WHAT SHE’S DONE
The Japanese ingenue earned raves in Cannes and Toronto for her moving turn as a rebellious, deaf teen in Babel, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s global drama, costarring Brad Pitt.
HOW SHE’S DOING IT
Naked. She bares all in Babel, but says: ”The nude scenes weren’t a big deal for me.”
WHEN SHE’LL BREAK BIG
The film opens Oct. 27, but Kikuchi, 25, is already generating Oscar buzz. ”It’s great to hear that,” she says via a translator. ”It was a hard role — Chieko has so much anger.”
WHY YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR HER
Kikuchi, who is not deaf, mastered sign language for the part. Now she’s learning English.