Starring Paruru from AKB48! “Ring” Director Nakata’s New Horror Film to be Out Next Year

Starring Paruru from AKB48! “Ring” Director Nakata’s New Horror Film to be Out Next Year


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The title of the new horror film helmed by Hideo Nakata, director of J-horror masterpiece “Ring” (1998), and starring Haruka Shimazaki of AKB48, has been settled as Gekijourei. Twenty years after Nakata vividly portrayed the unnatural phenomena at a film studio in the legendary film, Joyuurei (1995), Nakata moves the stage to the “theater” for this work, and depicts brand new terrors that assail the actresses.

Joyuurei, the debut film of director Nakata, depicts the terror that besieges a new director who discovers an actress that he doesn’t know on a screen test. On the other hand, in Gekijourei, the terror that pulls in Saori, a young actress that plays a supporting role in a new play, is depicted, which befalls upon her while investigating mysterious incidents that occur in a theater where actresses are embroiled in a stormy competition for the leading role.

Haruka Shimazaki

Shimazaki won the role of Saori in an audition open to all the members of AKB48. In the supporting roles, Rika Adachi plays Saori’s best friend who harbors a secret, Kaori; Riho Takada plays Aoi, an actress who is a rival of Saori; and Keita Machida (Gekidan Exile) plays Izumi, a stage crew member who investigates the mysterious incidents with Saori.

According to Nakata, Shimazaki had “a tense face, with an expression mixed with doubt and determination,” during the rehearsals. He comments, “This doubt and determination worked well with the expressions of her character in the film, raising the synergistic effect.” Further, “Whenever Ms. Shimazaki trembled with fear or shook in terror with those ‘large feline eyes’ of hers, I was whooping cries of joy inside. She is someone who has both the horror film looks and a high level of concentration,” he said, praising her talents as a horror film actress.


On the other hand, Nakata was fully satisfied with Adachi, who, with her “innate sense of cheerfulness, talked to anyone, and loosened up the atmosphere of the set,” saying, “She played a difficult role of someone who keeps a secret from even her best friend, played by Ms. Shimazaki, but she utterly nailed the scene where she lets out her secret, even though the filming became quite gruelling.” Although these days Adachi often displays her talents in variety shows, Nakata has great hopes for her as an actress, saying, “I would love for her to avidly continue working as a film actress as well.”


Nakata explains that the terror of Gekijourei “Like in Joyuurei, is the ‘devil’ that lurks into the crevices of ‘theater=fiction’. This ‘devil’ won’t stop its ‘invasion of reality’, getting onto the stage during rehearsals, the dressing rooms, the storage warehouse, and to the trap cellar under the stage.” He says, “I am very aware of the sensation of speeding and horrifying grotesqueness,” leading us to expect a Japanese horror film with not just the quiet, sticky kind of horror, but a film that allows us a completely new kind of experience.

The movie Gekijourei is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2015.

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