Popular Japanese actress and singer Ko Shibasaki(柴咲コウ）,29, will make her Hollywood debut in Carl Erik Rinsch’s movie “47 Ronin,” starring Keanu Reeves.
The story of the 47 Ronin is one of the most celebrated in the history of the samurai. This was perhaps all the more so because it occurred at a time when the samurai class was struggling to maintain a sense of itself – warriors with no war, a social class without a function.
This movie, loosely based on actual events, revolves around a group of samurai who plot vengeance on the man who forced their master into suicide and turned them into ronin (literally “masterless samurai”). Reeves will play the role of Kai, a half-Japanese ronin seeking his revenge and falling in love with an older samurai’s daughter, Mika (Shibasaki).
Shibasaki was selected for Mika’s role in a secret audition in Tokyo last November. “Ko has a unique femininity, which we can’t find easily in the West. She has Audrey Hepburn’s elegance and there’s no doubt that she’ll become an internationally accredited superstar,” said director Rinsch at a press conference in London.
Shibasaki was discovered at the age of 14 by an agent and has worked in numerous television shows, movies and commercials.
She became famous outside Japan for her role in the controversial 2000 film, Battle Royale, where she portrayed the cold-hearted and ruthless Mitsuko Souma; her acting career took off with this movie and also raised her international profile particularly in East Asia. Shibasaki also won acclaim for her role in 2001 film, Go, which earned her several awards, among which the Best Supporting Actress Award of Japanese Academy, the Hōchi Movie Award, the Kinema Junpō Award.