Full Interview: City Hunter star Ryohei Suzuki on the Ryo x Kaori chemistry and making the ‘Mokkori’ dance

Ryohei Suzuki stars as Ryo Saeba in Netflix's City Hunter, and he has a lot of interesting stories about the film's production.

ONE Store Beta Now Available

Ahead of the City Hunter live-action movie’s release on Netflix, we got to chat with Ryohei Suzuki who stars as Ryo Saeba in the film.

During our conversation, Suzuki shared some interesting stories about the movie’s production, including a funny and wild moment while filming in Shinjuku. Suzuki also revealed that he went to the Philippines for a couple of days to train, and he shared how he and co-star Misato Morita (as Kaori) were able to have great chemistry on-screen.

[The following is the complete transcript of our interview with Ryohei Suzuki (edited for clarity), though there are spoilers for the film in this interview, so proceed with caution.]

Q: Ryo and Kaori’s relationship is a big part of the original manga/anime, and that was also a big part of the film. How did you develop that chemistry with Misato Morita?

Ryohei Suzuki: Exactly. I mean, that is exactly the thing I told Miss Morita about City Hunter. Because I was such a big fan of City Hunter, I tried to explain the core of the story of City Hunter, and I told her exactly what you said. This is not a movie about action, and this is not a movie about revenge. This is a movie about the bond between people. Between you and me and your brother Makimura. This is a story about how you overcome the death of people you love and how the bond grows stronger and eventually grows into love. Maybe not in this film, but eventually goes into love.

So, I told her that and I also told the director that, and that was the start of our communication. And she already knew that well. So, we had a very good chemistry on the first day. And as the filming goes on, she’s such a talented actress so she keeps becoming deeper and deeper into Kaori.

Like in the final scene, when we were fighting together, she was 100% Kaori. And I felt like I was actually fighting with that comic book character of Kaori and not Miss Morita. She really is a good actor.

Q: Ryo’s “Mokkori” dance in the film was an incredibly funny scene. How did that come about and how did you practice that?

Ryohei Suzuki: In the script, it only said he dances in the cabaret, and the line was mokkori-sho, and that was it. So, we didn’t know what kind of dance he does or what kind of tricks he does.

But I had a sense that I knew what kind of dance Ryo would do if he was in the modern day. He is 100% going to imitate some Japanese comedians who, you know, comedians with naked dances. And I got inspiration from four great Japanese comedians.

So, I told the director that I was going to choreograph for the dance, and I rented a studio. And I went there with an actor friend, and we choreographed together. We shot the scene, edited the video, made that mokkori dance scene, and showed it to the director, and the director liked it. So, that was the dance [in the film].

Q: The City Hunter movie has lots of dynamic action scenes and a lot of comedy. What was the most fun part of the film to shoot?

Ryohei Suzuki: It’s always tough. It’s not always fun to do action scenes. But you know, I’ve had experience with fighting scenes, fighting sequences, but it was my first time to handle guns, firearms. So, I needed to have training for that. So, I went to other countries. I had one day in Korea and four days in the Philippines for gun training, and I learned so many things about guns. That was the most exciting preparation for acting in the action sequences.

Q: The City Hunter film is set in Shinjuku, an iconic Tokyo location. Did you film on location? If yes, what was it like to film there?

Ryohei Suzuki: First of all, it was really hard to get permission to shoot in Shinjuku. We were so lucky. We were lucky enough to shoot even in the most complicated area called Kabukicho. We might be the very first crew that was allowed to shoot there.

The reason why is because it’s City Hunter. People know it is, and it is iconic in the series, Shinjuku. So, they allowed us to shoot and come to Kabukicho, but it was we were really nervous about shooting. In Kabukicho, there are so many kinds of people, and the crime rate is really high.

We got permission but still, we couldn’t block the whole street. So, we had to run through the crowds. Of course, we had, like 200 background actors in the streets, but there were like 400 pedestrians walking on the street, and most of them were drunk because it was the middle of the night.

When we started running in the filming, we started running along the street and I noticed that there was one guy chasing after us from behind. He was so drunk he was screaming. “Let me run too, oh, where are you going?” That was a crazy shooting [night].

The new City Hunter live-action movie is now streaming worldwide exclusively on Netflix.