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【Feature】堀北真希インタビュー:バイリンガルな生徒役であこがれの高校生活を追体験

Maki Horikita gets chance to live out her high school dreams one more time

By Hiroshi Matsubara

 『ALWAYS 三丁目の夕日』などに出演し、映画やテレビドラマ、CMなどで幅広く活躍する若手人気女優、堀北真希。27日から全国公開中の最新主演作『誰かが私にキスをした』では、転倒してそれまでの数年間の記憶を失い、高校最終年を「新しい自分」として送ることになった少女の困惑と成長を好演している。インターナショナルスクールが舞台のため、セリフの半分は英語だが、アメリカ人のハンス・カノーザ監督も驚くほど、自然な演技を見せたという。

 Even in real life, Maki Horikita might have enjoyed living the role of her latest film, playing a bilingual high school girl who loses her memories in a fall on the stairs, and has to restart her high school life over again.

 Indeed, the actress, who made her film debut at age 16, has bittersweet memories of her own high school days, in which she was "hardly one of the other students."

 Just as her character, Naomi, establishes her new self at her Tokyo international school, the film "Dareka ga Watashini Kisu o Shita" gives Horikita a second chance to experience being an ideal student - an A-plus student with excellent athletic abilities who is also the class heartthrob among all the boys.

 "Due to my work, I had to skip many classes, missed all the school events, but still took all the examinations to graduate. It was often the case that I studied, wrote re?ports and did my homework on the set and home alone, and I was hardly one of the other students," Horikita, 21, recalled in a recent interview with Asahi Weekly.

 But in the adolescent drama, which portrays the entire senior year of high school, Horikita is a central figure in many school activities. Naomi is a versatile tennis player, a straight-A student and editor in chief of the school yearbook.

 "The yearbook has many pictures of Naomi doing a variety of school activities. My own yearbook has only one picture of me with classmates, as I could join no extracurricular activities," Horikita said.

 "It was the first time I saw the pictures that I'm in a school, playing tennis and other things and having fun with classmates. That was really great!"

 As its English title, "Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac," indicates, Naomi becomes temporarily an amnesiac after she hits her head in a fall from the stairs at her school's entrance.

 Situated in an international school and directed by U.S. filmmaker Hans Canosa, Horikita speaks about half her lines in excellent English.

 Before she lost all her high school memories, she was a disciplined, earnest student, dating the captain of the school's tennis team, Ace, played by American actor Anton Yelchin.

 After she comes out of her coma, she discovers the wilder side of herself, falling in love with Yuji, a wild but sensitive and often insecure new classmate, played by Kenichi Matsuyama.

 In a situation that every high school girl dreams of, Naomi finds herself in the center of a love triangle between Ace, Yuji and the year-book's co-editor Mirai, who is slightly nerdy but very warm and sympathetic. Yuya Tegoshi, a member of the idol group NEWS, plays Mirai.

 With her graduation only a year away, Naomi restarts her high school days, searching for her memories, new fields of interest and her prefect relationship.

日本の若手は「恋愛経験」豊富?

 "Much like Naomi's self-search, I also felt that I was not fully aware of myself and frequently pondered about myself when I was at her age. I often found a gap between my ideal image of self and my actual self, and it confused me a lot," Horikita said.

 "It was probably a time to form my individual character, and I have experienced a lot since - a lot of failures and unexpected things occurred for me. Now my values are coming together, and I enjoy more peace of mind," she said with a smile.

 She added that the bilingual environment on the set also made for a good working experience.

 "What I learned this time is that there is not much difference between people on the set even if there is a language barrier. There is no difference in what makes people happy or how they are moved," she said.

 Indeed, it was their experience that helps Horikita and the other young Japanese actors blossom in their talents at young ages, said the director Canosa, who was also present during the interview.

 "One of the reasons why I thought I could make this story about young love in Japan was that actors in Japan, especially Maki, are often more accomplished at a young age than their counterparts in the U.S.," said Canosa, whose film "Conver?sations with Other Women," won the Special Jury Prize of the Tokyo International Film Festival.

 "Because young love stories are popular in Japan, you can have actors of Maki's age who've worked for five or six years, and they have more experience and so much more tools. I had confidence (to cast her as the bilingual character), because of her ability as an actor to claim this challenge."

 Canosa added that Horikita is a very "honest" and "natural" actor, and it helped her play a versatile character and still look lovely to watch from behind the camera.

 But Horikita confessed that, "the director just said that I can do anything naturally, but that is very wrong.

 "I just barely kept up appearances, but it was often extremely hard," she said with a smile.

 "I couldn't tell," Canosa replied with a bit of surprise on his face.

  • restart…again 高校生活をゼロからやり直す
  • establishes…self 新たな自分像を作る
  • A-plus student 優等生
  • heartthrob あこがれの的
  • extracurricular activities 課外活動
  • Amnesiac 記憶喪失(者)
  • lines セリフ
  • my…together 価値観が固まってきている
  • blossom…talents 才能を開花させる
  • kept up appearances 見栄を張る、対面を取り繕う


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