Shori Sato, the centre member of Johnny’s newest group Sexy Zone, will make his acting debut in a drama headed by actor Osamu Mukai, it was revealed on November 27, reports Oricon and Sankei Sports.
15-year-old Sato has had acting experience in "恋する・ガンバレー部 (Koisuru Ganbare-bu)", a mini drama series starring Sexy Zone, which was a supporting program for the 2011 Volleyball World Cup, but this will be his first chance to really challenge his acting skills. The Johnny’s talent has been a part of his agency since October 2010, meaning it has only taken him 13 months to get his first drama role.
"I’ve always wanted to work on a drama. I want to make the most of this chance and really turn it into something," he said.
"ハングリー！ (Hungry!)" will begin airing in Japan on January 10. The comedy drama mixes together elements of rock music and French dining. Mukai plays a man near his 30s who puts his dreams of becoming a musician aside to start up a French restaurant. Not only that, but his band are behind him too.
Sato plays the little brother of a university student who falls in love with Mukai’s sharp-tongued French chef character.
Sato will not be the only Johnny’s talent on the drama. SMAP’s Goro Inagaki will play Mukai’s rival, the man who bought Mukai’s character’s old family restaurant. While Sato and Inagaki had appeared on TV together during an episode of SMAP x SMAP in June, because Sato was one of a hundred Johnny’s Jr. talents on the show, he had not talked to his senior directly.
"Inagaki-san looks really good in suits, and he looks cool with wine. He has his own character sorted out so I hope I can learn from him and find my own character," Sato said.
It has been reported drama producer Hideyuki Kawanishi had said he was impressed with Sato after seeing him perform in a concert over the summer. He had asked the drama’s script writer to write in a character like Sato.