Ex-AKB48 Member Tomomi Itano to play Foreign Student in Upcoming Chinese Movie “Raincoat”

Former AKB48 Team K member Tomomi Itano has been cast the lead role of a Japanese foreign student based in China alongside Taiwanese singer-actor Dino Lee in the Chinese romance movie Raincoat (雨衣), as revealed in a press conference the duo appeared in on 29th September 2015.

The press conference featuring producer Ng See Yuen (extreme left), Itano (third from left) and Lee (rightmost)

The press conference featuring producer Ng See Yuen (extreme left), Itano (third from left) and Lee (rightmost)

The projected 2-month filming period for the movie that takes place in Shanghai and Tokyo is ongoing. The film is expected for a release in Spring 2016 in three countries.

Raincoat is adapted from a novel by Taiwanese author Tsai Chih-heng  of the same name, which is known as also known as 7-11 Love (7-11之戀) in Taiwan, and produced by Ng See Yuen from Hong Kong. Preparations for the movie spanned five years.

As expected of a Chinese-Japanese co-production, the language barrier and difference in work habits between Itano and Lee were challenges that the duo and the production team had to overcome. In the case of the former, Itano and Lee had to rely heavily on hand gestures to overcome the initial communication difficulties, which took them around a month. During the press conference, Itano expressed her anxiety towards her first acting experience in an overseas context.

“Initially, I felt uncomfortable as everyone here was speaking in Mandarin Chinese and I’m the only one here speaking Japanese, but the people around me are very warm and friendly, including Lee, and I gradually eased up,” Itano reassured.

Likewise, her co-star reassured that they get along well sans the present language barrier, which they overcome with aid from their interpreter or by conversing in English on their mobiles.

“We are still trying our best to conquer the language barrier,” said Lee. “On the whole, our interactions are quite good.”

As an added step to break the ice, the duo initiated restaurant dinners with each other in which they conversed over the common topic of their work experiences as singers and actors over restaurant dinners, as revealed during an interview with Chinese news site Epoch Times.

Itano and Lee conversing with heavy hand gestures (Source: Epoch Times)

Itano and Lee conversing over a meal with heavy hand gestures (Source: Eagles Music 老鷹音樂)

In the same interview, Lee described himself as a “stay-home otaku with a dislike for going outside”, yet willing to take Itano around Taiwan after this project if time permits. She resolves vice-versa to bring him to Tokyo, and both sides have shown interest in each others’ culture, with Itano citing her previous short visits to Eastern Taiwan and Ximending to enthusiastic reception from fans there.

Itano and Lee go sightseeing off-camera

Itano and Lee go sightseeing off-shoot (Source: Eagles Music 老鷹音樂 )

 With much mutual commitment to each others’ commitment to bring the esteemed romance novel to the silver screen, Raincoat is one collaboration that Chinese movie buffs of the romance genre and oshi of Itano can look forward to, and to look out for how the chemistry between the two leads further develops.

Mandarin-speaking readers may view a Chinese feature on the press conference and  by Shanghai Entertainment (上海娱乐)

Source: AKB48 Daily, Epoch Times

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