As we’ve seen before, Hollywood stars who ordinarily wouldn’t be seen dead in a commercial in their homeland for fear of damaging their reputation as a serious actor aren’t quite so shy when it comes to commercials in Japan. With Japanese companies eager to push stacks of cash stars’ way in exchange for endorsing their products, occasionally a big-name actor will pop up on billboards over the famous Shibuya scramble intersection and on primetime TV.
This week, smirking silver fox George Clooney follows in Leonardo DiCaprio‘s footsteps by lending his face to a Japanese commercial, in this case one for Kirin Brewery Company’s Green Label brand of beer. Clooney is no stranger to ads even at home, but Kirin’s commercial – which sees the actor painting a house and communicating with a small bird – is kind of an odd one, partly because it doesn’t have an awful lot to do with beer, and partly because, to our ears at least, Clooney appears to be channeling Christian Bale’s Batman for his single word of Japanese dialogue.
We open in an idyllic green field. A man wearing a white shirt is carrying a tin of paint and a brush up a ladder, which is propped up against the side of a one-storey shack. The shack itself is white, its roof dark green apart from a single remaining white spot. Despite wearing the worst possible clothing for the task, the man is clearly painting.
Close up. The man is none other than George Clooney, everyone’s favourite middle-aged American actor and go-to guy for any role whose script calls for “handsome man who is cheeky but ultimately likeable and always keeps his cool in life-threatening situations”. George is painting his roof and whistling. Life, clearly, is wonderful.
Suddenly, a small bird lands on his freshly painted roof, leaving tiny imprints in the paint behind it. George, being the hero that he is, resists the urge to immediately smash the bird with his fist to take revenge for it spoiling his stellar paint job.
Instead, he seems amused, and beckons to the bird.
Who dutifully flutters over to him and lands on his left shoulder. George smiles, giving us a chance to see his pearly white teeth.
Cut to a shot of cans of beer. They are also white and green, thus establishing the entire point of the commercial. Possibly.
George drinks from a can of the same beer. A reminder tells pregnant and breastfeeding women not to imbibe alcohol.
George then notices that there are small green footprints left on his shoulder. Once again, this amuses him. This man has not a drop of hatred or rage in his entire body.
Wide shot. With the rolling hills visible, George channels Christian Bale portraying Batman and says “kimochii” (feels good) in an especially gravelly voice.
Here’s the commercial in full. Be sure to turn your speakers up, close your eyes, and imagine (Bale’s) Batman’s face at around the 11-second mark.
Man, does anyone else feel like sitting down to watch The Dark Knight with a nice, low-carb beer all of a sudden?