EXCLUSIVE! Interview with STREGA/GUN CALIBER Creator Bueno

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Garage Hero Productions has been doing a lot of work these last few years. With Gun Caliber, Ayakashi Zamurai, Yakuzambie and more under their belts, this team has really cemented itself as “THE” group of foreigners making tokusatsu in Japan. They certainly have the street cred according to many fans and, come to think of it, the ONLY group of foreigners making Tokusatsu in Tokyo.

Note: If there is another group, feel free to email me and make yourselves known.

That being all said, the Garage Hero team has not stopped. Alongside their toku, they have given us plenty of reviews on current tokusatsu that hits theaters. At the end of the most recent review of the Kamen Rider Ichigo movie, we got our first taste at their next big project: STREGA!12952849_10154146567136942_1066527857_o

Strega is a sequel to Gun Caliber … and so much more. I had a chance to have some time to talk to Bueno, who is the creator, writer and star of Strega & Gun Caliber to talk about the project, tokusatsu today and what can we be looking forward to.


BI: Ok. You dropped the HUGE news that Strega is the next big project. You been quoted that it is not just the sequel, but the successor to Gun Caliber. How did Strega come about? 


Bueno: I made Gun Caliber back in 2010 with limited resources.  With the footage of GC that was finished, it got noticed by one of the directors at the AV company called Giga (http://www.akiba-web.com/).  They’re the folks who make all the Tokusatsu AV/Pornos.  I met a lot of people within the company and gathered resources there.  One of the people I constantly talked to there was Daisuke Komatsu.  He  used to work for Rainbow Zoukei (The company who made all the Kamen Rider costumes until Kiva) from Kamen Rider 555 up until Kabuto.  We would always talk about how crappy Tokusatsu has become as of late and how we should do our own thing.  He had personal dream projects that he wants to make and so do I. However, he’s better at making suits than I am while I know how to shoot stuff better than he could.  We decided to help each other out with our skills and step into pre-production for Gun Caliber’s sequel, Strega.
BI: Strega’s design is a bit darker, yet looks like a solid upgrade to the original Gun Caliber suit. What made you decide to make the change from Gun Caliber to Strega?


Bueno: Everyone says that the Gun Caliber suit looked badass, but only because I used dark colors to hide all of its flaws.  Also, I limited him powers to just using guns because the action would be easier to make.  This time around, Komatsu is handling all the Zoukei (Costume Effects) so I can focus more on the film making aspect.  Besides, I think its rather safe to have a guy who used to craft Kamen Rider suits create the suits this time around don’t you think?


BI: What would you tell people that Strega is about?


Bueno: Aside from all the sex, violence, and offensive humor, Strega is many things really.  It’s a story about mid-life crisis, clean slates, redemption, troubled youth, flaws in contemporary Japanese society/superheroes, family, and (believe it or not) forbidden love.  But with OUR budget (which is like…0 yen), I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to pull it off.  If people are watching this movie to expect something thought provoking, they’re most likely watching the wrong movie (laughs).  But if they want to see a movie where you can connect with the characters and cheer for the hero, then you’ll probably have a good time.

BI: Where is the mind set of our lead in the beginning of the movie as opposed to Gun Caliber?


Bueno: Soma is still as irresponsible as ever, but is starting to realize that he’s not getting any younger and is questioning his own lifestyle.  He enjoys cheap thrills but meets someone who’s going to change his life forever.


BI: Who or what is the main antagonist for Strega and why?

Bueno: You’ll have to wait and find out.


BI: Shifting gears, you are doing a whole lot in tokusatsu, not just Strega, How do you feel about the direction of tokusatsu as a whole right now? How has it changed and is it for the better or worse?


Bueno: Back in the 80’s and 90s you’d have numerous shows a year with some standalone movies from time to time.  Nowadays, its’ just Kamen Rider, Sentai, Ultraman, and Garo.  With Garo, the main people funding it are pachinko makers. So, as long as the pachinko games do well, it doesn’t matter if Garo is good or not.  Same with Kamen Rider, Sentai, and Ultraman.  There’s a lot of directors out there who could care less about Toku.  Osamu Kaneda on Kamen Rider is a prime example of this.  Not to mention a certain producer.. “cough-Shirakura-cough”.  It just starts to lack any sort of imagination or originality and becomes a complete waste.  That’s partially the reason why I set out to make my own self-produced Tokusatsu instead.

