The Olsen sisters. The Hemsworth brothers. The Hadids. And now Sonoya Mizuno and her siblings.
All the celebs in the pantheon of famous siblings will need to move over and make room for the Mizunos. And it’s going to get crowded: There are six of them, and they like to stick together.
You saw Sonoya Mizuno walk down the aisle in Crazy Rich Asians and kick higher than the Hollywood sign in La La Land. She performed experiments in Maniac, disco fever-ed with Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina, and merged with Natalie Portman in Annihilation. At the corner of Broadway and Silicon Valley, you’ll find Sonoya, classically trained to dance the robot.
She’s currently starring in Devs, a sci-fi-thriller miniseries on Hulu and FX from writer-director Alex Garland, who also made Annihilation and Ex Machina. This is where the rest of the gang comes in—Mizuno’s sister Mariya worked on the set, too. And Mariya’s daughter. And one of Mizuno’s other sisters, Miya. Devs is a chilling, violent fever dream about the intersection of money and tech ambitions. But for the Mizuno sisters, the Devs set was a warm, women-powered family reunion.
There are six Mizuno siblings: Saya, Jinya, Mariya, Miya, Sonoya, and Tomoya. Four of the siblings—Mariya, Miya, Sonoya, and Tomoya—spoke to Glamour together from Tokyo, where they were visiting their father. The three women worked on Devs together; Sonoya as the lead, Miya as the on-set unit photographer, Mariya as the assistant director and liaison to Garland. Mariya’s five-year-old, Amaya, appears in the series playing the daughter of Sonoya’s costar, Nick Offerman.
“I was offered a role too, but I had to turn it down,” their brother Tomoya adds. His sisters laugh.
The Mizunos were born in Japan to a Japanese father and an Argentinian-British mother. As young children, they moved with their mother to the English countryside, not far from the sea. And like an alternate-dimension version of Little Women’s March family, each took up a passion or four. Saya was an artist. Jinya was an actor and musician. Mariya sang opera. Miya did crafting and gymnastics. Tomoya did ballet, rugby, and cricket. And Sonoya danced. She studied at London’s prestigious Royal Ballet School. She was pointy-toed and laser-focused.
“We each of us had our thing, our exercise,” Sonoya says. (Their father, thousands of miles away, was so aesthetically inclined that to this day his art-filled home is used for commercial photo shoots.) And just outside in the garden, or close by in the kitchen, their mother encouraged them to express themselves through art and movement. It was rural England in the 1980s, and they were a mixed-race family with a single mother. They say they weren’t exactly fighting off party invitations.
“It was actually quite hard to fit in at schools,” says Miya.
“We’re definitely kind of like a strange-looking family because we were six children, all half-Japanese, with a white mother, growing up in very rural Somerset, and it was very unusual for that time, or maybe even now, for there to be families like that,” says Sonoya. “We very much stuck together.”
So they painted. They danced. They sang arias. They cooked. Their mother died when they were still relatively young, and the older children helped parent the younger ones. Their childhood hobbies turned into adult professions, even as they had to take up side-hustles, one brother becoming a pest-control worker, the sisters taking on odd jobs. Eventually, it paid off.
“None of us work in investment banking,” Mariya jokes, summing up the Mizuno family destiny. “My mum used to make this joke that she had six children so she could have one dentist, one doctor, and one lawyer.”
“But we ended up being the same,” Maya says.
“Bummer!” jokes Sonoya.
Older sister Saya is a painter, designer, and landscape architect. Jinya is the head technician in an arts gallery. Tomoya is the head chef at a boutique hotel and a DJ. And the three younger sisters’ work—Sonoya’s acting, Miya’s photography, and Mariya’s AD work—is so closely tied that it led them to the same set for the high-concept, futuristic Devs.
A production still of Sonoya in Devs, taken by Miya
Being on set together “meant that someone always had your back, if you were having a bad day, one of your sisters would be there to catch you,” Mariya says. They ate lunch together. After long, grueling hours, they carpooled home together. During tired moments, Miya would show them still photographs she had taken. “We would celebrate together,” Miya says. When Sonoya had difficult scenes to film, she says, “it really was such a support having my sisters there because at the end of the day I know that I could just see their faces.” For her sisters, watching her do takes was difficult in its own way. Miya says she would have to remind herself, again and again, “It’s just TV! It’s not real!”
“There were days that I personally found very difficult,” says Sonoya. “But because the girls were there, my sisters were there, those days were much easier to handle.”
The sisters had also all worked on the set of Ex Machina, Garland’s movie with Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac that costarred Sonoya as an enigmatic servant. It was during that time that Mariya became pregnant with Amaya, who would go on not only to become the namesake for the eerie tech company at the heart of Devs, but also to act in the show. “It just added a bit more magic to it,” Sonoya says of coming to set to see her niece acting as her sisters looked on.
After the joyful experience of being on the Devs set, the sisters report that Amaya, is desperate to act again. Or maybe she’ll dance ballet, take up opera, try photography, or become a filmmaker herself. She has no end of excellent women role models. As for the sisters? They’re hoping to work together again soon. They’re grateful for their moments eating together, taking turns babysitting, even working long, painful hours.
“Devs has some heartbreaking moments in it, horrific moments and romantic moments,” says Mariya. “But if you’re watching it through your sister’s eyes and you know what she’s relating to, you know what’s happened in her life to make her get through that scene, it makes it extra emotional and far more poignant. It’s an extraordinary experience and—”
Her other sisters chime in: ”We’re really, really lucky.”
Jenny Singer is a staff writer for Glamour. You can follow her on Twitter.
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