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Int’l Star You Should Know: Fumi Nikaido

Quick-starting Japanese teen icon aims for normal, settles for busy

EARLY START

Born in 1994 in Naha, Okinawa, Fumi Nikaido got off to an early start in show business, appearing in her first TV drama, “Juken no kamisama,” in 2007, and her first theatrically released feature film, actor-director Koji Yakusho’s family comedy “Toad’s Oil,” in 2009. 

BAD-GIRL/GOOD-GIRL

A fan of the Sex Pistols, Nikaido likes to binge on classic films and manga — among her favorites is “Bukkomi no taku,”  a rough-edged 1990s comic about  bikers and delinquents. She also speaks fluent English and has won admission to Tokyo’s prestigious Keio U. 

HONOR-BOUND

In 2011, her performance as the abused girlfriend of actor Shota Sometani’s moody, violent hero in Sion Sono’s “Himizu” won her (and Sometani) the new young actor and actress awards at the Venice Film Festival. 

BREATHING LESSONS

Nikaido has acquired a reputation for speaking her mind in public, minus the usual politesse. At a PR event for the 2013 thriller “Brain Man,” she talked about being accidentally choked unconscious by co-star Toma Ikuta. Her last thought before passing out, in what had been for her a difficult shoot? “I hope you all die,” she said.

KEEPING BUSY

The 19-year-old former model is busier than ever: In 2013, she starred in four films and a TV miniseries, including Koji Fukada’s paen to Eric Rohmer, summer-at-the-beach drama “Hotori no sakuko”; and Sono’s new action comedy “Why Don’t You Play in Hell.”  This year, she stars in two more pics, with Tetsuya Nakashima’s “The World of Kanako,” being sold by Gaga and Wild Bunch. 

LOSING NORMAL

In a recent tweet, she said she wants to lose her reputation for being strange  and eccentric. “Normal is best,” she wrote, “but normal is hard.”

 

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