Evidently, nothing disturbs an Academy Award-nominated actor more than being offered a cameo role in a foreign-language remake of a movie in which he starred. Reportedly, Paul Giamatti was "stunned" when he was offered a small part in the Japanese remake of Alexander Payne's Sideways. "I don't know what I was going to play," the actor said, according to WENN.com. "I said no. I felt my career hasn't hit that low yet. I thought, 'What am I gonna play - the sushi chef or something?'" Giamatti was also none too pleased with the actor chosen to play Miles, the wine snob he made semi-famous: "They got a strange, little troll to play me."
We wrote about the remake last November. At the time, I noted that California wine imports in Japan had significantly increased, and also observed that a popular, wine-themed comic was credited with sending wine sales skyrocketing across Asia. A recent article in the New York Times cited those same points, and also reports the low-budget remake eliminates 'merlot bashing' while adding plugs for Napa Valley wineries, restaurants, and tourist spots. Sideways did not do much box office business in Japan; that, combined with its "international travels (and the cultural dislocations) of its main characters" made it potentially apealing to the late 30/early 40s audience the Japanese producers are targeting.
I can understand Giamatti not wanting to do a cameo role, though I don't understand why he would trash another actor for his looks. Was he joking? The actor Giamatti reportedly called "a strange, little troll" is named Fumiyo Kohinata. We've posted a publicity still from the movie down below, so you can decide for yourself; he's second from the left. Who's the troll?