“It’s a film that will offend a lot of people, but so many people will love it.”
Cinema Australia are very excited to introduce you to the cast and crew of Addison Heath’s Melbourne shot Yakuza film, Mondo Yakuza. We’ve also thrown in a few exclusive behind-the-scenes shots for your viewing please. You can also catch the trailer below. Enjoy!
Ichiro Kataki, a violent Yakuza gang member travels to Melbourne, Australia after his beloved sister Yuko is brutally murdered by a group of criminals. Hell bent on vengeance he teams up with Cassidy Arizona, a lady of the night with a vendetta of her own…
Directed by: Addison Heath
Written by: Addison Heath, Glenn Maynard and Kenji Shimada
Produced by: Dylan Heath, Jasmine Jakupi and Tomoko Davies-Tanaka
Starring: Kenji Shimada, Skye Korvin, Glenn Maynard, Rob Stanfield, Cris Cochrane, Saya Minami, Kristen Condon, Aston Elliot, Harlene Hercules, Tom Liddy, Vlady T, Celia Voivodich, Elizabeth O’Callaghan and Lewis Edwards
Kenji Shimada: Kataki Ichiro
This is my second feature film working with Addison Heath through Black Forest films and MilliYen Productions and it has been a ball. Going on set is always a change of pace, as we move out of our normal day-to-day jobs to take two to three days to film, taking us into a world of hyper reality where Japanese Yakuza meet Aussie criminals – a lot of blood flying around always makes for a surreal experience.
During Mondo Yakuza I have had the experience to work with a very gifted and talented young group of cast and crew, whose dedication is always inspiring as I see the passion and commitment it takes to bring a film to life, showing a new depth of self-motivation I can carry with me today. The days are long and test your patience, but I always do my best to savour each moment as I know this sort of thing doesn’t come twice, and being able to participate in it is always like a dream.
One of my acting teachers Lyndelle Green mentioned, all our characters come to us at the precise moment we need them, and Kataki Ichiro has been no exception. Not saying that I need to go out and kick a whole bunch of arse – which Ichirou does do with great style and endurance which even I can learn from – but that I was going through a phase of overcoming a lot of challenges in my life, seeking to be at peace with myself and my place in this world. I had many moments where I saw the struggle in him as well. It has been an interesting journey to say the least to be living with a Japanese Yakuza at home with me, sometimes just sitting in the corner with a samurai sword and listening to his thoughts on the world, or how to execute his plans with the utmost precision and violence. As I went through my journey as Kataki Ichiro, I can’t thank enough the people who have been there for me to be able to express these emotions, with its high level of intensity at moments, allowing the time and space for the story to be brought to life. I hope it will be enjoyed as much by the viewers as it has been for me to create with everybody involved and I look forward to being there in the cinema with everyone when the movie releases, to enjoy the spectacle of what is to be the Mondo Madness.
Skye Medusa: Cassidy Arizona
I love working with Black Forest Films! It’s like being with a bunch of your best friends rather than on a film set and I can tell I will have friends for life after this experience.
I worked with them on a previous film set (Under A Kaleidoscope) but it was a short time on set, I was ecstatic when I heard they had a role for me in Mondo Yakuza and even more so when I read the treatment. I’m looking forward to working on future projects with this group of legends!
Mondo Yakuza has a great story, amazing actors, action, violence, sex and more! We had so many extras and so many practical effects set up and it’s been amazing to watch the film come together. My role as Cassidy was a blast. I got to channel my inner badass and vixen at the same time. Because the film is mostly improv I got to try a lot of different things with encouragement from director Addison Heath, to see if they’d work. I really tried to put my own take on the character. Being the actor on set with the least experience was daunting at first being in scenes with amazing seasoned actors but everyone had great energy and rather than being intimidated I found myself being inspired.
I can see Mondo Yakuza becoming a cult classic, It may not be for the faint hearted but I’m sure there’s something in there for everyone.
Glenn Maynard: Ryan Beckett
I already knew that Jasmine (Jakupi), Dylan (Heath) and Addison (Heath) were total champs and that being on set with these guys would be a blast and a whole bunch of fun given the nature of the film. What I did learn was how easy it was to wind Dylan up. He doesn’t like to discuss the dating app Tinder.
