âNanno is back!â
is back!’ Thai star KITTYCHICHA reprises her role as the mysterious ‘new girl in school’ Nanno in the second season of the hit Thai-language series Girl From Nowhere.
STAR/ File

‘Nanno is back!’

Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - May 6, 2021 - 12:00am

Thai star Kitty Chicha Amatayakul was sitting in a room and wearing a school uniform, blunt bangs and a knowing smile, as she gave three words to describe Season 2 of her hit Netflix series Girl From Nowhere.

“Nanno is back,” said Kitty (a.k.a. KITTYCHICHA) effortlessly sending some chills down our spines as she teased a “virtual” glimpse of her lead role as Nanno.

The Philippine press had a recent Zoom interview with the 27-year-old, ahead of the Thai-language show’s return on the streaming giant tomorrow, May 7. If anything, it was more than enough to tell us that no other actress but Kitty is fitting as the heroine/antiheroine at the center of this supernatural/revenge thriller that won global fans, including from the Philippines.

Season 1 introduces viewers to the enigmatic “new girl in school” Nanno, who stands out with a signature look — shoulder-length, straight hair with bangs. She moves through different schools, with the intent to expose misdeeds and punish perpetrators with her own brand of justice. Smart, manipulative and charming, she comes up with schemes with her trademark hair-twirling habit, mischievous smile and “evil” laughter.

In Season 2, the “agent of karma” tackles even bigger injustices that take her beyond school grounds. This time, she is no longer alone as another mysterious girl follows in her shadow, forcing her to face her biggest challenge yet.

Nanno is neither human nor a ghost, and no one can identify what she is. But in the eight-episode, second season, as Kitty hinted, Nanno is “actually enjoying exploring all kinds of nice feelings and expressions that the human world could give her.”

According to Bangkok Post, Kitty started her showbiz career in Thailand as a member of a girl group. When she went solo, she became a successful model and TV show host. Her foray into acting landed her supporting roles in films, dramas and sitcoms, until she scored the role of Nanno in 2018.

Kitty told The STAR: “It’s a standard story of any actor and actress getting a role. This role was put on casting, and it went around Bangkok and Thailand. I always go for the scripts. But when I first read it, I felt like this is the first time in my life that I really wanted a role. And I tried my best. I was lucky enough that the team chose me.”

For her portrayal, Kitty admitted that she turned to Japanese manga characters for inspiration. “I have many, many references from Japanese manga characters. For example, I do have Junjie Ito of Tomie, I have L of Death Note, I have Enma Ai. I had Joker, I had Harley Quinn, I had so many like characters. And there’s also Johnny Depp. I actually enjoy his acting and how he would go from one character to other characters. So, I had many references, mixing them together and trying to find the right proportion for Nanno.”

She also revealed how she helped develop and create Nanno, inside-out.

Kitty said, “At first, Nanno was just this mystery, new girl. She didn’t have, like, her (signature) looks or anything yet. And we worked together as a team — the directors, the writers, the creators, the acting coaches. She was created from like, the whole team together.

“Like, we found the perfect length for her hair. In Thailand, normally, if you have long hair, you have to tie it up. So, we found the ideal length that you could just leave it there or tie it up. We found the perfect bangs, and then we started finding small parts of her character, habits and many of the things that the viewers or the fans like — how I kick the door, how I laugh, how I actually twirl my hair.

“It all just came randomly on set. It just happened and it got caught on camera. I mean, I don’t know how it happened, too. There were many, many times we were filming some scenes, and even I did not know what was going to happen.”

If you’re a Girl From Nowhere fan, you’ll know how some of Nanno’s quirks in Season 1 have spawned viral memes and parodies online, like her dance atop a school platform.

Then, there’s her laugh, easily downloadable now as a ringtone. Kitty said that she’s even been asked to do her unique laugh by random people.

“The first time we thought about this, I feel like, since she’s like a devil, and now she’s like trying to blend with the human society, human world, there must be something off about her. And I feel when she’s laughing, it’s like, ‘Seriously? Is this true? Is this real?’ Or you get, ‘What?!’ Or the you-guys-doing-things-like-that laugh? She doesn’t know how to laugh like a human being, like a fake one. So, every time she laughs, it’s like right from her heart, her soul, her bones, everything!” she explained.

“But, I won’t do that (here). Don’t ask me,” she quipped to the Filipino reporters.

As for Nanno’s signature move of stretching her arms into the air like she’s done for the day, Kitty unwittingly created it one day, on set. “The first time, it just happened out of nowhere. It was like I felt, ‘Okay, I’m done with the day, I need a little bit of stretching,’ and it was caught on camera. The directors liked it... So, after that, every time I feel like it’s been a bit of a rough day, but at least I’m done, Nanno would do that (makes stretching action), like yeah, let’s move on.”

Nanno’s meme-worthiness aside, the series has made an impact because it explores such serious themes as bullying, harassment, teenage pregnancy, etc., through the eyes of Nanno. It definitely doesn’t shy away from violent scenes, which might be too shocking for some audiences.

Asked about a scene or episode that came across as most shocking to her, Kitty said, “I think for all the episodes from the two seasons, it’s all shocking. And since we actually knew that these are from real events, that (the series is) inspired by true events (in Thailand), all of them are shocking. And the thing that haunts me most is that these kinds of events (happen) until like this moment, that there is someone going through those kinds of situations in their life, and it’s kind of sad to me.”

Despite having to figure in heavy or dark scenes, what made Kitty “stay sane and happy” during the shoot were the people on set. She likened filming for Season 2 to coming back to a family.

Kitty said, “It’s very, very different. I mean, together as the whole team, you’re kind of like a family and many times when you’re on set together, it’s funny. You’re doing something that doesn’t even make sense. But what people are watching, it’s a lot creepier and scarier. The only thing I hate about these things is cleaning myself up afterwards.”

Meanwhile, Kitty said that she and the team behind Girl From Nowhere didn’t expect Season 1’s success. That’s why Season 2 became a bigger challenge, knowing that they have to live up to audiences’ expectations.

“In the first season, we were just doing it for fun. We didn’t even expect that it would come this far or thought that people would actually like the show, the characters and everything. So the first time, we didn’t even know what we were doing (laughs). But this time, we’ve realized there’s a lot of love we’ve been getting for the series. So, we feel like, we shouldn’t betray viewers, our fans, and we are trying our best to surprise them and to make them feel that we’re still something that they might want to spend their time with again.”

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