Special Actors (2019) Analysis – An Actor Despairs


Stagefright is a conventional panic for anyone who has stepped on stage or performed, but an aspiring actor who faints with even a slightest intervention of stress, is where a great plot occurs. Special actors, narrates the tale of one such actor, Kazuto (Kazuto Osawa) who fails to book any acting roles, due to his constant spells of seizures caused by audition stress. To remedy Kazuto’s joblessness and increasing debt, his brother suggests an Acting Agency, named Special actors that supplies performers for Real Life Acting, precisely a group of scammers.

Special Actors is the third feature by director, Shinichiro Ueda, popularly known for his Japanese cult zombie comedy, “One Cut of the Dead.” With Special Actors, he brings back the same fun and punches that keeps your eyes glued to the screen and funny bone constantly tickling.

The Story

Special Actors centers around an aspiring actor, Kazuto who is a timid looking, not so outgoing nerd, with a likeness for a superhero movie like Rescueman. He yearn to become an actor so someday he can play a superhero character, who beats the shit out of goons and saves the beautiful heroine, but there is a major issue, Kazuto is prone to fainting spells whenever he’s nervous. He carries a miniature rubber ball, that act as a calming remedy for him.

His therapist thinks the condition is psychosomatic but it’s enough to put a barrier in his ambitions of becoming an actor.

“I want to get rid of these seizures, I want to Act.”

Not able to book any acting job, and increasing debts pushes Kazuto to try his hands on anything he gets, but when he loses his job as a security guard, things are totally devastated. It is on this day, he runs into his estranged brother Hiroki (Hiroki Kawano), who once wanted to become an entrepreneur. Hiroki tells Kazuto that he works as an actor now, that kinda surprises Kazuto. When he probes further, Hiroki introduces Special Actors Agency to him, an agency that uses acting skills to help clients achieve whatever ends desired.

“Acting, But in Daily Life.”

From there on, starts a mad ride of Kazuto and Hiroki performing gags for bucks at Special Actor Agency. It is like a customer services that introduces a role play set up to help their customers, with things like breaking up with their violent boyfriend, or paid hooting and laughs in a theater hall, that would make other audience laugh as well. It is a kind of paid marketing set up, though with a touch of actors in it.

Soon, the Special Actors agency is handed an important assignment to unveil the malpractices of a God-man, and with hilarious twists and turns keeping Kazuto at its center, the special actors explore Kazuto’s fear helping him to find an end to it, with a fascinating end.

An Actor Prepares

The whole hilarious ride is to prepare Kazuto, to shed his fear and come out of his fainting seizures  to finally become a confident actor.

The screenplay supplements this theme, from time to time, without losing it’s promised plot. Every comic scene, marvelously designed, explores Kazuto’s flaws and motivates the audience to feel sympathetic for him. Anyone who has performed, will relate to Kazuto’s performance anxiety on a personal level.

The beginning and the end of the film, underlines a complicated fact, that acting is an art, art that is perceptive, a lie. Defining what a perfect lie would be, is an absurd idea. Special Actors touch this notion without complicating it further, just to converse to budding actors and performers, that whatever people might say, pursue your art, the way you want to. The patrons and Guru of art, will always be able to find a criticizing thread in your art, but your belief and confidence matters more than their opinion. To say it in their words, If acting is lying, then an opinion on lying is farcical.

Special Actors

Special Actors is an agency that supplies performers to help you deal with real life issues involving drama, be it fighting with your molester or stalker, or lighting up your stand-up with a couple of paid laughs, Special Actors Agency does it all.

The idea of Special Actors agency is not new in Japanese films where concepts like “rent a family” already exist but combining it with Kazuto’s fainting spells and Japanese Cult investigation, makes it a perfect blend.

Through Special Actors, director Shinichiro Ueda has traversed a serious issue of Japanese cult and God-man with a comical approach and has achieved the same, marvelously without getting into the preachy zone.

A special mention for the climax fighting sequence that is brilliantly designed, mixed with Kazuto’s flaws and aspirations. I am sure it is going to make you smile and feel good for the protagonist, the intention why movies are made, to make underdogs heroes of their own journey.

If you are looking for a hilarious drama centered around actors, then Special Actors is a must watch. It is light, laughable and gripping with few comic scenes that stay with you, to smile afterwards.

Special Actors is a Japanese comedy film written and directed by Shinichiro Ueda released in the year 2019. The film isn’t available for online streaming for now.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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