- Genki Kawamura (producer) - Hello, I am Genki Kawamura. I produced this movie. I came to Bucheon two years ago with Director Tetsuya Nakashima for the film “Confessions.” I’m glad to see more of the audience stayed than the last time.
- Audience Question - I think many Koreans have read the original manga. I would like to know how the manga was turned into a movie. I got the impression that the manga was more realistic than other manga. I also got the impression that the movie focused on the emotions of the brothers more. When Hibito got into the accident on the moon, you didn’t give Mutta the chance to do something for him like in the manga. Mutta just follows in the path of his younger brother. I would like to know why you made the film this way.
- Yoshitaka Mori (director) - The answer to your question is that I'm a realist. In the original manga, Mutta was able to do something for Hibito, but in the movie, I wanted to express the distance between older brother Mutta and younger brother Hibito. In the movie, there's only about 10 minutes with Mutta and Hibito together out of a total runtime of about 2 hours. In the first half of the movie, Mutta is in Japan and Hibito is in the United States. In the second half, Mutta is on Earth and Hibito is on the moon. The brothers are far away from each other, but they somehow connect with each other. That's something only the movie can express, but the manga can't. I wanted to show the history of the brothers, who have dreams and go for their dreams. That's something that doesn't happen suddenly. With Mutta, all he can do is cry on Earth.
- Audience Question - Why did you pick this manga to make into a film? Also in the beginning and ending of the movie, I noticed you put in the history of space exploration. Curious why you cast Buzz Aldridge and not Neil Armstrong?
- Genki Kawamura (producer) - Two years ago, I worked on the film "Confessions," which is a very dark film. Also last year, the big earthquake occurred in Japan. After that, I thought we needed a movie with a positive dream. The title is "Space Brothers". Space is wide and a large theme. On the flipside, brothers are relatively small and a tiny theme. I think these two themes make an interesting contrast and that is one of the reasons why I chose to make this manga into a movie.
- Yoshitaka Mori (director) - Neil Armstrong rarely makes public appearances.
- Genki Kawamura (producer) - In the beginning of the movie, the astronaut who places the American flag on the moon is Buzz Aldridge. The last part of the film has the brothers placing the Japanese flag on the moon. I thought Buzz Aldridge would fit better with the brothers in this regard.
- Yoshitaka Mori (director) - Buzz Aldridge made his first acting appearance in this film. I shot his scene in one take. Before we filmed his scene, I was worried we might not be able to film it due to a lack of time. From a director's perspective, Buzz Aldridge is a very good actor. An astronaut is well trained and taught to take orders from a control center. I talked with Buzz Aldridge about acting and he performed his scene very well. I experienced that scene like being in the control center.
- Audience Question - I'm surprised the movie came out so great, even though it differs from the original manga. I'm thinking that when you decided to make the manga into the movie, people around you might have told you that the movie wouldn't do well at the box office. Did you feel pressured from that? Also, are there any Korean cartoons or novels you want to turn into a movie?
- Yoshitaka Mori (director) - Thank you. I want to ask you what made you like the movie?
- Audience Response - Directing, technique. I also liked Hibito trying to survive. That part isn't in the original manga. I've watched a lot of films based on comics, but in general, they disappoint. But I like this movie a lot.
- Yoshitaka Mori (director) - Thank you so much. When I decided to make the manga into a movie, I got pressured a lot. The manga is really popular and has a lot of fans. I couldn't let their expectations down. I wanted to make a conclusion only for the movie. I think the reason a lot of movies based on a manga fail is that they only use the good scenes from the manga. It's like the abbreviated version of the manga. When I was asked to make this movie, I read chapter 1 of "Space Brothers 1." After reading that first chapter, I thought it could turn into a fun film. I viewed Chapter 1 of the manga as a short story and focused on how to connect that into a 2-hour movie, rather than abbreviating the entire manga series into a 2-hour film. From the planning stage, I thought about adding scenes that would fit only in the movie, like the rocket launching scene and moon scenes. Also, to express the distance between the brothers by having them not appear together except for 10 minutes in the movie. The main characters are fictional, but the background of the movie is non-fiction. Even, actual astronauts appear in the movie. With all of this, we tried hard to have our own color, which only the movie could have. I think people like it because of that.
- Genki Kawamura (producer) - About your second question. I would like to work with Korean directors rather than a particular Korean cartoon or novel. I like Lee Chang-Dong a lot and I would like to make a movie like "Secret Sunshine". It might turn out too dark though. I hope Bong Joon-Ho makes a film about Godzilla.
- Audience Question - I like 90% of the movie, but I didn't like the ending part. I don't know whether it's because of a lack of time or the original manga, but the ending was so condensed. Also, I feel like the movie relied too much on the United States, like showing the American flag too many times and using music from Sigur Ros and Coldplay.
- Yoshitaka Mori (director) - About the ending. It's really clear whether people like it or not in Japan. I made that ending as a director. Because the ending shows the history of the brothers, I made it carefully. If I wanted to make the movie more dramatic, Mutta could have went to the moon to save Hibito. But, thinking about the ending, I think those scenes are necessary.
- Genki Kawamura (producer) - About ending part. It's very clear in Japan whether people like it or not. Some people think we abbreviated a long story too much. Some people think those scenes fit the ending well. As someone who makes movies, I think the ending fits. There are though lots of fresh, differing opinions on the subject.
- Yoshitaka Mori (director) - About too much USA in the film and Sigur Ros / Coldplay. Coldplay is a British band (and Sigur Ros is Icelandic). I think the U.S. leads in the space industry, so obviously there would be lots of U.S. elements in the film. The last scene has the brothers placing the Japanese flag on the moon. I made that scene, expecting that someday we will have such a moment. After the big earthquake last year, we changed the scenario a little bit.
- Audience Question - I watched the movie without reading the original manga. At first, I thought the movie was more comedy, because of Shun Oguri's hair style. But in the middle of movie, the story focused more on drama and I became touched by the movie. In the middle of the film, there are the “green card” scenes involving Mutta in the observation room. Then he finally stands up in front of the other astronauts to give a talk. I thought there would be more explanation about that scene. Did you intend to not have a clear explanation for that scene?
- Yoshitaka Mori (director) - Those scenes were about testing the qualifications of potential astronauts. I used those scenes to show that astronauts do not just blindly follow orders from the control center. I'm sorry if there isn't enough explanation for that scene, but I wanted to show that astronauts are also human beings through Hibito's dialogue in front of his peers.
- Audience Question - Buzz Aldridge appeared in the movie. He is a legendary figure. What did he think about acting in this kind of blockbuster film?
- Genki Kawamura (producer) - Buzz Aldridge is a very natural person, so I think he decided to appear in the movie without giving it a lot of thought. He always held a can of Pepsi on the shooting set. I heard that he worked calmly and went back home afterwards.
- Moderator - We are now out of time. Could you say some final words?
- Yoshitaka Mori (director) - Thank you for listening to our story. I am so glad to have had this kind of talk for the first time abroad.
- Genki Kawamura (producer) - I am very pleased to come back here after 2 years. When I hear or read movie reviews, I remember the days of making movies.
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