John Cho on Training for Cowboy Bebop Live-Action Series on Netflix - VRGyani News and Media

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Monday, August 30, 2021

John Cho on Training for Cowboy Bebop Live-Action Series on Netflix

As anime fans ramp up for Netflix's live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop, based on the hit Japanese anime of the same name, many look forward to the performance of John Cho as bounty hunter Spike Spiegel, the series’ talented and deadly protagonist. With high hopes resting on his shoulders, the Star Trek actor spoke to Vulture about his work on the series, describing it as something that challenged, excited, and scared him in equal measure.

Shooting Cowboy Bebop was no easy task, particularly not for an actor who had never performed in such a physically demanding role. Cho revealed to Vulture that he tore his ACL while shooting, an injury that left him in physical therapy for months afterward, stalling production on the series:

“It was real wonky. We had been shooting all night, and I was doing kind of an athletic move as the sun was coming up. It was probably a lack of sleep. Just a little move and [I was down]...Then you have your surgery and you go into rehab. I’m at home doing these knee exercises, and coming off the drugs, I was thinking about Cowboy Bebop. Doing those knee exercises, I was like, I gotta put my focus into this...I felt very guilty that I had let the production down, and my cast, and the crew in New Zealand that had had a job, and then they didn’t the next day. And I didn’t feel that I could come back and half-ass this role. I had to take it deadly seriously.”

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And take it deadly seriously, he did. Even coming off of a major injury, Cho dedicated everything he had to his performance, and hasn’t “ever taken a role more seriously” than that of Spike. Despite not being familiar with the original source material — he fell in love based only on the first episode’s script — he knows that he’s improved his craft, no matter whether fans of the original anime see his performance as a failure or a success.

Cho also describes Spike as certainly the most physically demanding role he’s ever played, something that taught him how important physical training (and training in general) is to a performance. As opposed to the “muse” of his youth, Cho reveals that Bebop taught him that acting is “more banal and harder than that," a process which he describes as just drilling the material “until it’s muscle memory."

At 49, Cho is almost twice the age of his character in the original anime, but that isn’t stopping him — he even considers his age an advantage:

“I am strangely better suited at this age. I don’t think I would’ve done justice to the emotional depth we tried to give Spike. There’s always a trade-off. What young men are typically best at as actors is rage. And that might’ve been a more pronounced element in the character. What I’m better at, being older, is showing weakness and vulnerability and love. Those things are more accessible to me. Personally, I’d prefer the version I’m able to do now. That’s my taste.”

Cowboy Bebop also stars Mustafa Shakir, Daniella Pineda, and Alex Hassell, with episodes directed by Alex Garcia Lopez and Michael Katleman. Developed by André Nemec and Jeff Pinkner and written by Christopher Yost, the ten-episode live-action series is set to premiere on Netflix on November 19.

KEEP READING: ‘Cowboy Bebop’ Live-Action Netflix Series Gets Release Date



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