Okay, let's just pretend that we don't know what stunt-doubles are and everything...
Now we're good to go!
"Okay, bring in the next one now!"
Kiyoshi had planned on how she was going to film the television series beforehand, and the way she always did it, was efficiently split into three separate tasks. The first stage of production, which involved calling and making demands for permission and preparations, was already completed; much quicker than she thought. Now they were moving on to the second phase, recruiting a cast.
Since Kiyoshi adored Masashi's manga and the bunch of odd but likable characters he had created, she wanted the cast of the series to be almost (if not exactly) like their given roles. So she set out on her next task at hand, scouring high and low for perfect representitives for the Naruto characters, and she would not rest until she found them, all of them.
"Thank you very much now! we'll call you if you get the role, Next!"
They had been casting roles for the main character, Naruto Uzumaki, for months now, and Kiyoshi was still at it. So far, they weren't having any luck.
A boy stepped into the room. Kiyoshi leaned forward and adjusted her back, somehow, this boy had managed to grab a little of her attention, the attention that so many others before him had failed to catch.
"Good afternoon!" the boy beamed. That was when Kiyoshi saw what she had been looking for. The wide, carefree smile was shot right at her, and it was as though many rays of bright warm sunshine was radiating from the spontaneous boy, captivating her in its cheerful atmosphere. When she saw him, she couldn't help but break into a smile, too. It was a brief smile, but it was all it took. There wasn't a single shred of doubt in her mind- she knew he was it.
A few moments later, the slot for the main role had been filled. He looked just like the character he was about to star as, with untidy bright blond hair that stuck out in all directions, and dazzling blue eyes. He was a mix- his mom was American, while his dad was Japanese. He had also appeared in many different advertisements (his dad filmed advertisements for companies), but this would be his first time starring in a television series.
Perhaps this was all just by a mere coincidence, but his given name was also, in fact, Naruto. Though he hadn't been Naruto since birth, as his mother, Nicole Lilith Ridgeway (it used to be Ridgeway, now its something else), had already planned to name him Minato when he was still in the womb. This was because they already had a child (Naruto's older brother), whose name was Haruto, so his parents thought it would be cute to make his name to sound a little like his brother's. They did not, however, intend to name him a fishcake. The idea of such never crossed their minds. A month after Minato Luz(his mother wanted him to have a middle name as well) Tanoshi was introduced to the world, it became clear that he wouldn't be able to live up to his name.
The name Minato was supposed to mean 'calm waters', 'safe harbour', or 'shelter'. From the the last sentence, you can already guess that a person bearing this name would turn out to be extremely reserved, dependable, and comforting, right? It was just too bad he was the total opposite of his name. He was all over the place, like a maelstorm; never listening to grown-ups, getting into mischief, playing pranks, throwing tempers, and getting on everyone's nerves. A real handful- noisy, boisterous, rash, obnoxious, and stubborn. Even before he could walk on his own two feet, he somehow managed to create havoc everywhere he crawled. Nothing was ever quiet- much less boring- after he was finally born. But despite everything, everyone greatly enjoyed the lively atmosphere that he created around him.
When he was two, an unforgettable incident occured- which intimately set things right for the boy. Like every child, he loved his mother's cooking, especially when it came to his favourite food. On that fateful day, ramen was served for dinner. Minato was overjoyed. He immediately began devouring the meal, faster than the speed of light (probably even faster than that!), the heavenly soup dripping down his chin and drenching his yellow and white ducky bib. He ate and slurped and ate until-
He suddenly grew rigid and his body tensed up. The bowl fell to the floor and shattered into pieces as his hands flew up to his throat. Chaos ensued at the dinner table.
"MINATO!" his mother shrieked.
He was now harshly coughing, still tightly clutching at his throat.
"I'M COMING!" his father rushed up to him and, without stopping to think, performed the Heimlich maneuver on the boy, who's lips were beginning to turn blue at a very alarming rate.
"PTOO!" Minato gave a gigantic heave; something shot out of his mouth as he did so.
Everything stilled for a moment or two, allowing everyone time to catch their breaths, Minato breathing a little heavier than the rest.
The thing that almost killed little Minato was a Narutomaki. His mother put especially more of those in his ramen because she had noticed how much he loved the swirly pink fishcakes. Inspired by the near-death incident, she made the decision to legally change his name to Naruto Luz Tanoshi.
