This is a private page for people invited to contribute to the creation of REGEN (working title). I got the kernel of this story years ago, and now (October 2020) it occurs to me that it could be a good candidate for shooting a Japanese version, in Japan, with the possibility of selling it to Hollywood later for them to jazz it up and put some stars in it for an international version. This page exists so that I don’t have to keep describing it over and over on Facebook or phone every time I want to explain it to someone, and also to keep our story and production ideas all in one place. If it gets to the point where this needs to be a collaborative site—allowing others to edit or add to it—I will have my site designer do that.
Everything at this point is subject to change, pending better ideas by contributors or myself. Names and locations are all temporary, though I think the story would benefit from shooting for a day or two in Hokkaido. It is my understanding that it’s cheapest to shoot a film in Japan if the locations are kept in Tokyo, to avoid travel and lodging costs for cast and crew. To get around this limitation, we will use local crews and local producers being organized by a Supervising Producer.
I think this film will be best if it has a lot of input to the script from a Japanese screenwriter or filmmaker. I can probably finance at least half of it myself. If I can sell my Sgt. Meat script first, I will be able to finance this whole project myself.
(At this early stage, all notes here are provisional and can be changed. But this is a place to start from, a basis for brainstorming and generating the best story possible.)
A young Ainu girl is injured in Hokkaido while hiking. Her leg is badly mangled and doctors amputate it below the knee. Her grandfather arrives at the hospital in the middle of the night while the girl is still under sedation. (Note: We might have it be a grandmother, depending on how casting goes, but I like the idea of it being a grandfather, because a male Ainu would stand out more because of his facial hair.) He makes a cast around the girl’s missing leg and foot so they can’t be seen and the girl doesn’t think about it not being there. The grandfather takes the girl back to his secluded home. When the girl awakes and says she can’t feel her leg, the grandfather tells her: “The nerves in your leg were damaged, but with this medication, the the doctors said the sensations in your leg will return after several weeks.” Two months later, the girl reports feeling in her leg. The grandfather waits two more weeks, then removes the cast to reveal that the leg has regrown. (The girl does not know it was ever amputated.)
It is revealed later that the girl’s grandfather lost a hand in an accident years ago. This is found in old hospital records. But he is perfectly healthy now. The hospital didn’t know he recovered because it was a long time ago and there was no reason to follow up. No reason for them to ask, “Hey, is your hand still gone?” (Haha.) An older doctor thinks he recognizes the grandfather, but thinks he is mistaken when he sees he has both of his hands.
The Bad Guys:
The bad guys are the American CIA agent (Jonny Lewis) and every Japanese person in the story who thinks they can gain money or power by betraying the girl. Consider: If the U.S. military can assure their soldiers, “Don’t worry if you lose an arm or a leg; in three months we can grow it right back for you. In six months it will be a good as new and you can either retire or go back to the front and fight again.” Essentially, the U.S. military would have the bravest fighting force in the world. Any injury short of death would be equivalent to a mere flesh wound.
Word leaks out about the girl, from a nurse at the hospital who later sees the girl at a gas station as she flees with her grandfather. (The grandfather went to use the bathroom and told the girl to stay in the car, but the girl was hungry and went inside to buy a snack.) Now the Chinese want her too. Koreans come into play, and we are never sure whether they are South Korean or North Korean. One possibility is that the girl gets rescued, but then we find out her rescuer is Korean—North Korean—and s/he proceeds to take her to a port city to board a ship for China, since by now Japanese authorities are watching for her at the airport. Or, if we can get access to shoot at a small city or private airport, we can write a scene so that they North Korean is going to fly her out that way.
The bad guys do catch the girl, but it’s not necessary to export her to the U.S., since this research is a joint American/Japanese venture under the joint defense arrangement. They do a series of chemical and biological tests on her, yielding results that are interesting, but not conclusive. The Doctor hesitates, stating that in order to find out more, they will have to operate on the girl’s brain and test its reactions. After such an operation, the Doctor says, the girl will be a vegetable. The CIA agent says, “If we can regenerate body parts, we will have an army that cannot be defeated. With such an army, we will at last have a chance to bring lasting peace to the world. Go ahead with the operation.” The Doctor looks at the girl. The CIA agent says, “She’s just one child. She has no family. She will not be missed.” (Note: At this point either the grandfather is dead or—better—they think he is.)
Partial Treatment as of 10-20-2020
I will write the story.
I’m very open to suggestions from others, especially from Japanese or Americans living in Japan, for locations and other details pertinent to Japan that I am just not familiar with, as well as for plot points scenes, or characters.
To Be Determined, but here are some possibilities:
Producer: Shigeru Hirai
Hiroki Wakamatsu (main director) — for his experience in directing several very good sci-fi films.
Jonny Lewis as possible co-director. I’m not suited to directing action, but might contribute to help manage the emotional beats.
Many people in the Facebook group “Japan-Based Filmmakers and Actors” have indicated that there are several excellent local crews in Japan. We may use these for our scenes in Hokkaido and other places outside of Tokyo, in order to avoid incurring costs for travel and lodging of crew.
To Be Determined, but following are some good possibilities:
Jonny Lewis as the CIA agent.
Hiroyuki Suzuki is a strong actor and would make a great contribution in a major role, possibly as a bad guy, or the brain surgeon who is told to operate on the girl while she is conscious..