Otaku USA Magazine
John Cho Talks Live-Action Cowboy Bebop Work and Fears

The cast of Cowboy Bebop

The live-action Cowboy Bebop hits Netflix on November 19, and there have just been two big reveals. One is that Titan Comics is coming out with a comic book series adaptation of the Netflix show and a prequel novel. The other is a big interview John Cho, star of the series, gave to Vulture about playing Spike Spiegel.

Cho says this was the most physically demanding role he’s done, and he accidentally hurt himself on set and needed to get surgery and rehab.

On whether he was a fan of the original Cowboy Bebop anime, Cho said, “The first thing I read and fell in love with was our episode-one script, which I thought was really brilliant, and I thought, what the hell is this? And then I investigated the anime and just thought this was the most unique piece of entertainment I had seen in a long time: the combination of genres, characters, the music. I called Aneesh Chaganty, who directed Searching, to talk about it. ‘Are you aware of a show called Cowboy Bebop? I’ve got this offer to do an adaptation of this anime.’ I remember him telling me: ‘You have to do it.’”

He talked about his work in rehab, and his intimidation of people’s reactions after his hard work. He knows live-action anime adaptations don’t have a great track record. “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. So I think that’s also fueling my fear. [Laughs.] . . . . But the amount of thought and worry and effort and number of days I’ve logged thinking about Spike is now equaling the fear I have about the reaction.”

Talking about being older than the character, he remarked, “First of all, I couldn’t have done it when I was 27. I mean, maybe I would’ve been better suited athletically, but in terms of my discipline, 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.”

Looking back at Titan Comics, the comic series will be written and illustrated by Dan Watters and Lamar Mathurin, respectively. The prequel novel, Cowboy Bebop: A Syndicate Story: Red Planet Requiem, has been penned by Sean Cummings. The comics will begin coming out in December and the novel will come out in November.

Sources: Vulture, ANN


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.