Sadako vs Kayako

Sadako Vs Kayako interview

First there was FREDDY VS JASON (2003), next there was ALIEN VS PREDATOR (2004) and now Japan has thrown their hat in the ring and taken two of their most successful franchises and pitted their villains against each other. In the left corner, wearing a long white dress and long black hair, hailing from THE RING is Sadako Yamamura (played by Elly Nanami)! In the right corner, wearing a long white dress and long black hair, hailing from THE GRUDGE (JU-ON) is Kayako Saeki (played by Runa Endo)!

SADAKO VS. KAYAKO is the latest offering from director Kōji Shiraishi (THE CURSE) and can be seen exclusively on the horror streaming channel SHUDDER.

FEAR FOREVER had the pleasure of sitting down with Elly and Runa to talk about the film, the challenges they faced with the auditions, and what lessons can be learned from the film.


FF: Elly, how do you audition for a role like Sadako? Your character doesn’t talk and we can’t see her face so what did you do to ensure you got the part and set yourself apart from the others who auditioned for the role?

Elly Nanami: I had already seen THE RING franchise but I watched it again when I got the audition. I rented the DVD and really focused on watching the actions and movements. Then I practiced in front of the mirror over and over. The funny thing is that I did not know which role I was auditioning for! On the day of the audition there was tons of people there wearing the long white dress and at the end of the audition we were told to fight each other. I had never experienced anything like that at an audition! I was not allowed to touch the other person and I had to use my hair. I had to be scary just by standing there and scare the other person psychologically.

FF: It’s interesting that you didn’t go into it auditioning for one specific role. Runa, was your audition experience similar to Elly’s?

Runa Endo: Yeah, I experienced the same thing. I didn’t know if I was auditioning for Sadako or Kayako at the time, so I watched the DVDs from the franchises and I focused on picking up the movements. I’m very physical so I really wanted to play the role of Kayako. During the audition, I had to fight with a couple Sadakos. At that time I was not allowed to touch them but while we were shooting I was allowed to use some wrestling skills. I was very surprised!

FF: When actors are working to create characters a lot of it is understanding the backstory of the character. How they came to be who they are. When it comes to Sadako and Kayako, we don’t know very much about how they came to be. We know what they do, and we know what they make us feel but we don’t really know their backstory or their context. To make this character your own, did you create your own backstory for how you felt the character got to where they are?

Elly: In the prior films, Sadako was someone who was killed. In this movie, Sadako is a ghost from an urban legend. So when I talked to the films director, Mr Shiraishi , he said “please create a new Sadako, your own Sadako” so I tried to create a new Sadako by myself.

Runa: It was the same with me. It’s well known that Kayako was once living and was killed. But this time the director wanted to create a new Kayako. One that is not a human being, but is a ghoul. Because everyone knows that Kayako was a human being who was killed, everybody knows that in Japan so it’s just like Kayako is there and she just appears. Like superman or batman just appears, so does Kayako!

FF: You were talking about urban legends and Japan has a number of those. Not only are these tales told to spook children but they also are there to act as a life lesson. A more popular one that was relayed to me was about the “Lady with the big smile”. I’m paraphrasing but the story goes that if you stay out past curfew or late at night a lady will come up to you on the street and ask you if you think she is beautiful. The lady has had her mouth slit from ear to ear. If you say yes she will cut you ear to ear. If you say no she will cut you ear to ear. The lesson or moral of the story of the lady with the big smile is “Kids, don’t be out late at night, don’t talk to strangers” etc. What do you think the moral of the story is for each of your characters is to teach people?

Runa: So when Kayako was human she was murdered by her husband because her husband suspected she was seeing other men. So the lesson here is that a vengeful spirit will stay after a person is killed.

Elly: Don’t watch a video without title! Don’t watch a video that you do not know!


-Amy Seidman

Special thanks to ClutchPR for setting up the interview and interpreter.


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