As Murayama suffered from kidney nephrosis since he was a child, he was constantly hospitalised. His father then suggested that his son learn shogi which led to the latter starting to dream of being a Meijin one day. Due to his illness, Murayama put on weight gradually thus leading to his big build. Despite his health condition, Murayama poured everything into his shogi career and was still talking about shogi while on his deathbed.
In order to look like Murayama, Matsuyama started to increase his food intake since last summer by eating every few hours and put on a lot of weight. In addition, he started to visit the Tokyo Shogi Kaikan in order to improve his shogi skills and even let his hair and nails grow longer. As a result, even Murayama's teacher Mori Nobuo Shichidan said that Matsuyama bore a striking resemblance to his late student. Matsuyama commented that when he read the book on Murayama, he had wanted to act as the latter and was especially touched by how he used his life to pursue his passion. It was especially difficult for him to portray the inner world of Murayama who was battling his illness so in order to know more about Murayama, Matsuyama went to visit his grave in Hiroshima and met with his parents and teacher Mori Nobuo before interviewing patients who had the same condition. As such, with his preparations to portray Murayama as accurately as possible, Matsuyama was confident about making a strong impression on everyone who watch this movie.
The novel's author Osaki revealed that the first time he was approached about the movie adaptation was 10 years ago and he was convinced by the production crew's passion and perseverance after all these years of hard work. He was especially impressed with Matsuyama's efforts in changing his image to play the role and is eagerly anticipating about seeing Murayama on screen for the first time in 17 years.
Filming began from last month and is expected to end in the middle of this month. Further cast announcements will be made at a later date.
Source: Sponichi / Oricon