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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Koyuki Matsumoto | Fresh-faced drama queen told to act her age

Japan's 40-something empress of the airwaves is copping flak for refusing to use make-up that will make her look old, according to Shukan Jitsuwa (11/17).
Hitomi Kuroki is arguably Japan's hottest female performer, with the wildly popular 45-year-old roundly praised for her cheerful attitude and knockout looks.
But it's a different matter when it comes to Kuroki's thespianism.
Kuroki's attitude to acting is coming under fire, with TV drama production insiders accusing her of putting on airs by refusing to allow herself to be made up to look older than she really is.
"She acts the same in every role," Shukan Jitsuwa hears from a young producer with network TBS, which is making Kuroki's current show "Koi no Jikan."
"When she appeared in (another TV drama) 'Namida Soso,' she played the part of an elderly woman, but all she did to make herself look older was wear this ridiculous looking white wig. There wasn't a single wrinkle on her face at all. I suppose she thinks she can get by with her acting skills, but she really should take a leaf out of the books of Hollywood actresses, who'll make themselves look really fat or really ugly if that's what the part involves. I suppose she thinks that wearing the wig's enough."
Kuroki also played a grandmother figure in yet another drama last year, "Sato Kibiki Batake no Uta," in which she performed alongside Sanma Akashiya for NTV.
"She didn't have any make-up wrinkles when she performed then, either," a producer with NTV tells Shukan Jitsuwa. "There's no realism to her performances, which detracts from the atmosphere created in other parts of the show. I don't know what she's thinking."
A Kuroki pal offers little support for the actress, who first made her name as a performer in the Takarazuka all-girl dance troupe more than two decades ago.
"She probably thinks that being convincing in the role of an old lady is all she needs to make the part work," the buddy says. "That's fine if her acting is up to scratch. Frankly, though, Kuroki's acting career basically ended when she left Takarazuka. Everybody around her keeps telling her what a great housewife role she plays and now she probably thinks she's a fantastic actress."
The unnamed friend tells the men's weekly that despite the doubts about Kuroki's performances, there's little likelihood that anybody will approach her about them directly.
"Kuroki has the backing of a really powerful producer known as a 'TV drama genius.' Network executives love the guy and give him whatever he wants," the buddy tells Shukan Jitsuwa. "I'd love to be able to tell the producer that Kuroki has him right where she wants him."


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