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776: Streep talk
775: World of difference
774: Shocks and Bonds
773: Viva La Revolución
772: Jacqui Bayne
768: Beyond the universe
767: Yasuhito Endo
766: Aroon Mahtani
765: Dr. Hidemi Akai
764: Badr Hari
763: Mizuki Kubodera
761: Patrick W. Galbraith
760: Jean-Pierre Felix
759: Philippe Grau
758: Emi Kashiwara & Elekiteru
757: Aura Virginia Chirculescu
756: Aaron Davis
755: Happy days
754: Bryan Au
753: Martin van der Linden
752: Qinggelete
751: Chuck Johnson
750: Mike Applegate (aka Magic Mike)
749: Yukie Kito
748: Steve Kaufmann
746: Samira Zarghami
745: Raising the Bar
744: Pierre-Gilles Delorme
743: David F. Hoenigman
742: Miwa Gardner
741: Kevin Cooney
740: Kyle Cleveland
739: JJ
738: Bruce Stronach
737: Yoichiro Dennis Ide
736: Mike Garrett
735: Hiroki Suehara
734: Rise and Shrine
733: Patrik Washburn
732: Michael Bumgardner
731: Patricia Bader-Johnston
730: Darin Maki
729: Hiroshi Fujimaki
728: Misha Janette
727: Jon Mitchell
725: Hokuto Konishi
724: Rita Lamah Hankach
723: Kisui Nakazawa
722: Angela Jeffs
721: Simon Wood
720: Yasuko Yokoyama
715: Jason Kelly
714: Dominica Serigano
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700: Jah-Light Sound System
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697: Eric Bragg
695: Susan Nichols
694: Anna Kunnecke
693: Kenneth Pechter
692: Kazu Wakui
691: Antonio Inoki
690: Hiroko Noguchi
689: Richard Bysouth
688: Eric Bjorndahl
687: Andrew Shuttleworth
686: Sayuri Suzuki
685: Yurie Hatanaka
684: Miogi Takii
683: Thierry Cohen
682: Ahmed M. Elmardi
681: Aya Kitagawa
680: Suzanne Ng and Yoriko Soma
679: Ricco DeBlank
677: Takenari Shibata
676: Kirk R. Patterson
675: Satoko Yahata
674: Flavia Nishimura
673: Ryo Shoji
672: Chip Eckton
671: Yuko Ito
670: Marja Kullberg
669: Laur Meyrieux
668: Slavomir Stanislaw Kowalewski
667: Ryan McGuire
664: Life force
663: Steve Marshall
662: Jeff Klein
661: Ahn Soon Han
660: Straight shooter
659: Marcello Pietrantonio
658: Glitterball 2006
657: Alison Roberts-Brown
656: Girl on the go
655: Rob Hoey
654: Kahori Ochi
653: Ed Wells
652: Haruka Orth
651: Laura Cook
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649: Full speed ahead
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647: Top talent
646: No heels, no life
645: Joanna Roper
644: Lu Nagata
643: Kirill Konin
642: Gabriele Roberto
641: Carlos Gibbs
640: Blair Falahey
639: The Three Waiters
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637: Tony Virili
636: Paul W. Creager
635: Randy Channell
634: Mari Takeuchi
633: Stephanie Schueller
632: Tara Tan Kitaoka
631: Katherine Mok
630: Bob Tobin and Hitoshi Ohashi
629: Tommy Kullberg
628: Toshio Nagashima
627: Eiko Kondo
626: Embrey Ramon Williams
625: Neil Day
624: Mong-Lan
623: Tor Hideki Kashio
622: Elizabeth Heilman Brooke
621: Louis Carlet
620: Theo Panagiotoulias
619: Lionel Gougne
618: Sarajean Rossitto
617: Christian Hassing
616: Kiho Takashima
614-615: David Wagner
613: Heather Stuart
612: Erica Angyal
611: Jack McLean
610: Fumine Yakumo
609: Yasutoshi Hirabayashi
608: Yoko Hijikata
607: Jim Frederick
605: Yuka Murakami
604: Chayne Ellis
603: Marco Antonio Nakata
602: Kicking Back
601: Stand by your man
600: Hero worship
599: The Candy man
598: Heart strings
597: Sweet and sour
596: Subtitle subtleties
595: The right moves
594: Mother’s day
593: The clone ranger
592: A career kicks off
591: Woman of substance
590: Final conflict
589: World Ready for ‘War’
588: Fun in the sun
587: New life for an old hero
586: Fun and games
585: Knockout punch
584: Patrick’s day
583: Marcia marches on
582: Brunch break
581: Kingdom come
580: Gentle as a beast
579: Prime time
578: Devil of a time
577: In first Gere
576: Bright spark
575: Rei of sunshine
574: A star is reborn
573: In search of geisha
572: Marshall law
571: In the Nic of time
570: Holding a grudge
569: Bourne again
568: Soap opera
567: Alexander and friends
566: Oceans apart
565: A night at the opera
564: Just joshing
563: McPain in the neck
561-562: Hanks for everything
560: Reading between the Klines
559: Risqué business
558: Sky highs
557: Korean boom
556: Queen Victoria
555: Glitter Ball
554: Peter Miller
553: Ralph Frehner
552: Dimension K
551: Tokyo Game Show
550: US Embassy
549: I, Robot Premiere
548: Mauve
547: Xterra Japan
546: Earth Celebration
545: Idée R-bar
544: Laforet Museum
543: Hara Museum
542: Fuji Rock Festival’04
541: Bunkamura Museum of Art

star struck

Fun in the sun
Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz bring Clive Cussler’s adventure novel Sahara to the screen
Photo and text by Chris Betros

