In the high-octane adventure, “Dragonball Evolution,” Justin Chatwin plays the heroic Goku, on a perilous quest to save the planet from destruction. James Marsters is his evil nemesis, the despicable Lord Piccolo – menacing and ruthless. As the dark and vengeful Lord Piccolo, Marsters’ character will stop at nothing to sabotage Goku’s attempts to find the mystical dragon balls. Our for himself, he is intent on annihilating the world and ultimately wants to dominate the universe.
The new film is based on the phenomenally popular Japanese Manga, familiar to comic book fans all over the world. Staying true to the essence of the original, this is an epic coming of age tale, which crosses cultures while maintaining a vivid Asian flavor. This futuristic story combines drama, humor and excitement, with a rich cast of characters. In the following q&a, Marsters gladly shares the fun on playing the meanest character in the universe.
Q: James, your character is totally evil. How much fun is it to play such a menacing guy? You’ve had a lot of experience with dark characters?
JM: “Lord Piccolo is a maniac who has been locked away in a prison for 2,000 years for one mistake (completely unfairly of course) and then he bursts out of jail and he escapes. In the prison, there were no mirrors and to his horror when he gets out, he finds that he is old and ugly and decrepit. He is furious and decides to seek revenge and kill Goku.”
Q: Is he totally evil then or are there shades of gray in your character?
JM: “Yeah I guess I am pure evil. But look at this from my character’s point of view. I think I have just cause to be mean and angry.”
Q: Can you describe Piccolo?
JM: “He has an egg shaped head, no hair and is bald. He turns green when he gets really angry. We hold true to the heart of the cartoon, although he is not exactly the same. But I think we have created a very good interpretation. My character is an old man who’s mad and angry about being old and he desperately wants to be young again. His youth has been taken away from him and he is not happy about that.”
Q: How was it filming the movie?
JM: “You should see what we have to go through on this movie. It’s like climbing a mountain. We’re at war. We’re smiling but we’re actually at war. That is what it feels like (laughs) and there is no time to think about anything else. We just have to get through this and arrive home in one piece.”
Q: Are you ever concerned about the possible overuse of effects in movies?
JM: “I am not afraid of special effects. I always think that if you are tuned into the story – in this case it is Goku’s story - you’re focused on the same thing. The special effects guys are tuned into. So the effects are simply being used to tell the story. As actors, we get all the credit because emotionally, the audience is focused on us and they come out of the theatre saying, ‘Wow, what a powerful actor,’ but that is partly thanks to the power of the effects. They support the story.”
Q: What do you think makes Dragonball special?
JM: “The thing that I love about this film and story is that I think it has helped me as a parent raising a boy. I have an eleven year old. The film is all about training to become a man. In our culture, we don’t really do that and I think it is great. It is about becoming a strong man, coming to terms with your male aggression and having an outlet for that The film says that real men are actually peace loving. They can take care of themselves and others without being aggressive.”
Q: So you see Goku as a good role model for boys?
JM: “I do. I love that template for boys growing up because being a gentle human being doesn’t mean that you’re weak. That’s what I love about the unapologetic violence of Dragon Ball. It means that you can be violent if you need to be. If your friends are getting hurt, that’s justifiable. I think Goku is just the best kind of hero. He’s so realistic. He is a mellow guy who doesn’t try to convince anybody that he’s tough. People crack jokes about him. However, when the life of his family or friends or the world is in jeopardy, he unleashes his energy and power with the most incredible violence and defends the Earth. That is what Goku does. He’s a real man, not a poser.”
“Dragonball Evolution” opens nationwide in theaters come April from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.