I like that my character and his buddies are the comic relief for the film and it gave us a licence to be nasty and funny. I’ve done sexy, funny acting before and sad, sexy acting and nasty, sexy acting, but never nasty, funny. Addison stressed that the film could go anywhere because of the improvised nature of many of the scenes, but it always had to be entertaining and this became the default. For us (the actors) to remember that this film is for the audience which gave me in particular a licence to enjoy myself during the takes.
Detlev is a fucking sick cunt!
Saya Minami: Yuko Kataki – Sister of Ichiro, daughter of the top Yakuza in Tokyo.
It was a fun and very creative time as it was all improvisation acting. Director Addison let me act freely.
I love old Japanese Yakuza film, but recently we haven’t seen much good Yakuza film from Japan. But Mondo Yakuza has that feeling of authentic Yakuza film plus modern stylish Tokyo taste.
If you don’t watch this film Yuko will haunt you!
Cris Cochrane: Dean McCrory
As a performer, to have direct access to a passionate director that is interested in further character development is the perfect environment to push the character as far as possible. Reading a script and instantly knowing it will be a cult classic is a rare treat- Addison has a vision that is just ready to explode into a bigger audience. People will love this film and the perfect and unique mix of story, violence and humour is going to make this film a classic of the genre.
To play a character that is such a loose cannon is every actors dream. Dean will be a character that I wish I could play in another twenty films! The craziest and loosest character I’ve ever played – the BEST. But more than that, the story is actually perfect in its cultural detail and attention to detail. A credit to Dylan, Jasmine and Simone that ensured the performers were happy, but also the film was airtight.
Please do a se/prequel, I loved Japan when I was there!
Rob Stanfield: Calvin Beckett
Calvin is a part of the group of men who kill Ichiro’s sister, prompting him to get his Yakuza revenge on us. Calvin is the straighter and less violent of the three, sometimes being the voice of reason and more focused on the business of crime rather than the fun.
It was brilliant working with Black Forrest Films, an absolute pleasure. I had worked with Addison before doing a small role in Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla, which he wrote. I loved that film when it came out and jumped on the opportunity to audition for Black Forest Films again. Filming with them was a great experience. Addison knew what he wanted in the scenes yet he also gave us an incredible amount of freedom with our characters, which for me, made working with them a very satisfying experience. I can’t wait to hopefully work with them again.
The most interesting thing when filming this was the fact that the dialogue and the scenes were largely, if not fully, improvised. Going into this film, I was nervous as hell as I saw this as a massive challenge, but once we were in the flow of things, I actually found making the film in this manner was the most fun and freshest acting I have done in a long time.
I have said it before and I will say it again. Making this film has been the most satisfying and enjoyable experience I have had on set. Rocking up each day we filmed and just not knowing what to expect. Exhilarating, exciting, nerve racking yet an absolute blast. I see massive things for this film when it comes out!
Simon Harcourt (Pictured with Fred Williamson): Sound / Blood Squirts and Bullet Wounds
It was a really fun experience with a great bunch of folks. Some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Some of the fight choreography actually gave me chills on set, amazing stuff. There are at least two scenes in this film I can’t think have been in a film before.
Simone O’Dea: Slate / Sound Sheets / All-rounder
I was predominantly responsible for the slate and sound sheets but being a very small crew there were often times that we all found ourselves looking out for one another and doing other things also. It’s always an incredible experience working with Black Forest Films and a tonne of fun. I couldn’t ask for a better group of to work with. There are always plenty of laughs and it’s a very open and relaxed environment, even under pressure.
I really enjoy the dark humour of Addison’s work. The most interesting thing for me though is that the film was made without a full script, just a treatment and the actors fleshed everything out themselves beforehand. I think this film has a lot to offer a lot of people as it has some amazing action scenes as well as humour and gruesome violence. It was amazing seeing Marty, the fight choreographer, bring the fight scenes to life.
Mondo Yakuza is a revenge tale like no other. A lot of love went into making this picture happen, and there were at times a strange sense that we had something working on our side against the odds. I think this film is very special and I really cannot wait to see it on the big screen.
Hussein Khoder: Sound Recordist / Boom Operator
Working with Black Forest Films was amazing. I already knew about Addison and his crew before being asked to be part in the Mondo Yakuza crew. Each crew member was just so nice and great to work with and everyone having similar interests made being on set so much fun.
What I loved the most is how it just keep getting more and more insane. Just when you think it can’t get more insane it does.
I really can’t wait for everyone to see it and I myself am super excited to see it as well. It is a film that will offend a lot of people but so many people will love it.