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star struck

Marshall law
Garry Marshall and Julie Andrews make no apologies for their sentimental sequel The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
By Chris Betros

Director Garry Marshall and Julie Andrews
Chris Betros

There’s no mistaking a Garry Marshall film in Japan.
The Japanese title always has the word “pretty” in it. First, there was Pretty Woman, then Pretty Bride (for Runaway Bride), followed by Pretty Princess (The Princess Diaries) and now its sequel, Pretty Princess 2 (The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement), which reunites the director with Julie Andrews.

“It’s easy to do a sequel when you had such a great time on the first one,” said the 69-year-old star. This time, Queen Clarissa (Andrews) of the itsy-bitsy European principality of Genovia has to groom her klutzy American granddaughter Mia (Ann Hathaway) to be the future ruler. But an old Genovian law requires Mia to be wed within 30 days or else she forfeits the throne. Although some critics have called it schmaltz, Marshall and Andrews both counter that it is a non-violent film that the whole family can enjoy together and come out feeling good.

Andrews remains immensely popular in Japan with women who grew up in the ’60s. Coinciding with her visit were special DVD releases to mark the 40th anniversary of her two most successful films—Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965). Video clips of the two films seemed to be playing wherever she went. “I am just so lucky to have been asked to be in those two films,” she said.

An added bonus for her fans is that in Princess Diaries, she gets to do something she hasn’t done since having throat surgery in 1997—sing for about a minute. “It’s nice of you to call it singing, but it wasn’t really,” she said in a raspy voice. “It was more singing-speaking. Garry asked me to try and they wrote a song especially for my delivery.”

Marshall is known for paying that kind of attention to his stars’ needs and has launched many on their way to success—among them Ron Howard, Robin Williams and Julia Roberts. A former drummer in a jazz band and stand-up comedian, he wrote material for TV programs such as The Lucy Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show, before scoring a string of successes as executive producer of such TV series as The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley and Mork and Mindy.

His films are invariably sentimental. “Cinderella was my favorite story. I may make a serious film one day, but there is so much sadness in the world that if I can make you smile, that’s good enough for me.” Furthermore, he likes to feature female protagonists. “I have been married to a wonderful woman for 42 years, I grew up with two sisters, and I have two daughters and two granddaughters. What can I say? I love women.”



 

 

the scene

St. Patrick’s Pre-Party
Sponsors celebrate at the Irish Embassy Residence

Clockwise from top left: Irish Ambassador Padraig Murphy with Irish Network Japan Chairman Derrick A. Fitzgerald; last year’s St. Patrick, David Groff, with this year’s, Robert Hamilton; Irish dancer Hiroko Konno with Paddy Foley’s Manager Neil Day; Japan Guardian Angels Daiki Miyazaki and Chikako Kamata
Photos by Steve Trautlein

 

 

Q&A

Daniela Papi & Greta Arnquist
Charity cyclists heading for tour of Cambodia

Two of four women preparing for the PEPY Ride, Daniela Papi and Greta Arnquist, are seeking help and support before their adventure.

What is the PEPY Ride?
We are going to cycle to remote villages in Cambodia, stopping to teach about prevalent environmental and health issues at local schools and orphanages.

What does PEPY stand for?
Protect the Earth. Protect Yourself.

How did you get involved in this project?
Daniela visited Cambodia two years ago and was really moved by the people there. Last summer she rode through Japan on an environmental education bike ride, which gave her the idea of how we could help Cambodia in a similar way. Greta had volunteered in Cambodia before, so together we developed the PEPY Ride.

What are your main goals?
Before we leave, we want to raise at least US$16,000 to build a school in Cambodia. The money will be given to American Assistance for Cambodia, an internationally acclaimed non-profit program that has already built 200 schools across the country. On the tour, we want to teach about health and the environment at least 15 schools and orphanages. The Khmer Rouge destroyed the educational structure in Cambodia, and the people are still struggling to build a system where all children can attend school. As teachers, we believe education is the key to a brighter future for Cambodia’s children.

Why the bicycle?
We’re a BEE ride. That stands for Bicycle for Everyone’s Earth, a group that promotes sustainable living and encourages cycling as an environmentally friendly form of transportation.

How can others help?
We are halfway to our fundraising goal, but we still need a lot of help. Also, we are looking for people to help with sponsorship and press, and for locations where we can give talks.

Email daniela@pepyride.org or visit www.pepyride.org for information or to make a donation.


Would you like to comment on this article? Send a letter to the editor at letters@metropolis.co.jp.

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