by Chris MaGee
Last August film fans were stunned by the news of the overdose of Yuya Yagira, the 18-year-old actor who gained international acclaim with his debut role in Hirokazu Kore-eda's 2004 drama "Nobody Knows". (You can read our original coverage here.) At the time the media was still reeling from the accidental drug overdose of actor Heath Ledger, but the speculation was that Yagira may have been imploding like so many child stars before him. Yagira vehemently denied that the overdose was a suicide attempt and instead insisted that he had simply taken too many doctor prescribed sedatives after a fight with his parents. Regardless of the cause or what Yagira's intentions were he has definitely been keeping a low profile since then. In November he actually released a novel in Japan titled “Yama nai ame” but avoided returning to the screen... that is until now.
Yagira will make his return to films in Akane Yamada's directorial debut "Subete wa Umi ni Naru." He will portray a nerdy high school student, bullied by his class mates, who finds solace in literature. When he meets a clerk, played by Eriko Sato (Cutie Honey, Kuchisake-onna) it's love at first sight. Yamada, who previously wrote the screenplays for Yeming Wang's "Tea Fight" and Tetsuo Shinohara's "Clearness" plans to have "Subete wa Umi ni Naru" completed by the spring of 2010.
Part of me is glad that Yagira has returned from what has obviously been a very difficult period for him, but another part of me still feels a bit bad for him. You have to remember that when he made his debut in "Nobody Knows" he was just a 13-year-old kid with absolutely no acting experience. The film was released and suddenly he was picking up awards for best actor at the Cannes Film Festival. You almost wish that Yagira, if he so wished, could just go back to being a normal kid. Well, at least that's what I think. Share your thoughts in the comments.
Thanks to Tokyograph and Japan Zone for the details on this. Thanks also to Sankei Sports for the above still from "Subete wa Umi ni Naru."