Monday, March 26, 2012

Big Change for Cook Like a Uke -- Hot Actor Ukes!

I've been very pleased with the support I've received for Cook Like a Uke. One of the few criticisms – aside from the criticisms based on foreign Japan-o-files thinking that yaoi is something that the Japanese found offensive – is that there aren't actual Ukes cooking the food. I gave that some thought, and realized that this was a fair criticism. And there were things I could do about it. I am a filmmaker, after all. And I live in the land of hot actor boys. Thus, I've decided to use the itsy-bitsy marketing budget I have for the yaoi titles to do some shoots with actors cooking like a uke.And I had a logo done for some new aprons!

I had a casting call last week. It's the first one I've had in a number of years, and I worried that the low budget would limit the choices for the parts. I needed actors who were hot, had a presence on camera AND had credible cooking skills who were willing to work on such a modest budget. I was not very hopeful. Thus, I was very pleasantly surprised when I found four such actors to fill the roles of the various kinds of ukes. At lest, they looked good in their photos and had some very nice reels. But there is more to casting this sort of part than those basic requirements. I had to meet with them to see if they actually looked as good in person (I've been unpleasantly surprised during casting sessions when actors turned out to be a lot older than the photos and reels they post or they've had a few years of hard, hard living since their last head shot and reel was shot). Then, I had to find out if they were truly credible in the kitchen. There are many stories from beleaguered directors about actors who claim they can roller blade or ride a motorcycle only to end up in the hospital and markedly set back en entire film or TV shoot. I didn't want to have an actor or me in the ER from a knife wound, nor did I want my kitchen or me set on fire. The last thing I had could only gauge in a a face to face meeting is how comfortable the actors would be with the subject matter. That meant, explaining what yaoi is and why it has a rabid, mostly female audience. I basically gave them the history I wrote in a blog last November, Kitchen Supplies, Bromances and Other PicturePostcards. Just scroll down the middle of the blog for the Bromance part. Later, I sent links to episodes to Junjou Romantica and Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi that relate to cooking food.It was funny explaining all of this if the passers by were any indication. Ah well, it wasn't the weirdest casting meeting I've ever had.

The four actors chosen fit the requirements for the roles, and they embraced the spirit of the webseries. I have four different types of guys who will cover some of the various types of ukes, or, in some cases, the very serious, buttoned down Semes who are cooking for ukes. The plan is to make dishes from yaoi anime and manga (this includes a dish from Nabako Kamo's Again Tomorrow that I worked on with a team of localizers for the Digital Manga Guild). The first shoot is scheduled for April 2nd. I'll post behind the scenes photos of the shoot that day. The first video from that shoot are slated to be posted on April 6th. The actors who will appear during the run of the series are:

Ryohei Watanabe
Ryohei Watanabe, a Japanese actor/dancer/director who has been in the US for five years. He is an avid cook who has his own recipes for many of the dishes on the schedule. You can find out more about him at

Kyle  Valle
Kyle Valle, an actor who is also an avid anime fan and foodie who is a talented, self taught cook.

Donal Thoms-Cappello
Donal Thoms-Cappello, an actor/comedian who is a trained cook.

Edward Swimgler

Edward Swingler, an actor/dancer/cinematographer who loves to cook.

As you can see, they are very easy on the eyes. I can't wait to see what they will bring to this fun and irreverent little series.

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