She later learned that she accumulated no regrets whatsoever. The name surprisingly suited him- much, much more than Minato had. Other than 'fish cake' the name Naruto also actually meant 'maelstorm', which was what arguably best described him, if he ever described using a metaphor. As mentioned before, the name Minato meant 'calm waters'. But he was so unlike like his previous name, Naruto was probably more like 'choppy waters'; what with his superb ability to create chaotic storms wherever- whenever.
Naruto was a ball of energy- everyone's ball of energy (it was just that contagious). He was full of zest and life. But that didn't mean he was full of health. In fact, he had had a relatively bad immune system since birth, and unfortunately has several disturbing medical conditions that he is forced to live with. He had hemophillia. The doctors diagnosed him with the genetic disorder when he was still known as Minato. Then when he was five, he found out that he also had asthma, and had to use an inhaler if he ever had trouble breathing. the seizures made itself known when he was eight. They were only minor ones- but they were terrifying all the same.
Due to him being physically weak in the blood, airways, and brain, his mother and brother became extremely overprotective and excessively fretful over him. He did not like it, but they just couldn't help themselves. They knew very well that he wasn't delicate or fragile; maelstorms were way too powerful, after all. No, he always stood strong and tall and miraculously managed to remain mentally unaffected, overcoming his additional challenges without any complaint, hardly showing any weaknesses, and always smiling as bright as the sun.
Kiyoshi didn't think that his health issues were a burden on set in the least. In a way, it managed to make him more appealing to her and the producers. He had confided in them that quite a number of his classmates who had witnessed him having one of his erratic fits avoided and made fun of him because of them. This would help him to understand and connect with the feeling of loneliness he had to portray in some of the scenes as Naruto Uzumaki. On top of that, he was of ideal age- ten and a half (his birthday being December twenty-seven). Kiyoshi figured she wanted her cast of child actors and actresses to be fairly young, to avoid having them grow out of their roles in the years to come, as that would cause some big problems that she did not want to endure.
Being the overprotective mother, Mrs. Tanoshi-Ridegway stubbornly demanded that Kiyoshi grant her permission to accompany him on set, to watch over him and make sure he was safe. At first, she was hesitant. But then, for reasons unknown to anyone but her, she suddenly had a change of heart.
"Of course, you can come along." she said, eyeing her with an amused smirk. "But only on one condition. It's not too difficult for you to do."
"And what is that?"
It took some time, but one by one, the rest of the cast were carefully being assembled.
Eleven-year-old Yurei Gikokaze was selected to star as Naruto's best friend, Sasuke Uchiha. Just like Tanoshi, Gikokaze bore a shocking resemblance to his character counterpart: a pair of shadowed, dark charcoal-black, onyx eyes, shaggy, jet-black hair which was slightly long, to frame his face, a sharp, pointy chin, and skin as pale as the moon. And just like Tanoshi, Kiyoshi was instantly drawn to him, after catching a glimpse of his smile. It wasn't exactly a smile; rather, more of a smirk.
The lazy half smile gave out a sort of aura. A lot of words could be said through that snide smirk, such as, 'I'm-cooler-than-you-and-you-know-it', or 'I'm-in-so-much-control'. She didn't know if the smirk was his, or he was just really good acting, but it was perfect, so wonderfully distinctive. Apparently, it was both. Kiyoshi later discovered that Yurei wore braces. So to hide them from view, he never smiled (like a big, wide smile, showing all the teeth). Though he had never actually liked smiling, as he found it hard to express his feelings, preferring to contain it all inside; forming a stoic and serious exterior.
Kiyoshi was doing a great job so far. Both Naruto and Yurei looked just like their respective parts in the show, and their personalities pretty much met their expectations. It almost seemed as if they were both born to fill the roles.
I'm truly sad to say, the actress who ended up playing the one and only pink-haired, green eyed female main character Sakura Haruno did not not have pink hair. If there ever was a girl with natural bubble-gum pink hair roaming the surfaces of this very Earth, Kiyoshi would give her the job, regardless of who she was, experienced actress or not. Unfortunately, there is no such case, at least, Kiyoshi has never heard of such phenomenon. Blaire Camellia Emmet did, however, possess pretty emerald-green eyes. She was already an aspiring eleven-year-old young actress who had already made many public appearances, especially in Europe, where she was from. Playing Sakura Haruno would be exceedingly easy for her, considering how experienced she was, all she needed to do was dye her silky auburn-coloured hair pink, and she'd be good to go.
