Sonoya Mizuno Fearlessly Breaks the Mold

Sonoya Mizuno Fearlessly Breaks the Mold

This dancer-turned-actress is reaching new highs with her role in 'Crazy Rich Asians.'

This dancer-turned-actress is reaching new highs with her role in 'Crazy Rich Asians.'

Photography: Alana O'Herlihy

Styling: Britt Berger

Text: Lisa Mischianti

This interview appears in the pages of V114 on newsstands now! Order your copy of the issue today at shop.vmagazine.com

This August, Sonoya Mizuno will walk down the aisle in a $40 million dollar wedding—on-screen, that is. It’ll be her character Araminta Lee’s big day, the event at the narrative center of Crazy Rich Asians, a film adapted from Kevin Kwan’s hit novel. Directed by Jon M. Chu, the movie has been hotly anticipated for its juicy storyline, over-the-top opulence, and stellar all-Asian cast including Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Awkwafina, and Ken Jeong.

Shot on location in Southeast Asia, the production was a singular experience for Mizuno and her co-stars. “We knew we were doing some-thing special, so there was this heightened feeling the whole time—the energy was kind of unusual,” recalls Mizuno of filming. “I think all of us had been in so many experiences where we played the token Asian person or the stereotyped Asian character, but in this film everyone isa whole, unique character and is funny, beautiful, intelligent, charismatic. I think we just revelled in that.”

Born in Tokyo, Mizuno grew up in the U.K. attending the Royal Ballet School. Her major break into acting came in 2015 with the sci-fi flick Ex Machina, in which she captivated audiences with a surreal robot disco dance scene. Roles in 2016’s La La Land and this year’s Annihilation followed, both of which also featured memorable choreography. While she still dabbles in dance, she finds film a much more freeing form. “I’m learning to let go of the idea of trying to be perfect,” she says. “Since ballet has such a solid classical framework, everything is supposed to be a very specific way, so you learn to look at things with an eye towards perfection. But in acting, it isn’t always necessarily good to be like that—really magical things can happen when it’s unexpected and messy.”

Next on the horizon for Mizuno is the forthcoming Cary Fukunaga-directed Netflix series Maniac, a black comedy based on the Norwegian television show of the same name. In it, she will appear in her biggest role to date, alongside Jonah Hill and Emma Stone. “My part was the most interesting and fun and complex character I’ve played,” explains Mizuno. “What Cary and the writer Patrick [Somerville] created was really bold and brave. I love being a part of things like that.”

And while her film parts may be growing in scale, Mizuno is still open to interesting side gigs. Having modeled for everyone from Shiseido to Ivy Park and appeared in music videos for Frank Ocean, Mizuno says that one of her goals is to dance in a video with Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes. When asked about any upcoming dance projects in the works, Mizuno— like any great dancer—leaves us wanting more. “I have something I can’t tell you [about],” she says, “but I’m excited about it.”

SONOYA WEARS DRESS SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO, EARRINGS AND RING BULGARI

Credits: MAKEUP LISA AHARON (STARWORKS GROUP), HAIR RUDY MARTINS (THE WALL GROUP), PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT YASMIN JANSEN, RETOUCHING MARIA FIMMANO, LOCATION MADE HOTEL NYC

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