Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa for “Pearl Harbor”

Cary and his mother were born in Tokyo, his father and brother in Honolulu. His dad was in the army for 20 years, but his parents are no longer alive and one regret he has is his father won’t get the chance to see him in this historic movie. The 51-year old actor has starred in over forty major movies including “The Last Emperor”, “Licence to Kill”, “Rising Sun”, “Mortal Kombat”, “The Phantom”, “John Carpenter’s Vampires”, “The Art of War” and the upcoming “Planet of the Apes”:

Question: Why choose this movie?

Answer: “Coming into this film I had a lot of apprehension, my greatest wish would be that we left the last millennium by stop counting the anniversaries of Pearl Harbor and instead when they said they were making a movie I thought ‘who the ***** are they, they had to pull this stuff off’ you know, so I had great apprehension. Then I said who’s doing it? Michael…Michael Bay? Armageddon Michael Bay!!! The guy who made the flag bigger than Patton at Cape Canaveral, that Michael Bay? I thought Oh my God! Go get some Japanese actors, hire those guys let them take the fall. When I read the script it…it just made it, made me feel bad about pre-judging. I mean I know about prejudice, I was doing that to this movie and I was doing that to Michael Bay so when I read the script I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn’t an embellishing”.

Question: Hawaii is dominated by a major Asian-American population not represented in the movie, was that a concern??

Answer: “That was my concern too, I thought that they were bombing California…yeah I was wondering where the Asians were in the film”. At the time of the attack, “there was nothing but Asians here, and actually the only people here otherwise were defendants of the missionaries, businessmen and the military – that’s it”. Was that brought up at all? “It was not my place to bring it up. As an actor, you’re lucky if you get to speak about your character. What really gets left out, and not that it was a point of the story, but the most decorated unit in the history of the US army was from Hawaii – all Japanese-American…some sort of more Asian-American involvement could’ve been possible”.

Question: Did you have any effect on the portrayal on screen of the Japanese element?

Answer: “Coming into this film, apprehension, working with Michael Bay – he was gracious in listening to our ideas to make it better in that sense. Not necessarily to make the Japanese look any better, but certain technical things that would’ve embarrased the Japanese, we made those changes”.

Question: What’s it like working on both this film and the upcoming “Planet of the Apes” remake?

Answer: “Is this a dream come true for an actor, I may be the only actor in both movies and I thought about it and thought wow. If I had an ultimate dream this is what it’d be – blockbuster Summer movies, “Pearl Harbor” very personal to me and “Planet of the Apes” personal to me too. I graduated in the year it came out 1968, and what was interesting was at that time was it was right in the middle of the Vietnam War and the secret war in Cambodia, Robert Kennedy had been assassinated – I’d met him three days before that year was big, really big. So in the midst of all this kind of technology, an astronaut lands on a planet where apes are smarter than humans I’m like YESSS!!”.

Question: What connection is there between the new ‘Apes’ film and the old one?

Answer: “It has hardly any connection except an astronaut goes to a planet only this time it really is a planet of the apes…its not the profound first version, its really what I liken to be a sort of a Star Wars/FOX merchandising heaven version. The makeup is certainly much more detailled and allowed the actors to be much more expressive, and we move certainly a lot different – we went to apes school for two months so, that part of the film is certainly different”. How long did he spend in the chair getting your makeup done each day? “4 Hours”.