‘Drive My Car’ director ready for Hollywood ‘challenge’

The 43-year-old said he was still in shock over the film’s Oscar win.

“Until the very last minute, I was convinced that the Oscars and my life were two things that had absolutely nothing in common,” he told reporters in Tokyo during a press conference with the film’s lead, Hidetoshi Nishijima.

The 51-year-old actor said he believes the film’s success is due in part to its universality and “the fact that the title character has lost a loved one and is still trying to get on with life.”

Based on a work by acclaimed author Haruki Murakami, the three-hour film won numerous accolades en route to its Oscar triumph, including Golden Globes and a Bafta.

Hamaguchi said he got some advice from fellow director Chloe Zhao, whose “Nomadland” was the Oscar toast last year and who went on to direct the Marvel superhero film “The Eternals.”

“She said ‘stay sane’ to me and I found those words very important,” Hamaguchi said, adding that he felt up to “taking on the challenge” of a Hollywood blockbuster, if the opportunity was offered to him.

Undertaking such a project would depend on the subject of the film and whether the conditions would allow him to “keep his feet on the ground”, he added.

Hamaguchi is the fifth Japanese director to see a film receive the foreign-language Oscar, along with cinema icon Akira Kurosawa, whose “Rashomon” won in 1952.

“Drive My Car” was also nominated for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as Best Picture – a first in Japanese film history.

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