Erika Sawajiri, 23, has lost her part in an upcoming movie that was supposed to mark her comeback as an actress, with the role going to actress Meisa Kuroki, 21.
Sawajiri was initially chosen over Kuroki and several other candidates to be the leading lady in “Space Battleship Yamato,” scheduled to hit cinemas in December next year. Filming for the movie - rumored to have production costs of roughly 1 billion yen - will start next month.
The change in casting came about after Sawajiri’s agency, Stardust Promotion, informed production management that they were considering terminating her contract. Stardust has not yet confirmed the reason behind her forthcoming dismissal but one staff member did say that it was due to a significant breach of contract.
Sawajiri has spent most of her time in Spain and England since getting married to media creator Takeshi Takashiro, 45, at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo in January. She was seen heading for a fashion show in New York in February wearing fashion items Stardust viewed as a promotion for Takashiro’s business interests.
In July, she was cautioned by police on Amami Oshima, an island in Kagoshima Prefecture, which was a popular spot for viewing the solar eclipse, after she was found to be riding a powered bicycle that required registration.
Rumors abound, however, that drugs may be involved, with Sawajiri and Takashiro attending an event on Amami Oshima which Noriko Sakai, 38, also attended. Takashiro has since written on his blog that they have never met Sakai nor her husband.