With the Japanese remake of Cube now available on Screambox, I had an opportunity to catch up with director Yasuhiko Shimizu, who spoke about his approach to the remake, collaborting with Vincenzo Natali, and the on-set experience:
What was your familiarity with the original Cube and why was it a film you wanted to remake for modern audiences?
CUBE had developed a cult following at that time. As a 16-year-old living in the countryside, it was a legendary work that even I, who had no interest in movies at that time, knew of its existence. It was a movie that truly transcended movies, having an impact not only on movie fans but also on the culture of various genres. I was thrilled to be involved and given the opportunity to remake such a masterpiece.
In terms of changes from the original work, the rules of CUBE have remained almost unchanged, and since I want to open it up to more people to see it, I have tried to strip away the mathematical structure and simplify it.
By strengthening the rules within CUBE in this way, I was able to take the time to expose the humanity of the targets who entered. The person who enters and becomes the target has become a completely different person from the original. I believe this is a major change from the original. All the characters in the Japanese version are Japanese. By doing so, the aim was to create a different story for the Japanese remake. It also functions as a fresh introduction to a modern Japanese audience.
Escape Rooms have rapidly grown in popularity around the world over the last five years. Did that impact the way you approached and developed CUBE in any way?
My understanding is that CUBE is somewhat the origin to the escape room movement, so in creating the remake, I may have rather turned my attention to the classics. I remember reading the books of Kobo Abe such as “The Woman in the Dunes” and “The Box Man” when thinking about the remake.
What was your relationship with Vincenzo Natali while making the film?
Vincenzo Natali supported me throughout the production, and we would have a discussion at every turning point. CUBE brings out a very special feeling, where only the people who participated in making this particular production can understand and share. I feel we have built a strong camaraderie among us with trust.
Cube has so many clever surprises in store for the cast and audience. Can you talk about the creative process for developing these traps and the production team setting them up on-set?
First, I thought of the rules within the CUBE, then the character design, and finally the traps. Through this process, I was able to clarify how each trap would work effectively on the characters and for the film.
Can you talk about the fun and challenge of filming with the cast in a limited space?
During the entire production, I would be commuting to just one studio, every single day. It was a great experience for someone like me, who has no experience working as a company employee where you commute to the office every day. I enjoyed meeting my colleagues at the same place every day.
“A group of strangers wake up in mysterious room inscribed with an unfamiliar code. Looking for ways to escape, they discover the room is riddled with lethal traps. As fear and distrust swirl around them, the group must work together to survive.”
Starring: Masaki Suda, Anne Watanabe, Masaki Okada, Hikaru Tashiro, Takumi Saito, Kotaro Yoshida
Directed By: Yasuhiko Shimizu
Watch now on Screambox: https://www.screambox.com/details/1000000009784/Cube