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TOKYO — Bad girl Erika Sawajiri has been replaced as the female lead for “Space Battleship Yamato” and is in the process of being dropped by her agency, Stardust Promotions, according to local media reports.
Meisa Kuroki is to take the female lead in the live-action version of “Yamato” opposite pop band SMAP’s Takuya “Kimutaku” Kimura, set for release next year.
The image of Sawajiri, mockingly referred to by the honorific “Erika-sama” for her primadonna antics, has never recovered from her display of attitude at a press conference for “Closed Note” in September 2007. Sawjiri was banned from accompanying the film to the Pusan film festival, and despite lengthy apologies with obligatory crocodile tears, she topped polls of most-disliked celebrities afterwards.
Sawajiri, 23, had been living in London for most of this year, since her marriage to multimedia producer Tsuyoshi Takahiro, 45. Supposedly there to study English, her management is said to be nervous about rumors regarding drug-use on the Spanish island of Ibiza.
Following the recent media frenzy after Noriko “Noripi” Sakai was charged with possession over 0.008 grams of amphetamines, and the death of a club hostess who was taking ecstasy with actor Manabu Oshio – the appropriately named Stardust, appears to be taking no chances. It is alleging breach of contract and currently negotiating with husband Takahiro’s lawyers.
While her offhand press conference manners would probably only have raised eyebrows in Hollywood, Japan expects even its celebrities to show public humility, sincere or otherwise. And of course, just to say no to drugs.
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