Learning a lesson on love from Frankenstein

Go Ayano (above left) and Fumi Nikaido in Japanese drama Frankenstein's Love.
Go Ayano (above left) and Fumi Nikaido in Japanese drama Frankenstein's Love.PHOTO: GEM AND NIPPON TV

When Japanese actor Go Ayano transformed into a monster for Frankenstein's Love, a Japanese drama inspired by classic novel Frankenstein (1818), he had an epiphany.

"Humans can be more monstrous than monsters," says Ayano, 35. "We take life for granted. We take people for granted. Whereas the monster I play is very loving and touched by the love people give him."

The actor turned up in character, wearing a patchwork coat and with a scarred face, when he spoke to regional media recently in between filming at a studio in Tokyo.

A romantic at heart, Ayano - who has earned numerous acting awards in Japan as well as last year's Rising Star Award at the 15th New York Asian Film Festival - goes off on philosophical tangents during the interview, discussing humanity, the acting craft and the blue sky.

To prepare for the role, he digested the original 1818 work Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. "Only after fully comprehending the details did I feel it was possible to update this tale for the modern audience while honouring the original, " says Ayano, who debuted in Japanese action hero drama Kamen Rider 555 (2003).

His character in Frankenstein's Love is a kind-hearted creature created by a scientist. He goes into hiding for a century for the safety of mankind.

Then the monster comes into contact with a young woman and a love story between them unfolds.

Fantasy romances between humans and monsters are not uncommon. A recent example is the live-action remake of Disney's classic animated feature Beauty And The Beast.

He says: "I think the theme is popular with audiences around the world because they want to believe in love. With a warm touch, loving gaze, they want to believe that love can bloom."

He waxes lyrical when asked for his view on love, explaining in a poetic way that people should not take their loved ones for granted.

"We know that the sky is blue, but we do not even notice the sky at times. It's important that we remember to look up and appreciate the sky.

"The monster is the kind of creature that looks up at the sky every day. That is why he is grateful to individuals that he loves."

Gwendolyn Ng

•Frankenstein's Love airs on Gem (Singtel TV Channel 519) on Thursdays at 9pm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2017, with the headline 'Learning a lesson on love from Frankenstein'. Print Edition | Subscribe