Takeshi Kitano insisted on long takes. Close-ups easily lasted 10 seconds, medium shots went on for 20 seconds and the shot where Azuma (Kitano) walks onto the bridge and into the frame lasted 57 seconds.
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The original script was a comedy. Takeshi Kitano was then very concerned about the audience recognizing his acting skills and he didn't feel that a comedy would allow him to act nor allow the audience to abstract from his comic TV personality. So he rewrote the script, removed all comedy and turned it into a drama.
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During the opening of Violent Cop (1989), eagerly awaiting the reaction of the audience, Takeshi Kitano sneaked into the cinema and became very disappointed. The audience laughed whenever he appeared on the screen. From that moment on, Kitano was determined only to play dark characters, never to do comedy on screen. As he later, with a smile on his face, explained on the matter: "It took me ten years of playing serial killers and rapists to be perceived as a serious actor among the Japanese public."
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On the second or third day of production, nobody was carrying a screenplay, neither the actors or the crew. Most of the dialogue was improvised on the spot, which was confusing for Makoto Ashikawa. He would often ask Takeshi Kitano what to say for a scene. Kitano was aiming for natural reactions and performances from his cast.
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Takeshi Kitano often clashed with the crew, especially in regards to the visual style. When Azuma (Kitano) is walking to the police station, Kitano didn't want to show his whole head, his face would be partially out of the frame. This caused tension with the crew and Kitano often met with strong opposition. In the end, Kitano partially managed to achieve the visual style he was aiming for as he and the crew had frequent discussions and yet could not resolve their differences. The end result was an unplanned mixture of scenes shot with the cinematographer, Yasushi Sasakibara's sensibilities, and scenes which Kitano forced the crew to shoot the way he wanted.
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Kinji Fukasaku was originally slated to direct, but had to bow out when he discovered that his lead actor could only be available for periods of ten days at a time due to television commitments. The lead actor Takeshi Kitano took over the director's chair after heavily rewriting the script to remove all traces of comedy.
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The film adheres to the original script by Hisashi Nozawa in the setting and character names only. Takeshi Kitano rewrote more than 90% of the screenplay. The original writer, Nozawa, requested once the film was completed to have his name removed from the credits.
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In the restroom scene, Azuma slaps Hashizume a total of twenty-three times.
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