Casting Japan's "least favourite woman" pays off for film-maker
Outspoken Japanese actress Erika Sawajiri may have once topped Japanese polls for being the "least favourite woman" in the country, but that did not stop fashion photographer-turned-film-maker Mika Ninagawa from casting her in her new film.
In R21 movie Helter Skelter, which is based on a popular manga of the same name and portrays the cut-throat fashion modelling industry, Sawajiri, 26, plays the lead role of model Lilico, a beautiful but innately evil girl who will stop at nothing to stay at the top of her game.
Ninagawa, 40, says: "Erika was the only one I considered. I'd photographed her several times in the past, and when the movie was a go, I thought of her right away. She is absolutely beautiful, but more importantly, she could also act.
"Erika may be perceived in the Japanese media and by the people as a 'scandalous' woman, but that is very similar to her character Lilico in the film, so I thought it would be interesting to match that."