Shutter: American Remake with Jackson and Taylor

“Shutter,”, starring Joshua Jackson and Rachael Taylor, is directed by Masayuki Ochiai from a screenplay by Luke Dawson. The film is produced by Taka Ichise, Roy Lee and Doug Davison, and the executive producers are Arnon Milchan, Sonny Mallhi and Gloria Fan. Katsumi Yanagijima is the director of photographjy, Norifumi Ataka is the production designer, and Michael N. Knue, A.C.E. and Tim Alverson are the film editors. Music is by Nathan Barr, and the music supervisors are Dave Jordan and JoJo Villanueva.

Casting

Joshua Jackson, best known to audiences for his role in the long-running series Dawsons Creek and who was recently named the lead in Foxs high-profile sci-fi series, Fringe, produced by J.J. Abrams, joined the starring cast as Ben. Rachael Taylor, who had just completed a key role in Transformers, would play Jane.

They were joined by David Denman (The Office, Saint of Circumstances) as Bruno, the agency head whos brought his friend Ben over to Japan for the photo shoot, John Hensley, who stars in the series Nip/Tuck and the provocative indie film Teeth, as Adam, a lascivious manager of models, and James Kyson Lee (Heroes) as Ritsuo, the editor-in-chief of a spirit magazine publication.

Rachel Taylor

Rachael Taylors Jane is a kind of surrogate for the audience, for it is through Janes eyes that they will experience many of the films chilling moments. Taylor notes that Janes journey through an unfamiliar and ultimately terrifying landscape also mirrored the actresss experiences in Tokyo shooting the movie. Im a country girl, so Tokyo was a complete other world for me, says Taylor, who hails from a small town in Tasmania. Tokyo has a very different kind of frenetic pace that you find in the U.S.–or anywhere–even in New York City.

I had some serious Lost in Translation moments while filming SHUTTER, Taylor continues. I think its similar to what Jane goes through in the film. Shes very much out of her depth and desperately trying to cope with a culture shes unfamiliar with. Looking for an even stronger connection with her character, Taylor reinforced her own sense of isolation and disorientation by making sure not to assimilate into the Tokyo lifestyle.

Janes new husband Ben is far more comfortable with his surroundings, having lived in Japan for several years, prior to meeting to Jane. Ben is supposed to be comfortable enough in this world, that hes able to navigate it with a fair amount of ease, says Jackson. Jane is the stranger in a strange land who doesnt know how to find her place.

Immersion in Spirit Photography

Both Jackson and Taylor got a quick and intense immersion in the world of spirit photography. That phenomenon was one of the major ideas that director Masayuki Ochiai really wanted to convey, says Jackson. Its such an important concept in Japanese culture, and its accepted and well-known everywhere there. We in the U.S. think of ghosts as floating, ephemeral spirits. But in Japan, ghosts are taken much more seriously, and they take on a more physical presence.

Taylor says she is a spirit photography skeptic but became more open to the idea during production. I am a believer in the existence of certain energies. And I like what SHUTTER has to say about energy or emotion being able to make itself heard. That makes sense to me if something is really strong, it will find a way to materialize or send a message.

But it was more than the idea of spirits caught on film that drew the actors to the project. I really appreciated the evolving dynamic between this young couple, says Jackson. The relationship seemed real and livable; then, of course, theyre thrown into a terrifying scenario. During production, Jackson and Taylor had significant input into delineating their characters, a fact much appreciated by their director. Joshua and Rachael had a lot of great ideas and came up with some wonderful unscripted moments, says Ochiai. For example, they devised this kind of secret physical contact between the two characters, little things that two newlyweds would share. Theyre not big actions, but are very important to the characters.

Good Eye for the Scary Detail

The two actors came to admire Ochiais skill in building on the screenplays scares and thrills. Ochiai has this ability to set a mood and create tension throughout the story, says Jackson. As actors, we worked with him to create the scary moments and have the audience join us for the ride. Adds Taylor: Ochiai has a really good eye for whats authentically scary and that translates to all audiences.