It’s been revealed that 29-year-old actress Shibasaki Kou will make her Hollywood debut in the film “47 RONIN“, slated for release in December, 2012.
The film is based on the Japanese story of “Chūshingura“, a fictionalized retelling of the 47 samurais who avenged the death of their master, Asano Naganori, in the 18th century. Numerous plays, films, and TV shows have been based on this story, and Universal Pictures will be bringing it to America as a 3D film on a 200 million dollar budget.
“The Matrix” actor Keanu Reeves will play the lead role of the half-British, half-Japanese Kai, who is one of the 47 samurais. Shibasaki will play the female lead, Mika, the daughter of Asano who falls in love with Kai.
Auditions for the female lead role were secretly conducted last November, and Shibasaki won the role by impressing the director with her outstanding acting skills.
At the press reveal for the film, the director excitedly proclaimed the Shibasaki, “Has a feminine quality that isn’t found in the West, and elegance like (Audrey) Hepburn. She’s clearly able to become an international star, and I’ve discovered her.”
Her co-star, Reeves, said, “She’s mysterious and beautiful, and an actress who can portray any role.”
The 4-month filming process for the film will begin on March 14th in Hungary, and continue in London, England, and Japan.
Shibasaki has been studying English for a few hours everyday since last December, as the script is entirely in English. She told reporters in English that she was “so excited!” when she found out she got the part.