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Justin Chatwin on on Dragonball

Published April 9, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of TWC
For fans of the Dragonball Manga and anime series, Goku is the big action hero. You can’t just let any Hollywood pretty boy come in and be Goku. Justin Chatwin plays Goku in the movie Dragonball: Evolution and he took his responsibility seriously.

Justin Chatwin is Goku in Dragonball Evolution


“When I got this, [director] Jim [Wong] called me and I was driving downtown,” Chatwin said. “I didn’t get it at first. I didn’t know how to react to it because I was excited but then I was also like, oh man, now I actually have to do it. It’s not like I’ve just been given a suitcase full of money. I actually have to perform and there are so many people that have an idea of who this iconic figure is. So I knew it would be a challenging part but I was definitely honored to have been given this part.”

Chatwin himself had been one of those fans, though he didn’t really get into it hardcore until he was a grown-up. “A friend of mine, as a kid, I would always go over to his house. His little brothers and sisters would be talking about Dragonball, like it was the Grail, so passionate about it. I watched it later.”


Dragonball Dragonball


Dragonball Dragonball

To fight like Goku, and mimic the anime moves in live action, Chatwin did the standard Hollywood fight training course. “We had five weeks before we went to Mexico City, and I was pretty out of shape. I wanted more muscle for the character, and so I had to start the next day after they told me I had the part. I started, we went through, I’d go in there and do half and hour, forty five minutes of weight lifting, and then we would stay around for like four, five hours, and learn the different styles of fighting, Capoeira, Kung Fu, Jujitsu, wire work, acrobats, and then I’d eat six meals a day, and then go home and watch Dragonball.”

If the moves come off gracefully, it’s only because Chatwin learned them by rote. For example, in one scene Goku deftly dodges bullies so that they hurt themselves, without the noble hero ever having to strike out. “It was like repetition because I’m not that coordinated and I’m not really much of a fighter to be honest with you. We practiced that bully fight for five weeks. I got it down and I just remembered it. You just get to the point where it just gets in your head.”

Dragonball opens to theaters April 10th.

For the trailers, posters and more movie info, go to the Dragonball Movie Page.
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Fred Topel
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