Additional cast members for the live-action movie “The Promised Neverland” (to be released on Dec. 18, 2020) have been announced. Kitagawa Keiko will be playing the role of Isabella, the beloved mom of the orphans that reside in “Grace Field House”, while Watanabe Naomi will be playing the role of Krone, Isabella’s subordinate sister that will attempt to usurp the position of “Mama” from Isabella.
“The Promised Neverland” is originally a “unique” prison escape-suspense manga serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump” (Shueisha) from Aug. 2016, which TV Anime’s 1st season also became a hot topic. The 17 volumes of the manga have exceeded 18 million printed copies worldwide, and the broadcast of season 2 for the anime series has been decided as well.
“Grace-Field House” is an orphanage similar to a paradise filled with happiness. The orphans who live there while being under the care of Isabella, who is called “Mama” by everyone for her position as a mother figure, were waiting impatiently to reach the age to be adopted by foster parents.
Emma, Ray, and Norman also believed that they would experience even happier days as soon as their time to leave the orphanage came.. Until “that day” arrived…
Emma and Norman followed Conny, who was leaving the orphanage with a smile after she learned she'd get adopted, after realizing that Conny had accidentally forgotten the precious plush she carried around with her everywhere in the dining room. To give it back to her, they headed to the “gate”, a place Mama taught them to never approach. There, they found Conny killed in a horrible way, realizing that she was sold as meat to someone else. For that reason, “the orphanage that everyone believed was a paradise” was actually “a farm that raises edible children to be given to demons”, and their beloved Mama was “the caretaker in charge of raising the most eatable children”.
The cast members of the live-action movie include; Hamabe Minami as Emma, the protagonist with an innocent and very straightforward personality, Kairi Jyo as Ray, a realist and cool boy, and Itagaki Rihito as Norman, a rational leader. In addition, the two caretakers added to the cast, who hold the key to the story, have been announced.
Kitagawa will be playing the role of Isabella, the beloved mom of the children of Grace Field House, the orphanage where Emma and the others live. She is considered the best-of-the-best among all the Mama that raise highly intelligent children like Emma. While Watanabe Naomi will be playing Krone, Isabella’s subordinate sister that will attempt to usurp the position of “Mama” from Isabella.
The live-action movie “The Promised Neverland” will be released in Dec. 18, 2020.
<Full comments are below>
[Role of Isabella: Kitagawa Keiko]
I started reading the manga after I received the offer. It was so interesting that I got drawn into the manga's world. I was particularly attracted to Isabella, who is very close to my age. This is the first manga that I’ve read in one go with so much excitement! However, I couldn't decide easily whether or not to accept the role, and I ended up deciding at the very last moment. There are so many fans of the original work that, when I received the offer, I thought that it might be hard for me.
Any actor knows the difficulty of adopting a manga into a movie or anime series. For that reason, I thought that it might be impossible to reproduce the Neverland’s world through a live-action without losing some of the quality of the original manga. Eventually, I decided to accept the offer after knowing that I was going to work with director Hirakawa once again, and that none of the original setting, including Isabella's age and the other characters had been subject to change. Please enjoy our Isabella and Krone!
[Role of Krone: Watanabe Naomi]
I’m Watanabe Naomi that will play the role of Krone. To be able to express properly the emotional and sensitive Krone, I put into it all my efforts while consulting with the director. The little children on the set were pulled towards the fierce Krone… (laugh)
I love the original work. The pictures are so cute, and the story is so full of shocking developments that you get drawn into it very quickly. I want to fulfill my role while standing in the way of the children with Isabella, played by Kitagawa. Please stay tuned for it!
[Role of Emma: Hamabe Minami]
While reading the original manga, I was horrified by Isabella and Krone and cried many times. When I heard that Kitagawa and Watanabe had been chosen for the roles, I thought that they were perfect to play Emma, Ray, and Norman's enemies. The acting of Kitagawa was always so exciting and thrilling, while during Watanabe's scenes I had some difficulty holding back my laugh. Both as Emma and as a reader of the manga, I’m glad they were chosen for the part, they suit the role perfectly. I can't wait to see the complete movie!
[Original author: Shirai Kaiu]
The best Isabella and Krone! I'm really happy. After seeing Kitagawa-san on the movie set, I think she perfectly suits Mama Isabella. She is so beautiful! So cool! And so dignified! I want you to see her! (See photos). And isn't the scene where Isabella grabs Krone’s cheeks great?? Isn't it the best?? Not to mention the gap between her gentle smile and her freezing cold gaze! When I saw Conny's scene, her words made me tremble.
I also want everyone to tremble while watching mom Isabella on the screen! I couldn't meet Watanabe-san, but the other day Sugita-san, the editor in charge of the movie who had checked the scenes during the production said, “Krone is perfect! Watanabe-san is perfect…!”, I got very excited! I think that the actors chosen for Emma, Isabella, and Krone are a very special cast and the best if you want to make a live-action in Japan. Let's look forward to the movie release!
[Illustrations: Demizu Posuka]
The cast is so wonderful! Thank you, everyone! During the tour on the movie set, I was impressed by Kitagawa-san’s voice echoing in a dark and quiet house. I was also astonished by the way Mama called Emma’s name. She put both a sense of kindness and strength into a single word while accompanying it with a gesture of her hand, just like in the manga! (I heard she read it with great attention) That smile shown through her little narrow and gentle eyes that hide a mix of affection and just a little bit of coldness is amazing! Also, Kitagawa-san looks bigger on the screen than during the break!
In the manga, her attitude towards the children is a little exaggerated, but here it is perfect! Krone played by Watanabe-san is very impressive. She is a jokey character, but she is also one of the top child prodigies when it comes to intellect. The expression she puts into each word is simply the best!! Looking at the two of them, I was able to experience the mysterious feeling that the worldview I created in the manga was now right in front of me like a sort of déjà vu.
[Director: Hirakawa Yuuichirou]
Since I had worked with Kitagawa-san 13 years prior, I was able to notice on the movie set that she grew as an actress and that she was even more brilliant than before. With the strength and kindness of a mother who raises nearly 30 children alone, she played the role of an adoring Isabella magnificently, and also became the greatest barrier for the children. I owe everything to her.
I worked for the first time with Naomi-san, but before that, I already knew she was the greatest entertainer in Japan. On the movie set, I asked her to improvise a lot, and she was able to perform very well each time. The sadness full of human kindness that characterizes Krone, has added a warm feeling to the movie. I hope you will see it on the screen.
[Producer: Murase Ken]
We are so grateful to have such an amazing cast! The heart, beauty, tenderness, and the fear behind it… In all of them, Kitagawa Keiko is Isabella. Isn't it the best casting that you could imagine, which is even highly appreciated by the fans of the original work?
And Krone. I think there is no actress that would be able to play that unique character with such a strange atmosphere, unusual look and gestures better than Watanabe Naomi. Even now I feel terrified at the mere thought of declining their offer. Besides the manga, be sure to look forward to the live-action featuring Isabella and Krone, which adds a sense of reality to the original work through real actors.
(C) Shirai Kaiu, Demizu Posuka / Shueisha (C) 2020 Movie “The Promised Neverland” Production Committee