Landed her first professional role in the Japanese film Ikitai in 1999. Since then, she has displayed her talent as an actress, starring in critically acclaimed Japanese films such as Hole in the Sky and The Taste of Tea, and continues to gain popularity within Japan’s film industry. In Universal Pictures, Oscar®-nominated Rinko Kikuchi, who came to worldwide attention with her stunning performance in Babel and was most recently seen in Pacific Rim, discusses her exposure to the legendary tale ’47 Ronin’ : “I’ve known this story since learning about it at school, but this film will be quite different from versions Japanese audiences have seen before. The creatures, sets and characters are totally new.” Brought onto the production to play the duplicitous Witch, the actress knew there would be challenging days ahead. “My character doesn’t exist in the original version, but she adds a fantasy element to this story and I had a lot of fun with it.”
Kikuchi was thrilled to play such a strong role. The actress sums: “It’s fun to play such a wild female. Carl told me my part would be provocative, sexy and wild. The Witch is a shape-shifter who is clairvoyant and play tricks on others, but she is not a typical witch. She has the heart of a woman, but she just follows her instincts.”
Director Carl Rinsch’s goal has been to show audiences a side to Japan none have ever seen, while simultaneously paying homage to the country’s cultural traditions. “The Japanese want to see something new, too,” Kikuchi adds. “Rather than a traditional story performed and created just by the Japanese, we would love to see this traditional story from a new angle. This film strikes a perfect balance between what is universal and something totally creative and new.”
Kikuchi was catapulted onto the international feature film scene with her Academy Award®-nominated role for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel. Playing the role of young deaf high-schooler Chieko with fervent energy and commitment, Kikuchi achieved an outstanding reputation around the world for her dramatic performance. The film garnered seven Academy Award® nominations, securing Kikuchi’s status as one of Hollywood’s leading young actresses.
Oscar-nominated RINKO KIKUCHI has shown range and depth with every role she plays.
Kikuchi followed up her success with a number of highly acclaimed international films such as Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom, with Adrien Brody and Rachel Weisz; Isabel Coixet’s Map of the Sounds of Tokyo, with Serge Lopez; Mikael Håfström’s Shanghai, with John Cusack and Ken Watanabe; and Anh Hung Tran’s Norwegian Wood, a highly anticipated adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s international bestselling novel of the same name. Kikuchi hails from Hadano, Japan, and is a skilled sword fighter as well as an accomplished motorcyclist and horseback rider. In 2007, she was named one of Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch.
‘’47 RONIN’’ is released and distributed by United International Pictures through Solar Entertainment Corporation. Showing JANUARY 2014.