Question: After 2 years, what did you think about working on Liar Game when you heard about it?
Toda Erika: I was quite shocked that it [Liar Game] became a big project with another drama season and movie. Two years have passed and right now, I’m also nervous to be portraying Kanzaki Nao. But after hearing the story from the producers and taking a look at the design of the set, I wanted to do it. I was suddenly motivated [laughs].
Question: Do you feel that Kanzaki Nao has changed?
Toda Erika: Let’s see. Personally, I have experienced a lot of things during those 2 years and a part of me can’t go back to the Nao before. In the beginning, we discussed that I can’t be the Kanzaki Nao 2 years ago. But since Nao has grown up and has the same amount of time pass for her, they told me it was okay, so I was relieved. The story, the characters that advance to the 4th round, and the games are different, so I think that this new season sets a different tone compared to the first season. Since 2 years have passed, I want to play Kanzaki Nao.
Question: Were there any hangups that you were aware of while performing the role?
Toda Erika: Akiyama Shinichi and Fukunaga Yuuji won the original game, but I don’t think there would’ve been much growth even with the time that had passed. However, in the beginning Nao who just kept crying and didn’t do a single thing about it, participated in the game and there was certain growth from that. It was important to express her strength, so I took extra care in acting when it came to this. And when it comes to the movie also, I’ll leave it to the director to adjust how much growth Nao attains.
Question: Now that you’ve played this role, how do you feel about Nao’s change?
Toda Erika: I can’t really put it into words, but she was able to do these things. For example, there’s a powerful scene where she tells Akiyama, “Akiyama, you don’t believe in people.” I was shocked that she was able to say something like this against Akiyama while crying. Her resilience is wonderful, but I felt shocked at how strong she has become.
Question: What was your impression when reading Season 2’s script?
Toda Erika: It’s the Liar Game, naturally. It starts exactly the same way as Season 1. She finds a black box, she’s shocked, she says, “No way,” she’s tricked good by Tanimura, and she ends up going to the meeting place for the game, or something like that [laughs]. This is the Kanzaki Nao we know, and I was relieved that it was the same Liar Game.
Question: When and at what time did you have a feeling that Liar Game would return?
Toda Erika: I felt it would return when the percentage of takes increased [laughs]. Incidentally, the movie has 3000 takes. On average it’s usually 1000 takes, but this became a norm for Liar Game [laughs]. Of course I felt it every time, like cinematography (when the shooting schedule has gone over), mood of the set, everyone’s tense performances, and times when I talk to Matsuda (Shota) and Suzuki (Kousuke).
Question: How was Matsuda Shota’s performance after 2 years?
Toda Erika: When I had scenes with Matsuda, he was still the same Akiyama Shinichi. Earlier I said Nao grew, and of course it was at her own pace. Nao and Akiyama support this story, so this part can’t be blurred. Matsuda firmly grasped onto this and I was relieved to see the same Akiyama Shinichi from two years ago, so I was deeply impressed. If Akiyama changed, I don’t think we could’ve counted on Nao calling him, “Akiyama!” like usual. Thanks to Matsuda, Nao can rely on Akiyama this time, and be the crying Nao who is scolded by him [laughs]. Matsuda and myself included, are grateful that the relationship between Nao and Akiyama hasn’t changed after two years.
Question: How was Suzuki Kousuke’s performance of Fukunaga Yuuji?
Toda Erika: It was the same as usual. Being tricked by Fukunaga and making me laugh [laughs]. I enjoyed the moments with Suzuki’s high tension came out. As a matter of fact, in Season 1, Fukunaga said this to Nao, “Nao, you’re an idiot. You’re screwed!” which is a line that has a lot of impact. It’s my favorite saying, “You’re screwed!” when Suzuki ad-libs and exaggerates it. There’s even a scene while we were shooting for the movie where we ad-libbed.
Question: So, it’s likely that some ad-libbing is in Season 2, too?
Toda Erika: I think there is, because there’s always conversations like, “What should we do next, Erika?” “Well, next is…” That’s my observation, at least [laughs].
Question: What do you think the reason is that the Liar Game is popular? Also, personally what do you feel is the charm of Liar Game?
Toda Erika: Since Season 1 was in the first Sunday slot, the staff and I fumbled part of it at first. I remember being extremely nervous. But at the start of shooting, the lighting and takes were comparatively more than other dramas up to that point. This unconventional way was very fun though. I think everyone else was accepting of it, too. The individual characters, and complex and interesting psychological warfare involved was original, too. This time, we’re in the 9 o’clock Tuesday slot, so I’m also uneasy about a drama originally shot for a Sunday slot and how the story will do. It’s a good thing we’re in the 9 o’clock Tuesday slot, even though I think they [fans] want to protest it, but there’s feedback saying this is feasible. I’m confident that the expectations of fans of the previous work (Season 1) and of the original work (manga) won’t be betrayed. Please enjoy the new, yet same Liar Game!