Giant Robot Store and GR2 News

Get a free copy of Norwegian Wood, the novel by Haruki Murakami. Just follow the directions which are a) spend $40 and b) mention Norwegian Wood in the notes of your order. We have copies for both online and the store. We’ll also throw in what promo materials we have for the upcoming film opening soon. Take a look at the site for the show schedules. *In store folks, as an added bonus, we’ll also give you a signed mini poster with Rinko Kikuchi and Tran Anh Hung’s autograph. All you have to do is spend $40! Norwegian Wood Movie.  The link to the GR Store.   Here’s the poster:  
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Rinko Kikuchi might be best known for her role as the mute school girl in Babel directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Nominated for an Oscar, she’s gone on to numerous projects including Brothers Bloom and is in 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves and yet another project currently filming with Guillermo Del Toro. Her role in Tran Anh Hung directed adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood is far from a tender character as she’s cast as Naoko, a person who’s mentally ill, plagued by her own demons. Kikuchi currently lives in New York City and we caught up with her during her Norwegian Wood promotions. Her English is coming along as well as her acting roles.


GR: Can you tell me about your experience of reading Norwegian Wood?

RK: When I read the book, I was the same age as Naoko, so I fell in love with Naoko’s character and ten years later, I got this role. Now I understand her better than when I first read the book.


GR: When I read some books when I was younger and then I re-read it again at a different time it felt a lot different. How did you see that? Did it change a little bit when you read it one more time before the movie?

RK: Yea, when I made this film, I learned everything has an end. Naoko and Kizuki wanted to keep their beautiful memory so they committed suicide. They were scared to open the other door, you know? That’s why I think this book is really beautiful, poetic and fragile. So I got a new experience of the book after making the film.



GR: I know that the character is kind of a difficult one and I was reading how you had to get into that character. How do you do that?

RK: I read the book over and over again, and I asked Naoko questions and tried to get the right answers from her. Right at the beginning of the shoot, the answers and questions melded, so finally I could do that the role, but every specific hint from the novel mattered.

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From Tran Anh Hung, “Murakami and his wife loved the film. I’m not the right person who can repeat all the nice things they said about the movie. They used the word ‘noble’ to describe the movie. That’s all I can say.”

Norwegian Wood is a beloved book by Haruki Murakami. The fans have rallied behind this author in almost any endeavor, thus a film adapted from one of his novels proves to be near impossible in escaping built in scrutiny from the moment it’s conceived. Director of films such as Scent of Green Papayas and Cyclo, Tran Anh Hung rose to the task and proved that a film could be made and done well. The film isn’t action. It’s is a Haruki Murakami novel adapted into a film. It’s meant to be meditative, spiritual and also beautiful which Tran Anh Hung delicately captures. The film will open in January.


GR: Can you talk about your relationship with Haruki Murakami.

TAH: I sent him a letter when I learned that he gave his permission to a Japanese director to adapt one of his short stories. Since I wanted to adapt his books. In ’94 was the first time I read his book. So five years ago I sent him a letter asking him if he would be interested to meet in Tokyo and he said ‘yes, come over’ and that’s how we met for the first time. During this meeting he was very simple. He wanted to read the script and also to know about the budget of the movie.

GR: Oh wow.

TAH: Yea so we spent, the producer and I, a year of two to give him the project.

GR: You’ve mentioned that he is one of your influences. Is that something that you kind of grew up with, did you read his novels?

TAH: No, no, I only read one book. As usual when I’m interested in something I have to keep it very fresh meaning that I was not interested in finding out who is the writer and to read his older books. I didn’t want to read his older books because I only wanted to keep this book very fresh in my mind and wait for the moment where I can sign a contract with a producer to start working on the book. It’s only when I stopped working on the book that I start to learn how important is the book for the people that it’s a very successful book. I didn’t know this before.

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It wasn’t easy to pick the 10 winners of the tickets for two to see Norwegian Wood. There were 60+ entries for the ten spots. They were picked by me based on whatever criteria I felt at the moment. There isn’t a “if I write more, I have a better chance” system. It could be how I felt at that moment and your short poetic words caught me off guard, maybe that’s how I picked. If you didn’t get in, please try again during our next giveaway. Some of your words were too generic, in a “let me in” type of way, but if you offered just a little more, you were in the running. Here’s my picks. (I left the editing part out, some probably wrote from their smart phones and some carefully crafted their words)


The 100% Perfect Girl

I’m a huge Haruki Murakami fan. I have his more recent books but unfortunately haven’t read Norwegian Wood. I loved 1Q84. I just found out about this movie a week ago and was stoked. I’d love to attend and already know “the 100% perfect girl” who would be my date, as she’s a big fan too!
Greg Wong

-Greg, you are the dark horse, there are fans of all of his books, fans of the filmmaker, and fans of the actors who aren’t getting in, but this “100% perfect girl” is intriguing. If there’s such a thing for you and you know who she is, I’m picking you just on that merit, so hurry and ask her.



oh, let me count the ways…

it was the first murakami book i read almost 20 years ago. and i read it in a tiny, tiny city in southeastern japan, so that made it even more special. i lived a long time in japan, and his books kept me grand company as the still do today. in fact, i just re-read norwegian wood about a month ago and it’s still a lovely little tome to me.

i’m very excited to see this movie, especially because rinko kikuchi is in it.

flipping love her!

ALSO, i speak/read/write japanese, am a member of the Japan Society here in new york, and have always loved me some Giant Robot.

so in closing:

Jennifer Andrews

-Jennifer, Yes, we love her too. I doubt she loves us back the same. The GR plug, a great move. Have a great time.


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New York Giant Robot readers and friends, Tran Anh Hung’s adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood is set to be released, but there’s a special screening. Send us just a bit of why you’d like to see this film to First 10 to qualify can go and see this movie. Wednesday, December 14, 2011. 7:00 pm Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, New York City Followed by a Q&A with writer-Director Tran Anh Hung and Actress Rinko Kikuchi and a reception. Japan Society, Soda Pictures + Red Flag Releasing, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, invite you and a guest to a screening of Norwegian Wood, the new film by Tran Anh Hung (Academy Award nominee for The Scent of Green Papaya and Golden Lion winner for CYCLO), based on the internationally acclaimed and bestselling novel by Haruki Murakami. Written and directed by Tran Anh Hung. Based on the novel by Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood. Starring Kenichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi, and Kiko Mizuhara. Cinematography by Mark Lee Ping Bin. Music score by Jonny Greenwood. Released by Soda Pictures + Red Flag Releasing   Norwegian Wood is a moving story of loss and sexuality set in Tokyo in the late 1960s against a time of global instability. Watanabe (Japanese star Kenichi Matsuyama, Death Note, Detroit Metal City) looks back on his days as a freshman university student living in Tokyo. Through his reminiscences, we see him develop relationships with two very different women, the beautiful yet emotionally troubled Naoko (Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi, Babel), and the outgoing, lively Midori (Japanese-Korean model-actress Kiko Mizuhara.) The film’s cinematography is by Mark Lee Ping Bin (In the Mood for Love, Devils on the Doorstep). Originally published in 1987, Murakami’s novel has since been translated into 33 languages and published in 36 countries. Vietnam-born and Paris-based writer-director Tran Anh Hung was nominated for an Academy Award for The Scent of the Green Papaya and won the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion for Cyclo. Norwegian Wood is his fifth feature. Norwegian Wood is scheduled to open in New York on Friday, January 6 followed by a national roll out.
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