The actress discusses her Golden Globe Nomination, working with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and what she has coming up next

Oftentimes great performances during any year go unnoticed. There are many movies and only so many awards to go around. This is what makes Rinko Kikuchi's recent Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Babel so impressive. Seeming to come out of nowhere, this 26 year old actress has been getting a lot of notice for her portrayal of Chieko in the film. Playing a person who is deaf, Kikuchi relies heavily on her facial expressions to put across the many different emotions of her layered character.

The following interview was recently done through her Japanese translator Hyoe Yamamoto.

What's it like being nominated for a Golden Globe?

Rinko Kikuchi: I'm very, very excited about everything. I almost have barely heard of the Golden Globes before... I know what it is but I didn't know how popular it is or how important it is but this is all new to me. Obviously, I feel a little bit out of place but I'm really excited about it as well.

What was it about the character of Chieko that attracted you to doing the film?

Rinko Kikuchi: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu was one of the directors I really admired and respected. So that alone, I really wanted to work on this film. Also, for obvious reasons, playing a 16 year old girl who's struggling with the fear of living life, through pain and anger, that's the kind of character that is really fascinating. It was all very fascinating to me so I really wanted to work on this film.

What was it like working with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu?

Rinko Kikuchi: He's a very passionate man. He is actually very detailed oriented as far as the emotional arc of the character. He knows every single thing about the character that I was playing; every single emotion. He knew what worked best on screen. Basically, knowing that he trusted me on the set that was an incredible experience. It was really great working with him.

Why do you think audiences have been so taken with Babel?

Rinko Kikuchi: I think that's simply because there's a lot in the film that audiences and critics can relate to on a very personal level. I think that's what makes the film so great.

What was your fondest memory about making this film?

Rinko Kikuchi: I've been involved with this film for a very long time. The audition took a year and the shooting. Then, for the most part, I've been doing the promotion for the film for almost a year. It's been a very, very long process. I feel like it's not over yet for obvious reasons. It was like really living life, Babel, for that period of time. On the set I was really taken in by everything that was going on. It went very, very fast. It's been sort of crazy like that. It's been a long process but it's really become part of my life.

What do you think the theme of your segment of Babel is?

Rinko Kikuchi: I may not feel that the specific theme is so important... what is important is what the audience feels. My job is to go through the set and do the best I can. I feel like it's not really up to me to say it, because the film really belongs to the audience.

What do you have coming up next?

Rinko Kikuchi: The journey is not over yet and it probably won't be over for some time. After the Golden Globes, I'm going back to Japan and I'm starring in a romantic film and also I'm doing a comedy. There's some stuff in the pipeline but I'm still looking for projects at this point and working on Babel.

Babel is currently in theaters from Paramount Vantage.

Dont't forget to also check out: Babel [Special Collector's Edition] [2 Discs]

Cinemark Movie Club
Evan Jacobs