Acting is her new love
Model Kiko Mizuhara keeps mum about relationship with G-Dragon, but raves about experience of filming new sci-fi flick Attack on Titan
Mention the name Kiko Mizuhara and K-pop boy band BigBang's rapping phenom G-Dragon instantly comes to mind.
The 24-year-old Japanese model-turned-actress and the 26-year-old K-pop superstar are after all Asian entertainment's hottest are-they-or-aren't-they celebrity couple.
Since 2011, the paparazzi have been hot on their heels, capturing shots of them on alleged dates.
While neither party has confirmed their relationship, Mizuhara's perplexing Instagram post last week - a picture of US actress Sarah Jessica Parker with the caption "Single and fabulous, exclamation point" - sparked off rumours of a break-up and set the Internet abuzz with speculation.
Are JiKoheaded for splitsville?
Or are they still together?
Looks like we won't be getting anything from the horse's mouth either.
In an e-mail interview with M to promote her latest film, the manga-adapted Japanese post-apocalyptic film Attack On Titan Part 1, Mizuhara remained tight-lipped on matters of the heart, declining to answer all our questions related to G-Dragon.
It was clear, however, that advancing her acting career is one of her top priorities - perhaps even more important than romance.
"Being a model for more than 10 years, I like my fashion career, as it brings me a different type of happiness from the acting profession," she told M.
"I am still very new as an actress and I'm in the learning stage and absorbing a lot of knowledge and skills. I hope to be able to try out different roles in the future."
Her previous film credits include supporting turns in Norwegian Wood (2010) and Helter Skelter (2012).
Attack On Titan Part 1, which is currently showing here and available in both NC16 and M18 versions, features Mizuhara and actor Haruma Miura as members of an elite fighting squad who aim to save humans from carnivorous giants known as Titans.
She will reprise her role as Mikasa in Attack On Titan Part 2, which opens here on Sept 24.
"When I read the manga, the character who left the deepest impression was none other than Mikasa," shared Mizuhara.
"As the manga's heroine, she is strong and attractive. At that time, I did think that if the manga were ever to be adapted into a live-action movie, the role of Mikasa would be the best for me.
"When I was actually offered the role of Mikasa, I was extremely shocked and happy."
She trained hard for the movie's intense action scenes and wire work.
"Prior to the shoot, for two months, I went to the gym frequently. I also went for chiropractic sessions in order to make my body more flexible," said Mizuhara.
"I had a personal trainer who helped me train my inner muscles. There were times when I trained up to eight hours a day!
"Being wired up was a first for me. It was very difficult to shoot in front of a green screen, but at the same time, it was interesting. When there was nothing in front of us, the cast members and I had to imagine being attacked by Titans and react accordingly. The toughest part was making sure that our (facial) expressions were timed accurately and synchronised."
Best special effects
ACTION STARS: Haruma Miura (right) stars as Eren and Kiko Mizuhara (far right) plays Mikasa in Attack on Titan Part 1. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ENCORE FILMS
Attack on Titan Part 1 is bigger and better than the usual monster or fantasy flick, promised the film's Japanese lead actor Haruma Miura.
"The most attractive and appealing factor of this movie is the use of the most advanced special visual effects," said the 25-year-old to M in a separate e-mail interview.
"The Titans are so real-looking that they really seem to exist in real life.
"I think the sense of horror is different from other works too. Attack On Titan Part 1 exudes a sense of eeriness throughout."
The handsome star, whose previous films include Tokyo Park (2011) and last year's China-produced Five Minutes to Tomorrow, added that his favourite parts were the "fighting scenes".
"The scenes where we used the omni-directional mobility gears - body harnesses consisting of grapples propelled by gas canisters - were the coolest," he said.
In the movie, omni-directional mobility gears are used by humans when battling the carnivorous Titans.
Action sequences aside, Miura yearns to touch the audiences with his emotive performance too.
"In the original manga, my character Eren is a determined person who does not give up easily," he said.
"At the same time, he is too straightforward and also a little immature.
"I hope to show all these sides of him in the movie."