KALAMAZOO, MI — A new show set to begin streaming on Disney+ this summer, “Lost Man Found,” is preparing to begin shooting in Kalamazoo’s Vine neighborhood.
Crew members were scouting locations in the neighborhood, Monday, March 7. Producer Takuma Hayashi told MLive that actual filming will begin on March 14 and is expected to conclude March 25.
The show, he said, is a semi-true-to-life, comical story about a Japanese actor and his struggles to achieve fame and fall in love. It is based on a book that was released only in Japanese, he said.
NHK Japan, which is similar to the BBC Network, is handling the production/broadcasting of the show initially, but it will ultimately be streamed on Disney+, Hayashi said. Hayashi, of Radiant Pictures, said that scenes will be shot in both English and Japanese, depending upon the scene.
Based out of Los Angeles, Hayashi is on location and heading up production for the two episodes being shot in Kalamazoo. Shooting for the show began early this year in Japan, where the rest of the show’s episodes are set, he said. On Monday, the crew spent part of the day at Satellite Records, which will be one of two main shoot locations, along with Martini’s restaurant, located just down the street on South Westnedge Avenue.
The show, Hayashi said, is being filmed in Kalamazoo as the actor the story is based on had a brother, Takeshi, who he lost touch with after the brother moved from Japan to Kalamazoo.
As happened in real life, after 15 years of estrangement, a friend of Takeshi’s reaches out to the actor’s agent once Takeshi becomes terminally ill. This leads to the actor, Satoru, journeying to Kalamazoo for what is also the actor’s first trip to the United States, Hayashi said.
The brother in real life, Hayashi said, had worked at Martini’s, which is why the restaurant was selected as one of the site locations. The other location, Satellite, will be converted from a record store to a hybrid video/record store where the brother’s friend had worked and people regularly hung out, Hayashi said.
“‘Lost Man Found’ is about the actor, how he became an actor, and his story, but these two episodes are about his brother and their relationship, and how they reunite,” he said. “It’s based on a true story, but fictional. So, there’s a lot of stuff that we are shooting that are not 100% accurate to their story.”
Most of the shooting will occur indoors, he said, but those passing through the Vine neighborhood or who live there may see some film activity taking place in the coming weeks.
The show stars Japanese actors Taiga Nakano and Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, the latter of whom is a former member of popular Japanese boy band SMAP. Kusanagi, he said, is sort of the Japanese equivalent to Justin Timberlake.
Both stars are in Kalamazoo for the shoot, but the show’s third star, Sairi Ito, is not making the trip and is only in the Japanese location episodes, Hayashi said.
“We’re just grateful for the neighborhood association, Satellite and Martini’s for being so accommodating,” he said. “We were hoping it would be a little drier and a little warmer but next week is not looking good. We’re all from L.A. mostly and Monday and Tuesday are 30% chance of snow/rain both days.
“That’s not so good.”
Satellite Records assistant manager Bunny Villaire said they were happy to offer up the shop at Satellite as a filming location.
“We thought it would be good exposure for the store, and they seemed like really open, honest, nice guys,” Villaire said. “The story is somewhat true to life of something that happened in the Vine neighborhood and we are really connected with the Vine neighborhood, so we thought it would be really good to help showcase a Vine neighborhood story.”
Satellite will be mostly closed March 21-23 while filming occurs on location, but those who wish to purchase records can come to the store’s back entrance on those days, Villaire said.
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