Asians in Hollywood: Spotlight on Shioli Kutsuna
Does the name Shioli Kutsuna ring a bell? If not, here’s a hint: she plays the gorgeous bride in Netflix’s 2019 original film, Murder Mystery, but you may better know her as Yukio from last year’s hit blockbuster Deadpool 2.
A familiar face to avid watchers of Japanese films and dramas, the 26-year-old Japanese-Australian actress has an impressive resume. After winning a Japanese beauty contest in 2006, she emigrated from Australia to Japan at the tender age of 14 to commence her some decade-long acting career.
Shioli, also known as the “Pocky Princess” due to her upbeat persona in Japan’s Pocky ads, has two Best Supporting Actress nominations and nine awards under her belt. After gaining recognition through Japanese works like Detective Conan and Beck, the starlet recently made her way to America to kick down Hollywood’s door.
Praised for her indie projects, she appeared alongside Josh Hartnett in the 2017 American-Japanese movie, Oh Lucy! and last year, the actress starred opposite Jared Leto in Netflix’s crime drama thriller film The Outsider.
However, she scored her big break when she landed the role of Yukio in Deadpool 2. Having turned her attention to auditioning for American productions only three years ago, Deadpool 2 was the biggest American film she ever auditioned for, and she had to audition about five times before getting the role.
Her appearance in the Marvel superhero movie was groundbreaking, to say the least. Not only did Shioli play one of the first openly gay characters and relationships in a Marvel comic book movie, but she was also one of the few Asian actresses in one. The budding Hollywood actress knows she’s lucky to be able to speak English, unlike most of her peers in Japan.
She previously revealed in an interview while promoting The Outsider, “I hadn’t done acting in English for 10 years. I’m coming from that world. But I am exploring new things. I do like the challenge.”
On the differences between working on Japanese and American projects, Shioli recognizes the shooting routines are “totally different.” During an interview for Deadpool 2, she said, “I was a little worried if I’d be able to fit in and get used to how things are here, but everyone was so welcoming, especially Ryan [Reynolds].”
Aside from Ryan, Shioli recently shared screen time with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, namely Jennifer Anniston and Adam Sandler in American comedy-mystery film Murder Mystery. In it, Shioli plays the young Suzi Nakamura, who left her ex-fiancé billionaire Charles Cavendish (Luke Evans) to marry his rich elderly uncle, Malcolm Quince, played by 80-year-old Terrence Stamp.
Portraying a stylish ski-instructor and the heir to Malcolm’s fortune, Shioli stole the scenes with her signature bangs, megawatt smile, and fashionable outfits, which showed off more skin than her previous roles. Despite her youthful appearance, her voice and tone carry a sense of maturity – reflective of the way she presents herself. Shioli is full of emotions when she speaks, and her lines were brimming with sarcasm in the film, but she lacked dialogue. Perhaps she can emote more with her eyes in the future.
When interviewed about her experience working with Jennifer in the movie, Shioli complimented Jennifer for being casual, friendly and “extremely sexy.” She said, “Working with an extremely amazing actress like that is just confusing at times.”
Now that Shioli has broken into Hollywood and taken on some major acting roles, her only hope is to “become a good actor.”