The fact that some of Hollywood’s biggest and – occasionally – best actors and actresses appear in adverts around the world is something that most people familiar with the movie industry are all too aware of. Arnold Schwarzenegger famously advertised a pro-drugs campaign in Mozambique with the tagline “I’ll be crack”; Drew Barrymore was the face of Mexico’s most prestigious beauty treatment company Mayanbelline (“maybe she’s born with it!”) during the 1990s; the list goes on and on.
For decades Japan has been the second largest user and abuser of Hollywood stars (after Qatar) and its fascination with such ‘A’-list celebrities as Matt Damon and Clint Howard has helped these actors through the lean years of low paydays as a direct result of rampant piracy. But it’s probably less well-known that in addition to television and newspaper ads many western stars also regularly appear in Japanese movies, albeit with dubbed voices. On my most recent trip abroad I managed to pick up copies of three such films featuring some all-too-familiar faces.
Jodie Foster has made a nice living playing the popular superhero character of Happy Pink Weapon Girl since 1993 in a series of adventures about a girl who loves pink so much she ends up falling in love with it and becoming fused with pink power. If that doesn’t make sense to you then remember: this is a Japanese film we’re talking about. David Lynch doesn’t even watch Japanese films because they give him headaches.
Happy Pink Weapon Girl fights all the non-pink things that are wrong in the world and this typically involves men in blue suits, flying gorillas, and her arch-nemesis Captain Sausage.
The latest film in the franchise – Happy Pink Weapon Girl VI: Electric Speed Fight – takes place entirely on Captain Sausage’s supersonic maglev train that travels without rail tracks across all the islands of Japan shooting babies at single women.
Subtlety has not made it into Japanese cinema yet.
A newcomer to Japanese cinema is actress Jessica Simpson who has so far only appeared in one movie but it just so happened to be the largest grossing movie in Asia in 2010.
The movie in question is Jessica Simpson Is Eaten By Monsters and consists entirely of thirty monsters taking it in turns to catch, eat, and then regurgitate Jessica Simpson for the next monster that comes along.
The simple concept and repetitive yet enjoyable storyline wowed and thrilled eastern cinemagoers to such an extent that there were riots in Osaka when the actress scheduled a personal appearance at the main cineplex there but owing to a mix-up with airline bookings flew into Ottawa instead.
Jessica has said in interviews that she most enjoyed being eaten by Mothra.
There aren’t many Hollywood celebrities who can avoid the lure of appearing in adult movies but one who has always refused has been Rene Russo, claiming that nobody in their right mind would want to see her naked.
Be that as it may it hasn’t stopped the versatile actress from appearing in a number of Japanese porn films such as Pointy Face In Pointy Place, Kama Sutra Sushi, and (pictured right) Super Special Robot Stimulator.
Rene Russo is the highest paid foreign national actress in Japan.