Matthew McConaughey is hoping cinema’s next long-running hero will be Dirk Pitt, the adventure-loving protagonist of Clive Cussler’s best-selling novels. The 35-year-old Texan actor, who is starring as Pitt in Sahara alongside current girlfriend, 31-year-old Spanish beauty Penelope Cruz, said he badgered Cussler for permission twice to star as Pitt and was turned down both times. “But he finally said yes the third time,” McConaughey said during a recent visit to Japan with Cruz.

Pitt was brought to the screen once before, played by Richard Jordan in the forgettable 1980 film Raise the Titanic. Even though it bombed, McConaughey thinks Pitt is the coolest action hero there is. “I got turned on to the books about seven years ago. Pitt is an adventurer who has fun all the way and never loses his sense of humor. I feel the character is organic to me and I would like to do it as a franchise. Of course, that all depends on audiences.”

In Sahara, Pitt, a seemingly indestructible explorer and undersea treasure hunter for the National Underwater and Marine Agency, is looking for a lost Civil War battleship in the deserts of West Africa when he gets sidetracked into helping a World Health Organization doctor (Cruz) who is investigating the source of a deadly plague that involves a dictator and a French industrialist. “It’s vintage action-comedy,” McConaughey said. “Where else would you see a crashed plane turned into a land yacht to cruise across the desert, or galloping camels racing a train?”

The petite Cruz recalled that the hardest thing about filming in the desert was the sandstorms that would spring up suddenly. “You need a sense of humor to deal with things like that. The whole time I felt like I was in an Indiana Jones movie.”

McConaughey said it wasn’t the harsh location or climatic extremes that bothered him; rather, he said he always feels anxiety on the first day of work on any film he does. “It’s nerve-wracking because you are about to make something that will always be there on film for everyone to see. You’ll never be able to change it once it’s done. I can never sleep the first night after shooting.”

After having starred in a range of films such as Lone Star, A Time to Kill, Contact, Amistad, U-571, The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, McConaughey is hoping to make the Pitt character his own and bring the dozen or so Dirk Pitt adventure stories to the big screen. However, Cussler has expressed reservations. In April, the author filed a suit against the film’s producers, claiming they breached their contract with him by making 15 significant changes to the movie’s plot without his approval—the result being that the film is a bit heavy on comedy, whereas the books tend to be more serious. Although the movie, directed by first-timer Breck Eisner (the son of outgoing Disney CEO Michael Eisner) opened well at the box office in the US, it dropped off significantly in the following months. Apparently, Cussler is worried that the film’s mediocre performance will diminish the value of the Pitt novels. Meanwhile, McConaughey isn’t sitting around. He already has three other films in pre-production and three more projects in the works, including a drama called The Loop, in which he will once again co-star with Cruz.



David Croll
Drinking for a living

Whisky is a big part of David Croll’s life. Always keen amateur whisky drinkers, he and his wife Noriko jumped at the chance of becoming involved with the new Isle of Arran Distillery. In 1995, they established Arran Japan to act as sole importer and distributor. In 2000, they became Japanese representatives for UK-based Whisky Magazine, as well as taking over the Japanese franchise of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Today, the business, now known as Whisk-e Limited, represents the cult Springbank distillery and the premium Merchant Bottler Duncan Taylor and Co., whose collection of casks from the 1960s has received rave reviews around the world. Whisk-e also organizes Whisky Magazine Live in February.

What first brought you to Japan?
I came in 1985 on a three-month graduate training program with Nomura Securities.

How did you get involved in the whisky business?
Whisky had been a hobby of mine. When Arran Distillery started up, the son of the founder contacted us and asked if we’d like to do some PR work out here.

What trends do you see in the whisky market now?
Single malts continue to grow quite well. There has been a big shift away from blends.

Tell us about the Whisky Live event.
It was held at Tokyo Big Sight with over 2,200 participants in a day-long celebration of whisky. Some 30 distillery managers, blenders and whisky writers hosted a series of master classes for bar professionals and individual enthusiasts from around the country, with the day culminating in a party hosted by DJ Kaori from Tokyo FM.

Are you a big whisky drinker?
Yes, I love whisky, and I have to drink a lot of it, especially at events such as tastings and promotions. It’s getting harder to keep fit because there is a lot of eating and drinking in this job.

Have you ever seen any drinking habits that made you want to cry?
Once, at a bar in a major hotel, I saw an elderly Japanese gentleman order a bottle of incredibly expensive whisky—maybe it cost about ¥1 million—and a little bottle of Coke. CB

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