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Inoue Mao to play tug-of-war in new movie, "Tsuna Hiichatta!"

November 4, 2011 @ 7:39 am
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It's been announced that actress Inoue Mao will star in Mizuta Nobuo's newest film, "Tsuna Hiichatta!"

This film will mark Inoue's first major project since she became the morning face of NHK through the morning drama, "Ohisama". "Tsuna Hiichatta!" is an original comedy that depicts the struggles of a female tug-of-war team.

Inoue will play 'Nishikawa Chiaki', a beautiful woman who works in the PR department of a the public office in the city of Oita. The mayor of Oita puts her in charge of bringing the 'Cosmo Ladies', a female tug-of war team that's already won the World Indoor Tug-of-War Championships three times, back to life. Finding members is difficult, so she has no choice but to recruit her mother (Matsuzaka Keiko) and her colleagues. Nishikawa herself is forced to join when they fail to find a final member, and ends up becoming the team's captain.

The filming for "Tsuna Hiichatta!" already began on November 1st with the full cooperation of Oita city. Of course, Inoue has to speak in Oita dialect throughout the movie to give it that authentic feel.

She commented, "After graduating from being 'Taiyou no Yoko' (in 'Ohisama'), I'm becoming an Oita rope girl who puts all her soul into the game of tug-of-war. I'm going to enjoy moving from the world of the Showa era to a new world full of 'fighting spirit' and 'comedy'."

Inoue also explained that she hasn't played tug-of-war since her student days, and so she took part in special training throughout October. "I'll work hard and put all my soul into the rope, in order to turn it into a film that'll brim with liveliness," said Inoue.

Co-star Matsuzaka praised Inoue for her ability to smoothly tackle a very different role. "Unlike some of her previous works -- where she got to portray a graceful, typical Japanese image -- we now get to see a very active and adorable Mao-chan. This new Mao-chan is absolutely fresh and lovely, and I can't wait to continue filming with her from now on."

Director Mizuta praised her as well and said, "She can play heart-rending and complex roles, but she also has a great sense of comedy. It's really rare to find someone with such a wide range of acting skills in her generation. I'm aiming to create a very lighthearted film that only aims to make its viewers laugh; Inoue is the most suitable person for this film."

The producer also explained that they sent the offer for this role to Inoue after seeing her incredible performance in the movie, "Taiheiyou no Kiseki". Knowing that she is already well-experienced in the genre of romantic comedy, it was an easy decision to request her for the role. He said, "You can't do comedy without a wide range of acting skills. Without the right skills, you can't be funny and won't be able to make others laugh. On top of that, there aren't that many people who are capable of standing in the center as a leading actor or actress. Lastly, considering the age-group we targeted for the role, there was no other choice than Inoue Mao."

Aside from Inoue and Matsuzaka, the movie will see appearances from Tamayama Tetsuji, Nishida Naomi, Watanabe Naomi, Sonim, Asaji Yoko, Sasano Takashi, Kazama Morio, and others.

The filming for "Tsuna Hiichatta!" is scheduled to end on December 6th, but an actual release date for next year has yet to be announced.

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Source: eiga.com, Official Site

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