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SUGAR&SPICE
STORY CAST & RODUCTION
A boy's first taste of gall that is nice".

Based on an award-winning novel by Amy Yamada.
(Author of gTrash", gBedroom Eyes" and gAnimal Logic")

A 17-year-old boy fresh out of high school is forced to grow up quickly
when he falls in love for the first time

 

WMPREAL

A Tokyo suburb with a middle American feel, the city of Fussa is home to a US military base with its wide avenues, second-hand clothing stores peddling American merchandise and bars catering largely to G.I.s.

Shiro (Yuya Yagira) is a 17-year-old Fussa native, fresh from high school graduation, who finds himself standing in that ambivalent gno man's land" between adolescence and adulthood, ready to strike out on his own but uncertain whether to trust his underdeveloped instincts. He shirks off college, much to the dismay of his conventional parents who barely register in his life, and takes a job at a gas station for no other reason than a vague ambition to do something with cars. For guidance and moral support, Shiro turns to his offbeat, septuagenarian grandmother, gFujiko" (Mari Natsuki), a perennial gflower child" and pro-American who owns a local watering hole and celebrates life with a romantic corps de esprit that she's preserved since her halcyon youth. It is gGrandma" who wields the greatest influence on Shiro's spiritual and moral upbringing and she takes to the role of mentor with the passion of a sacred mission. gWorking at a gas station's a great idea, g she tells him. gSo full of romance. A rest stop for life's drifters. I'll handle your father on this one."

While Shiro still races around town on his bicycle and rents porn flicks with his boyhood pals, he's keenly reminded that this part of life is quickly ending when he sees his two best friends willingly trade in their childhood pursuits for college and gtrue love" | of the same girl. gI've yet to know what that feels like," confesses Shiro, who has a sense of the vital role love plays in a person's coming of age but feels personally removed from it. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, however, Shiro stumbles across a public breakup scene one evening between a man in a white car and a college girl, Noriko (Eriko Sawajiri). Days later, Shiro is surprised to see the same girl arrive at the gas station as the newly-hired help, and even more alarmed at his loss of composure in front of her. He is love-struck, and his bittersweet initiation into adult life begins.

CAST

Yuya Yagira (Shiro) received global attention when director Quentin Tarantino presented him with the 57th Cannes Film Festival's Best Actor award for his role in the film, gNobody Knows" in 2005. Yagira earned the distinction of being Japan's first winner of a Cannes prize and the festival's youngest winner ever at age 15. He has gone on to star in several films since and is touted as one of Japan's most promising actors. Sugar & Spice represents Yagira first adult role.

Erika Sawajiri (Noriko) made a stellar acting debut in the 2004 Japanese-Korean collaborative film, Pacchigi!, earning her numerous awards including the 29th Japanese Academy Award for Best New Actor and launching her career as a leading film and television actress. As Noriko, Sawajiri faced the dramatic challenge of playing both an emotionally frail, jilted girlfriend and the more romantically mature half of the Shiro-Noriko relationship, capable of winning audience sympathy for her plight despite the eventual anguish she creates for Shiro.

Mari Natsuki (gGrandma", Fujiko) is a veteran, award-winning screen and stage actor, musician and author, whose popularity crosses all age groups. As the Bohemian gGrandma" Fujiko in Sugar & Spice, Natsuki returns to the screen after a four-year absence since gPing-Pong" in 2002. Her long list of credits include several appearances in Yoji Yamada's gOtoko wa Tsurai Yo" series, the world's longest film franchise, and Hayao Miyazaki's Academy Award-winning anime, gSpirited Away" ('01). She has also starred in a contemporary theater work, gImpressionist" which went on a successful tour of Europe in the mid-90s, and this year is making her blues band debut in an album called g21st Century's Janis Joplin."

Isamu Nakae, Director
Long known as one of Japan's premier ghit makers" for television mini-dramas, Isamu Nakae records his second directorial effort with Sugar & Spice, following a hugely successful debut with gBetween Calm and Passion" ('01). Both films featured the talented trio of Nakae, producer Toru Ohta and screenwriter Fumie Mizuhashi. Nakae's most celebrated works to date include the TV series gTokyo Love Story" ('91) and gA.D. 2000 - Don't Shoot Her" ('01). Born June 13, 1963, Miyagi Prefecture.

Toru Ota, Producer
Toru Ota joined Fuji Television in 1981 as a journalist before becoming a producer and unfurling some of the network's greatest television serial dramas, including gTokyo Love Story" ('91) and g101st Proposal of Marriage" ('91). Ota added feature film producing to his resume in 1994 with the box office hit, gHero Interview" ('94) and has since worked with director Isamu Nakae on numerous projects, both for television and screen, including gBetween Calm and Passion" ('01) and gSugar & Spice." Born Nov. 3, 1958, Tokyo.

Fumie Mizuhashi, Screenwriter
With recent Japanese film success coming increasingly from the rich pool of talent in the country's television serial drama industry, Fumie Mizuhashi stands out as a champion romance dramatist who got her start after entering Fuji Television's 3rd Young Scenario Writers Awards competition, and went on to write some of the network's most popular dramas, including gBirthday Present" e'01) where she first collaborated with Toru Ota. Together with Ota and Isamu Nakae, Mizuhashi forms the third leg of a powerful writing-producing-directing triumvirate that created gBetween Calm and Passion" ('01) and now gSugar & Spice." Born Jan. 15, 1964, Ishikawa Prefecture.

(C)PONYCANYON