J-idol Seiko Matsuda makes directorial debut in horror anthology Folklore, Entertainment News & Top Stories
SINGAPORE – For four decades, Japanese singer and actress Seiko Matsuda has built a reputation across Asia through uninterrupted production of albums, TV shows and films. She will now make her directorial debut in a television series built on a subject that few would associate her with: horror.
The show business veteran directed an episode of Folklore, the anthology series focused on Asian horror. Season 2 premieres on HBO Go and HBO (StarHub TV Channel 601 and Singtel TV Channel 420) on November 14, with Matsuda’s episode The Day The Wind Blew airing on November 21.
Based on a story loosely based on her own spooky experiences in the entertainment industry, the plot revolves around Mika (played by Japanese actress Haori Takahashi), a schoolgirl who idolizes pop star Ken (Burmese based singer and actor in Japan Win Morisaki).
Her dreams come true when they become friends away from the concert stage, but a chilling truth gradually comes to light.
Matsuda, 59, told reporters during an online conference that the offer for her to direct came out of nowhere.
â€œIt came as a surprise. I didn’t expect it,â€ she said, speaking in English, with the occasional help of an interpreter.
She had known the Folklore showrunner, the Singaporean filmmaker Eric Khoo, when she starred in his film, the drama Ramen Teh (2018).
They were casually exchanging scary stories over dinner when she told a true story about a paranormal encounter told by a former assistant.
“Eric said, ‘I love your story.’ A year later he called me and asked me for lunch. Out of nowhere he asked me if I was interested in making a horror story and I said, ‘What ? ‘”, she recalls.
He said his story was promising. He persuaded her to put her structure on paper and direct the episode. Encouraged by his support, she got over her initial shock and said yes.
â€œBut my story isn’t just about horror. It’s a scary story, but I wanted to express love. It’s who I am,â€ she says.
She hopes viewers can appreciate her Japanese tone through the way affection is shown between romantic partners and between parent and child.
â€œThe Japanese way of showing love and care isn’t to say it out loud,â€ she says. It can be expressed in silence, but in this silence deep emotional currents run, she adds.
The episode is animated by songs written by Matsuda. After the writers finished their work on her draft, she created the music – a romantic ballad here, an upbeat pop number there – to fit the scene.
She describes her first directorial release as “wonderful”.
“I learned a lot from everyone, especially Eric. I would be very interested in doing it again if I had the chance.”
The second season of Folklore will consist of six episodes, each set in a different part of Asia and directed by a talent from that region.
Besides Matsuda, the directors are Shih-Han Liao from Taiwan, Sittisiri Mongkolsiri from Thailand, Erik Matti from the Philippines, Billy Christian from Indonesia and Nicole Midori Woodford from Singapore.
At the same online conference, Khoo, 56, explained how Season 2 is different.
While the first season dealt with more social and contemporary issues, the next will contain more fears, he says. “There will be things like witchcraft, rituals, spooky demonic possessions. We have an exciting mix.”
Folklore 2 premieres November 14 at 10 p.m. on HBO Go and HBO (StarHub TV Channel 601 and Singtel TV Channel 420), with a new episode every Sunday at the same time.