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Live-Action The Promised Neverland Film Casts Keiko Kitagawa, Naomi Watanabe

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Film opens on December 18 starring Minami Hamabe, Jyo Kairi, Rihito Itagaki

The staff of the live-action film of Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu's The Promised Neverland manga announced on Wednesday that actress Keiko Kitagawa (right in image below, live-action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon's Sailor Mars, Paradise Kiss) will play Isabella ("Mama"), while comedian Naomi Watanabe (left, live-action KANNAsa-n!'s Kanna Suzuki) will play Krone.

Kitagawa, who has read the manga, commented that the manga was interesting, and she was drawn into the manga's world, but she had a hard time deciding how to portray her character, and she only decided at the last minute. She added that, "any actor would understand how hard the manga is to adapt. I definitely thought that preserving the worldbuilding of the manga with the same quality was impossible. In the end, director Hirakawa decided that he would not change Isabella's age and character at all."

Watanabe commented that she tackled her character while consulting closely with the director. She added that, "the kids became very shy around the larger-than-life Krone. I want to be an obstacle to the kids alongside Isabella."

The film will open in Japan on December 18.

19-year-old actress Minami Hamabe (live-action anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day special's Menma, live-action Saki film's title role, Hello World film's Ruri Ichigyō) is starring in the film as Emma (center in photograph at right). 13-year-old Jyo Kairi (live-action My Little Monster and Erased) and 17-year-old Rihito Itagaki (Show By Rock!! stage musical) are playing Ray (right) and Norman (left), respectively.

Yūichirō Hirakawa (live-action ERASED film, live-action Rookies series) is directing the film. Noriko Gotou is penning the film's script. Hirakawa and Gotou worked together on the live-action Erased film.

Viz Media publishes the original manga in North America, and it describes the story:

Emma, Norman and Ray are the brightest kids at the Grace Field House orphanage. And under the care of the woman they refer to as “Mom,” all the kids have enjoyed a comfortable life. Good food, clean clothes and the perfect environment to learn—what more could an orphan ask for? One day, though, Emma and Norman uncover the dark truth of the outside world they are forbidden from seeing.

The film will shift the story's rule about orphans having to "ship" at the age of 12 to the age of 16. Hamabe is a self-professed fan of the manga who bought the print volumes and the e-book version, and she complimented the director and the staff for realizing the story's world. She vowed to do her best for everyone who loved the manga.

Shirai and Demizu launched The Promised Neverland manga in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in August 2016, and the series has entered its final arc as of September 2018. Shirai had stated in an interview in August 2018 that Shirai would like the story to "not extend too much" in accordance with the story's editor, adding that the length of the manga should be "ideally 20 to 30 volumes long." The magazine teased in August that the manga has entered the "climax" of the final arc.

An anime adaptation premiered in January 2019. Aniplex of America streamed the anime on Crunchyroll, Hulu, Funimation, and HIDIVE as it aired. Toonami began airing the anime last April. A second season of the anime will premiere this October.

Source: Sports Hochi

Update: Typo fixed. Thanks, tygerchickchibi.


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