Shōgun Star Talks About That Swimming Scene, Filmed in ‘Freezing’ Cold: ‘It’s Good to Be Uncomfortable’

It’s not easy being hatamoto. That’s what Shōgun lead Cosmo Jarvis says he learned throughout the FX/Hulu drama’s shoot, including while filming the closing sequence of the latest episode.

At the end of Episode 3, after they had each contributed to a successful “escape” from Osaka, Lord Toranaga (played by Hiroyuki Sanada) told Blackthorne (Jarvis) aka Anjin that, as his vassal, the English pilot can no longer be known to his people as “barbarian.” Toranaga in turn proclaimed Blackthorne hatamoto, which Mariko (Anna Sawai) explained is “a very great honor.”

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Toranaga then tasked the newly christened hatamoto with teaching him how to dive into the sea. Blackthorne duly stripped down to what we will generously call a gauzy washcloth, and proceeded to demonstrate how to dive off the ship, again and again… and again and again….

Watching this sequence, you may have seen the actors’ breath as they spoke aboard the ship and wondered, “Wait, just how cold was it on set, with Blackthorne standing nearly in the altogether and soaking wet?”

The answer: very.

“It was the dead of winter, and freezing,” Sawai told TVLine of the November 2022 shoot in Port Moody, British Columbia. “They were [telling Cosmo], like, ‘You don’t have to do it. We’ll get the stunt guy do it.’ But even though he was hardly covered, he wanted to do it.”

Sawai says that she did <em>not</em> demurely divert her gaze when co-star Jarvis would emerge from the bay: “Oh, I was looking, watching everything.”
Sawai says that she did not demurely divert her gaze when co-star Jarvis would emerge from the bay: “Oh, I was looking, watching everything.”

Jarvis himself assured TVLine that he was “not at all” self conscious, despite the frigid temps and scant clothing. “It was pretty cold for a good portion of the shoot” in Vancouver and thereabouts, he explained. “But it’s all part of the job. And it’s good to be uncomfortable.”

All told, “This job was very uncomfortable at times,” Jarvis said, “but because Blackthorne was very uncomfortable throughout huge swathes of the book, it was important that it was done correctly.”

Sawai also shared that, after Toranaga had tired out hatamoto with dive after dive before challenging him to a race to shore, the actual contest was… not close. Which is not surprising, since Sanada has some 30 years on Jarvis.

“When they dive in together the final time, it was so funny because Hiro was like, ‘OK, I’ll watch you and you watch me, so that we’re not that far apart.’ But Cosmo just went in and was so much more ahead! I was laughing just watching that.”

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