The movie is set at the Tateyama mountain range in Toyoma Prefecture where there is a mountain cottage located at the peak of one of the mountains named Oonanji at the height of 3,015 metres above sea level.
Matsuyama plays the character Toru who inherits this cottage from his father who passes away and has to bear with the harsh conditions of nature while keeping the cottage afloat. Aoi plays a staff member of the cottage who helps Toru while Kobayashi and Dan play Toru’s parents. Toyokawa will be Goro-san, a man who’s an expert on mountains and helps Toru along the way.
As the movie is expected to feature all four seasons, the filming will begin from April on location for a period of 7 months. Although the oxygen level at such a height will be reduced to about one-third of the level on ground level, the cast will say their lines themselves instead of resorting to voice-dubbing later.
Director Kimura first got to know Matsuyama at the party of a movie awards ceremony and thought that he might be a good fit for the role of Toru.
On 17th and 18th March this year, Matsuyama suggested that they should go mountain climbing at Yatsugatake in Nagano and Yamanashi Prefectures and aim to reach the Io Peak which is 2,760m high.
As Matsuyama is used to walking on snow since he comes from Aomori Prefecture, he was able to walk with ease on the thick snow. However, Director Kimura sprained his foot during the journey and had to give up halfway.
Despite strong winds at 30m per hour, Matsuyama still managed to reach the peak so it made the director convinced that he had picked the right person especially when he saw how Matsuyama could carry someone on his back while walking on the snow.
As for Aoi, the director said that she must be the first actress to do filming for a Japanese movie at a place 3,000m above sea level and he told her to practice walking using mountain climbing boots.
On Wednesday it was announced that Kenichi Matsuyama will star in veteran cinematographer Daisaku Kimura’s second film as a director, Haru wo Seotte.
Matsuyama will play protagonist Toru Nagamine, a man who rebelled against his father and upbringing in the Tateyama mountain range in Toyama by leaving for a fast-paced life in Tokyo, only to return after his father’s death and take over his mountain cabin.
Matsuyama’s newly-announced co-stars include Yu Aoi as Ai Takazawa, Fumi Dan as a stouthearted mother figure named Sumire, Kaoru Kobayashi as Toru’s father Isao, and Etsushi Toyokawa as a strange man named Goro-san who introduces himself to Toru as a friend of Isao’s.
Additional cast members include Hirofumi Arai, Eisaku Yoshida, Sosuke Ikematsu, Sakura Ando, Toru Nakamura, Yoshie Ichige, Hisashi Igawa, Renji Ishibashi, and Isao Natsuyagi.
Filming will take place on location at the Tateyama mountain range between April and November. The film will be released by Toho in Japan in June 2014.
It based on a novel by Ryohei Sasamoto.