Action comedy wore by Jean Reno, “Wasabi” had to go through somewhat hectic filming with invading fans and endless procedures to be able to shoot legally.
Wasabian action comedy by Luc Besson
At the end of 2001 was released on French screens Wasabi. An original title at the time since it refers to the famous Japanese spicy paste which was not so well known in the early 2000s. No wonder then to see, during the film, Hubert Fiorentini (Jean Reno) asks his friend Momo (Michel Muller) about this green food, and swallows it wholeheartedly. Because although Wasabi be a comedy, Inspector Hubert did not come to Japan to joke.
After learning that his former love Miko has died, it doesn’t take long for him to realize that she has been murdered. He will then carry out his investigation and will at the same time have to protect young Yumi (Ryoko Hirosue), soon to be 20 years old, who turns out to be his daughter.
A secret kept by Miko until his death and which he must not reveal to Yumi. There follows an amusing adventure with Jean Reno as a violent and gruff cop who knocks before asking his questions. Everything is done with a rather burlesque tone and good replicas making Wasabi a typical action-comedy from Luc Besson, who produced and wrote the screenplay for the film. An effective recipe that will have attracted more than 1.2 million spectators at the time.
A hidden shoot
Co-produced by EuropaCorp, the film benefited from a solid budget of more than 15 million euros. However, the filming did not go in the most professional way possible. In fact, in order to be able to shoot in Japan, the production had to request authorization to film for each trader and owner with a plot of land. A different procedure from France but quite normal in Japan. Except that it didn’t particularly help the production of Wasabi so tedious is the process. As a result, director Gérard Krawczyk did not bother with paperwork and shot some shots without permission.
Plus, with Jean Reno and Japanese star Ryoko Hirosue in the cast, it was hard to contain the fans. The set was often taken by storm and here again, the team had no choice but to shoot shots on the fly. Moreover, by being attentive, one can sometimes notice in the background that passers-by recognize Jean Reno without knowing that a film is being shot. In the end, despite this little “illegality” to film, the shooting of Wasabi was able to go through with no problem.