Hollywood has attempted several times to cash in on the phenomenal international appeal of Japanese anime by adapting some popular stories into live-action film. The results are a true mixed bag. One might be maligned despite the serious treatment like “Ghost in the Shell,” another might not even try like “Dragonball Evolution.” Still others might hit big like the recent “Battle Angel Alita.” One dream adaptation for Hollywood is the west-popular series “Cowboy Bebop.” An initial development involving Keanu Reeves eventually fell through, with streaming giant Netflix picking up the challenge. At the latest, they even got their male lead.
As The Verge tells it, Netlfix may have finally rounded out their main cast for their streaming series live-action take on “Cowboy Bebop,” a 1998 anime series created by Shinichiro Watanabe and Keiko Nobumoto. Their latest casting is Korean American actor John Cho to play the role of Spike Spiegel, the central character of the story’s narrative. Cho is perhaps easily known for having played Starfleet office Hikaru Sulu in the J.J. Abrams “Star Trek” movies. His name now joins a confirmed cast list with the likes of Mustafa Shakir, Daniella Pineda, and Alex Hassell.
The source anime is arguably one of the most popular examples of the Japanese medium, and a pillar of the genre if Western, primarily American, fans are asked. “Cowboy Bebop” is a space opera taking place across the 2071 AD Solar System, where mankind has departed from an Earth devastated by atmospheric catastrophe from a hyperspace gate accident. With the far-flung human settlements on planets, moons, asteroids and artificial colonies suffering crime rates reminiscent of the Wild West, police have legalized bounty hunting to help catch dangerous outlaws. The main cast is a bounty hunting group based aboard the spaceship “Bebop,” pursuing criminal bounties like cowboys while fleeing, and possibly confronting, their respective dark pasts.
John Cho’s Spike Spiegel is the main bounty hunter on the “Bebop,” a “space cowboy” burdened by his past as a mafia hit-man. His associates include ex-space cop Jet Black (to be played by Mustafa Shakir) and seductive con artist Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda). Meanwhile, Alex Hassel is cast as Spike’s friend-turned-nemesis mob boss Vicious. Behind the camera, two-time “Thor” screenwriter for the MCU Christopher Yost is scripting the first two of 10 episodes in the Netflix series. Original “Cowboy Bebop” director Shinichiro Watanabe is also on hand as a consultant.
Netflix has yet to decide on an official release date.
Image courtesy of MTV.com