By Makoto Hoshino / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterOften cast as a bubbly heroine with a big smile in youth dramas and films, actress Masami Nagasawa said she tends to be seen as a naive, innocent person.
“I guess people see me as someone who is carefree and easily fooled rather than as someone who fools others,” she said.
In “The Confidence Man JP,” a Fuji TV show broadcast Mondays at 9 p.m., however, she was instructed to portray a genius swindler. She wondered at first if “it was OK for me to play the role.”
Yet after reading the script written by Ryota Kosawa, Nagasawa found her role to be reasonable. The protagonist can be anyone she wants to be but always comes up short, a persona Nagasawa admits is close to her image as an actress.
In the show, a con artist named Dahko (Nagasawa) assumes about 20 different identities, from that of a gambler to a flight attendant. However, Dahko’s “real self” occasionally comes out, making her attempts appear unnatural.
“Before writing the script, I think Kosawa-san watched my previous performances to understand how I express myself and move about,” Nagasawa said.
Nagasawa is now 30 years old, which seems to be a significant year in her life. When she starred in a number of TV shows and movies in her teens and 20s, she said she “tried too hard” but now realizes it is sometimes “important to rely on others.” She believes it is important for her to “concentrate on a given role and prepare for it little by little.”
In “The Confidence Man JP,” she relies most on actor Fumiyo Kohinata, who acts as Dahko’s fellow con artist.
“He makes me laugh all the time, even when I’m trying to concentrate ... that’s really hard,” Nagasawa said with a laugh. “He gives junior actors a bit of a rough time.”
One particular comment by Kohinata left an impression on her: “It’s not always right to do decent acting.”
As she seeks to secure her standing as an actress reliant on her skills, Nagasawa takes these words of wisdom from her veteran colleague to heart.
Learn more about Nagasawa:
Q. How do you relax?
A. I go to museums, watch movies and look at beautiful scenery. Anything that’s human or ordinary is relaxing. Yesterday, I got off work in the evening so I went to see cherry blossoms. That was really fulfilling.
Q. Do you like surprises?