“Tadaima (I’m home),” YOSHIKI softly greeted a theater full of excited fans, prompting an eruption of cheers and a chorus of “Okaeri! (Welcome home!)” as fans and press alike gave the producer the rock star welcome he deserved.
With daybreak on Thursday, September 20, 2007, thousands of fans descended upon Cinema Mediage – a mammoth Sony-owned entertainment complex situated on the Odaiba waterfront, flanked by the prestigious Le Méridian Grand Pacific Tokyo Hotel and the Rainbow Bridge. Passerbys and tourists, unaware of the event that was to unfold hours later, gaped in wonder as fan after fan streamed into the complex – some dressed to the nines, others in full cosplay, proudly displaying mile-high hair and meticulously constructed costumes. Could it be that a rock concert was about to occur?
With fans wielding camera phones and digital cameras, forming row after row in front of a makeshift stage, it wasn’t too difficult to mistake the scene for a rock concert – had the stage not been lined with the same red carpet that cascaded down a winding staircase, traversing the area where fans and press awaited, giving away the nature of the event to curious onlookers.
The stage’s backdrop made it clear to those unknowing few just what the commotion was all about: it was the red carpet world premiere of “Catacombs.” In a single moment, the once-unaware passerby was suddenly transformed into a knowing lucky attendee who might have the chance of glimpsing a celebrity or two.
“Catacombs,” written and directed by David Elliot and Tomm Coker, and produced by Lionsgate Entertainment, is about a young woman on her first trip to Paris, who hits a party in the Catacombs, the 200-mile labyrinth of limestone tunnels under the city lined with the remains of 7 million people. Separated from her friends, she becomes convinced that someone or something is chasing her.
YOSHIKI participated in the movie by contributing to the soundtrack—hand picking many of the artists who would be featured along with Jrock Revolution’s own Jonathan Platt. In addition, he wrote the theme song, “Blue Butterfly,” the first Violet UK track to be featured on any album.
Though some fans that packed Cinema Mediage might have come for the movie, it was unquestionable they all came to support YOSHIKI. As the MC announced the talent, the power of unified cheers rose in such sharp decibels, it seemed deafening even to guests (which included Jrock Revolution and SUGIZO) watching the events unfold from the second floor VIP balcony.
First to descend onto the carpet were David Elliot (writer/director) and Mark Burg (producer), who smiled and waved at cheering fans as press began to snap their cameras. Then, with a proverbial drum roll that came in the form of “Blue Butterfly” played through the sound system, YOSHIKI descended the stairs with the star of the first three “Saw” movies, Shawnee Smith (soundtrack talent), on his arm as thousands of flashes from the cameras of press and fans alike became an epileptic, blinding light show. Fans waved, screamed, and continue to call out “YOSHIKI!!” in an attempt to direct his attention towards them—when he was already smiling and waving at them.
For many fans, this was far more than just the world premiere of a movie—this was YOSHIKI’s return home after years of being abroad. His unprecedented collaboration with a movie on such a level meant another glimmering marker was being placed on the road of an illustrious career—and they were present to witness its placement.
Later, on a stage inside the theater, David Elliot and Mark Burg explained that they were very fortunate a good friend of theirs from Los Angeles happened to introduce the “musical genius” YOSHIKI to them, giving them the opportunity to work with him. Mark went on to say, “This song (“Blue Butterfly”) matched perfectly with the movie.”
Originally planned as the theme song for the Japanese release, Mark and David were so impressed by the music that they chose to make the song the worldwide theme song. For YOSHIKI, “Blue Butterfly” is “the most forefront music; a fusion of dance and rock.”
Mark expressed the desire to work with YOSHIKI again—going as far as asking his fans, “How would you like to see YOSHIKI act in my next movie?” Naturally, the fans reacted with great enthusiasm, to which YOSHIKI demurely declined with, “But, I’m really shy…”
While YOSHIKI won’t be acting in a movie, he will, however, be the producer of Lionsgate Entertainment’s next film, “Repo! The Genetic Opera,” a horror musical directed by “Saw II” and “III” director, Darren Lin Bausman, starring Paris Hilton and Sarah Brightman. It was revealed that YOSHIKI will also be producing the soundtrack for this film.
With a final round of applause, the lights dimmed and the audience began the descent into “Catacombs” – a thrilling horror that, at moments, made the author of this article cringe. Then again, it must be noted that she certainly is not a horror fan by any means. (Ironically, neither is YOSHIKI, Mark, David, or Shawnee for that matter—a revelation that surprised the audience, considering the nature of the film.)
David explained, “I want people to be scared, because the Catacombs are a real place. I also want to present the message that we all have limited lives, and it’s important what we do with the time given to us.”
Written and Reported by Kuri
Images courtesy of Jrock Revolution and Digital Site