Claire Loretta Emmet was chosen to star alongside her twin sister as Ino Yamanaka. But she wasn't exactly happy with her role. Just like her sister, she had auditioned for Sakura Haruno. But the directors and producers picked her sister for the part over her, landing her with a insignificant, pathetic role, possibly out of pity. It was all very infuriating and frustrating, because Blaire would most definitely gloat over this, when she got the chance. And she would undoubtedly find one.
Claire and Blaire did not get along. Indeed, they were sisters, twins, and they were, in fact, inseparably close. But they did not get along. Whenever they were together, they would bicker and fight, calling names and threatening each other in the most vicious manner. To this very day, their parents still never left the two alone together in a single room, for fear that they might end up killing each other off. For as long as they could remember, their two daughters had been having a sort of rivalry going on between them.
"Mommy!" Two almost identical voices shouted in unison, making it sound like only one person spoke. "Who's drawing's the best?"
"Daddy! Who was the fastest?"
"Mom! Who's hair looks better?"
"Dad! Who's eye colour do you like the best?"
"Mom! Dad! Who do you love the most?"
Even when they were still little babies lying side-by-side in their crib, they would continuously cry and physically hit each other with their chubby miniature hands until they were both placed in separate cribs. When they were learning to walk and talk, they fiercely competed with each other, trying to prove who the best was of them all. These petty competitions they held were simply pointless, as they were always on the same level. Whatever one was remarkably promising at, the other was just as good.
"Mom! Dad! Can I to ask you guys something?" Two identical voices, Claire and Blaire both shouted in harmony. They always spoke in harmony, whether they intended to or not.
"What is it?" Felix asked in a tired voice, he knew they were going to go off squabbling any time now.
"Can I go to acting classes and be an actress?" They both shouted. Then they looked at each other, scowling. "HEY!" they turned to their parents and pointed at the other at the exact same time. "SHE COPIED ME!"
Both Claire and Blaire were so identical, it was as if their mother was a printer. Both had silky auburn hair that went all the way down to their waists, and soft, healthy skin. They also did everything similarly- they liked the same things, acted the same, and even sounded the same. Nobody would be able to tell them apart if it wasn't for their eyes. Like I said earlier, Blair had pretty, emerald-green eyes, while Claire's were a soft shade of baby blue.
John and Rue Emmet Didn't understand why their daughters insisted on throwing themselves neck-and-neck with each other, trying to bite each others heads off. Due to their ferocious sibling rivalry, they were rarely chosen to work on set together, because the directors knew how much havoc they caused when they argued. So they almost always appeared on different movies without their other counterpart. But Kiyoshi and all the other producers thought their 'sisterly' chemistry was just what they needed. And it was.
Tenten was cast by a young Chinese girl who went by the name of 'Sarah', a name given by her school friends. Her real name was actually Chang Lee Ting, and her parents had not given her any English name. Unlike all the other stars I mentioned earlier, Chang's career was just beginning to kick off.
Just like many ambitious little girls her age (currently twelve), being an actress had always been her biggest dream. Who wouldn't want to be famous, have fun staring in movies, and even get rich in the process? There wasn't a second that went by where she wouldn't have her head in the clouds, dreaming of the incredible life she'd have as an actress.
Sadly, that wasn't what her parents wanted her to be. Their expectations for her were simple. They wanted their daughter to live a normal childhood, be a respectful, sensible, and obedient child, grow up and go to college, make a sensible choice and study to become a doctor or a lawyer, find herself a responsible husband, and then have a well-off family. That was the life they hoped she'd live. They weren't forcing her to live that life, they'd never do that. All they wanted her to be was happy, and they were only there to make sure she'd make the right choices- choices that would ensure her happiness. They'd only be there to watch her back, the people she could look back at. So instead of turning her dream down, though it was not what they wanted, they accepted it.
The did not, however, get serious and allow her to try for auditions and be home schooled at such a young age, telling her to be patient and enjoy her childhood, as she was not yet ready for the abrupt change in life. They were quite certain that they wouldn't be able to handle the stress of a child actress at the moment, and neither would she. They also refused to let her pursue her dream because they wanted her to do well in school before anything else. Academics came first.
So they didn't do anything. She did. All on her own.
