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Tag: opinion

Dream Casting: My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness

Contributed by
Jun 21, 2018

Dream Casting is an imaginative look at the casting process of potential Hollywood projects based on comics and other media. This isn't just about what is being made; this is about what should be made, and who we think should be the stars.

June is Pride Month, so I'm looking at some LGBTQ-oriented comics. This week I'm outside my usual wheelhouse with a look toward adapting the Nagata Kabi's autobiographical manga My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness. Released in the U.S. in 2017, it's one of the most popular LGBTQ comics of the past year and could make a really interesting movie.

The manga is nonlinear with a lot of internal monologue and flashbacks along the way, telling the story of Nagata coming to terms with her mental illness and reaching out into the world for human contact. Ideally, the movie should have a similarly loose structure, with the actress playing Nagata addressing the audience in the scenes in which she's struggling with who she is and what she's feeling.

Rila Fukushima as Nagata

Rila Fukushima as Nagata

The way Nagata draws herself in the comic has more to do with expressing emotion than depicting her physical appearance. In keeping with that, Rila Fukushima (Ghost in the Shell) has a wonderfully expressive face, as well as a fragility that suits this protagonist.

Rinko Kikuchi as Yuka

Rinko Kikuchi as Yuka

The lesbian sex worker Nagata hires has an open, pleasant quality that contrasts with Nagata's own discomfort. Rinko Kikuchi (Westworld, Pacific Rim) is the perfect actress for that.

Tamlyn Tomita as Mom

Tamlyn Tomita as Mom

Give Tamlyn Tomita (The Good Doctor) a short mom haircut, and she'll be perfect as Nagata's mother, with whom she has a very complicated relationship.

Ken Watanabe as Dad

Ken Watanabe as Dad

Nagata's dad is around but doesn't do much in the book. Ken Watanabe (Godzilla) has a great "dad" look and he's a fine addition to any project.

Hayley Kiyoko as the Second Girl

Hayley Kiyoko as the Second Girl

I wanted to limit the cast to mostly Japanese-born actors, but I couldn't resist finding a place for the Japanese American singer/actress nicknamed "Lesbian Jesus." She can have a memorable cameo as the sex worker Nagata meets at the end of the story.

Brian Tee as the Baker

Brian Tee as the Baker

The Baker who tells Nagata to pursue manga as a career only appears in one scene, but it's a pivotal enough moment to cast a recognizable actor. Brian Tee (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows) has the perfect smile for the part.