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Review of Interview: MASUMI on Starring in Yakuza Princess, Balancing Her Music Career

Yakuza Princess is now available on 4K, Blu-ray, and digital. The action-thriller stars MASUMI, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Tsuyoshi Ihara in the lead roles. Directed by Vicente Amorim and written by Amorim, Fernando Toste, Kimi Lee, and Tubaldini Shelling, the film is based on the graphic novel Samurai Shiro by Danilo Beyruth.

“Set in the expansive Japanese community of Sao Paulo in Brazil — the largest Japanese diaspora in the world — Yakuza Princess follows Akemi (MASUMI), an orphan who discovers she is the heiress to half of the Yakuza crime syndicate,” says the official synopsis. “Forging an uneasy alliance with an amnesiac stranger (Rhys Meyers) who believes an ancient sword binds their two fates, Akemi must unleash war against the other half of the syndicate who wants her dead.”

ComingSoon caught up with musical artist and actress MASUMI about her breakout role.

What was most rewarding about the process of filming Yakuza Princess?

I think the relationships that I got to build with everybody around me. Not just with Shelling (producer), Vicente (director), and with the actors, but with the whole crew. It was really a tough schedule to carry out. Very demanding physical shoots, and I think that experience brought all of us together! I’m still in touch with most of the crew I closely worked with and those memories make Yakuza Princess even more special for me.

What lessons did you learn working with Jonathan Rhys Meyers?

Jonathan always looked out for me from the beginning to the end, and I learned so much from that talented man. One of the things he said that stuck with me during the shoot was something like “Masumi, you’ll always be beautiful. Go against it”. And somehow that comment really helped me focus on connecting with my emotions without feeling distracted by how I might be looking in the camera. I also realized that although Jonathan has been praised for his looks, he doesn’t lean on it. It was eye-opening for me.

Is there a scene in the film that you’re particularly proud of how it came out or your performance?

The scene where I cry in front of my grandfather’s shrine after the Karaoke fight was the very first scene we shot! This was my first time shooting, first time walking into a “set” as an actress. So I was very nervous about playing one of the most emotional scenes. I’ve never focused so intensely in a big crowd before! But Vicente was very understanding when I needed a moment in between, so I was able to focus on what I created, and I’m very proud of that.

How do you look to balance acting and your music career?

By being okay that it isn’t always going to be balanced! Sometimes it’ll be more music than acting, and vice versa. The most important thing for me is to keep pushing out work that I’m proud of and that I keep improving as an artist. Everything has just begun, so I’m still figuring it all out!

You had a role in the fan film Naruto: Climbing Silver. What are your favorite anime and how did that come together?

I love Cowboy Bebop and Perfect Blue by Satoshi Kon! Nik invited me to be a part of the cast, and I happily joined! I think they did a great job, especially for a fan-made film. We’re planning to make something more together in the near future.

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