Of course, she did carefully put everything into consideration before acting, and she knew her parents had their reasons; in fact, very reasonable reasons, but the temptation of being able to live up to her dream was just too strong.
Meanwhile, Kiyoshi was having a hard time. There were a lot of girls who were fit for the role of Tenten, and she was afraid of making the choices. If she wanted to make something perfect, everything must be flawless, included TenTen's actress.
Then she saw Lee Ting.
She came barging into the audition room, dragging and heaving her school trolley bag along with her. In was raining outside that day,so her uniform, a black pinafore over a white undershirt, was soaking wet. Her hair had come out of the two neat buns that she had tied it in earlier that day, the many black pins sticking out here and there. It was a very bizarre sight indeed. She really gave everyone a good shock.
But Kiyoshi didn't exactly see all that. She didn't see how untidy she looked at the moment. She only saw the shine in her warm,light brown eyes. The kind of shine you get when your name is called on the stage to receive an outstanding award, or when someone compliments you. The shine that told you how much excitement, hope, determination, and most importantly, commitment the person behind them had. The kind of shine that Tenten always had in her.
Tenten wasn't exactly made to be a character with a lot of power in the beginning. She was supposed to be the character with an astounding amount of potential, so that readers could also watch her grow as the story progressed. To Kiyoshi, Lee Ting also seemed to radiate a lot of was a pretty talented actress, for someone who had never been to any extensive acting classes, and would be amazing, if she worked hard so, though Kiyoshi knew that the girl had little to no experience on set, she would give her a chance. A chance to shine as bright as her eyes.
Akane Kakonu would play the role of Kiba Inuzuka, with his laid-back, boyish, but stubborn attitude. His family also owned a farm where they specially trained animals to act for movies, and they were more than happy to let them rent a handsome puppy of the Great Pyrenees breed, who's name was Surudoi. Akane and Surudoi were already good friends, and both he and the dog were both very excited to be working together as a pair.
Hinata Hyuuga would be played by Shizuka Domori, who nervously stuttered and kept stumbling on her words upon entering the audition room. Her face also stayed a slight shade of red throughout the whole audition. Some people thought of her performance as 'unprofessional' as an actress must be good at hiding the fact that she is nervous. That was the whole point of acting. Shizuka had already starred in a number of films and movies, and she ought to be able to hide her feelings, but it seemed like she hadn't quite got the hang of it yet. Nevertheless, Kiyoshi thought this made her perfect for the role, as she was such a natural.
The actors for Konohamaru Sarutobi and Shikamaru Nara, Hamushi Kosuru and Tonakai Bosu already knew each other, as they were both cousins. Just like Konohamaru and Shikamaru, Rikai Kiminaide and Sabishi Tsukate; the actors for Rock Lee and Shino Aburame had also met beforehand, as they had acted together in the comedy 'Bossy vs Boisterous' in the beginning of the year. Rikai did not have bushy eyebrows, but that was no big deal. The problem would be resolved with fake ones.
Haku Yuki was portrayed by a female, Furen Tamesu. Haku was, indeed, a boy, but the producers just decided to swap his gender to make his appearance look more feminine on screen,as Furen looked exactly like Haku from Masashi's comic.
When Masashi created the jounin sensei Kakashi's character, he envisioned him being the coolest guy of the show. Laid back, mysterious, professional, yet unprofessional at the same time. A guy who always knew what he was doing. Kiyoshi saw that kind of cool in the thirty-six year old Hiroto Yuma.
He seemed to be the kind of man who didn't have the time to panic, even in a really terrifying situation- like, when the world was going to he was not as young as Kakashi was, he was the splitting image of him, and it wasn't a surprise that women still fell head over heels for them.
Ren Kusashita, the twenty-three year-old who would play Might Gai, used hate his bushy eyebrows. He thought it made him look old. But then his career as an actor kicked off, and he realized that his trademark eyebrows made more heads turn. It was unique, something that was needed in the film industry. It was also what caught Kiyoshi's eye.
And last but not least, the oldest member of the cast, Orudi Furui, would be playing the Third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi. Orudi was legendary. He had been acting his whole life, so he was highly dependable on set, compared to all the young actors and actresses they had recruited.
The cast for Naruto was being carefully recruited- one by one. And pretty soon, the second phase of production was completed and the team was finally assembled. Now all that was left was the third stage- filming the series.