But hopefully the better directors such as Sakamoto, Oka, and Taguchi will get more spotlight within the coming months and help bring back Toku to what it should be.


BI: How big is the creation of a toy to sell affect a tokusatsu’s design and story now as opposed to say 10 years ago? 


Bueno: I wouldn’t know.  I don’t work for Bandai or Plex. (laughs)  But I will tell you this.  The toy definitely helps the action choreography.  If there isn’t a toy, the hero would just be slugging a monster all day long and that gets boring really quick.


BI: Creating a toku is such a daunting task and designing suits is one of the biggest parts of it. Who did designs for Gun Caliber, Strega, and some of your other film works?


Bueno: For the design, I got Gideon Goh to take a look at Shinobi (PS2) and make something more mechanic from that.  The results are as you see them.  I usually want to have that gap of a dark, badass hero…who does the stupidest things while wearing the suit.


BI: Getting back to Strega, what was your creative process in creating it? 


Bueno: It’s pretty much just taking all the things I think are cool or funny and mixing them with all my own personal life experiences and people that I’ve met.  Guillermo del Toro once said “as film makers, the movies we create usually reflects on the kind of people who we are.”  So, I think that being surrounded by crackheads, potheads in Canada, mixed with the fake/narrow minded Japanese that I’ve met makes for some interesting stories.  Also, I make it a habit of watching the bad movies as well as the good once because you won’t know how a movie is good or bad unless you’ve seen both.  I know some people who have created some “indie Toku” and it looks absolutely horrendous, but in their mind, its looks amazing.  When people tell them that it looks terrible, said person doesn’t know where they went wrong.  You need to know both good and bad films.


BI: What are some of the most important things you have learned about toku, since you have had such an experienced view and opportunities with it?


Bueno: For me, Tokusatsu has got to be one of the most difficult genres to shoot.  For example, take a typical TV drama.  You just work with two people having a date or something like that.  But with Toku, you have to work with the action team, the Zoukei studio, CG, drama, and on top of all that…tell an interesting story.  You can tell why a lot of Toku fanboys give up so easily. Mainly because of scheduling. (laughs)  But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all this, its what Sakamoto taught me: “As the director, it’s your MISSION to make sure that the project is finished and seen through to the end”.  I may not have been able to do that with Hayate, but I care about Strega too much to simply give up on it.  I’m going to see this movie through no matter how long it takes.


BI: Do you have tips on getting in fighter shape for a toku?


Bueno: Know what kind of role you want to play and get in shape for that accordingly.  A lot of Japanese stuntmen say I’m fat, cause they themselves are skinny.  The thing is, a lot of them are skinny just so that they can stunt double for the women.  I’m not interested in dressing up as a lady anytime soon, so I chose to bulk up a bit and start drinking protein.  Now, whenever I see the same stuntmen, they’re always skinny, beat up, and tired while I’m still feeling great.  Not only will going to the gym help you fit into your tights, but it’ll help you be more positive and confident in yourself.


BI: What kind of music are planning to use for Strega? Is there a distinct sound you want? 

Bueno: Whatever’s free. (laughs).  But rest assured, you’ll most likely hear some hype stuff for the action scenes.


BI: Finally, what do you want to say about Strega and all your Garage Hero work? What else can we expect from you soon?


Bueno: Gun Caliber was made in 2010 and released in 2014.  It’s 2016 and there’s still no DVD.  It’s not like we can pump these movie out on a monthly basis. So, we really need more fans to follow us, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and help us get viral.  We hope to start up a crowdfunding campaign later on, but I think the only way any of our projects will get momentum through that is with the support of the fans.  And its not just about giving to us, we also hope to give back to the fans as well by telling them all about the creative process through our upcoming tutorial series, Tokusatsu Film School.  Everyone will be able to learn everything from making the suit to choreographing a fight sequence.


Thank you again so much, Bueno. Infi-nites, keep it locked here for more on Garage Hero Productions, STREGA and up-coming campaigns to make STREGA fully realized. Make sure you subscribe to Garage Hero Productions on Youtube, email them at garagehero7@gmail.com and follow them on twitter with @garageprod7.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][rd_images_carousel images=”13593,13590,13589,13592,13586,13584″ size=”large” scroll=”yes” t_color=”#dd0000″ bg_color=”#000000″][/vc_column][/vc_row]