Cowboy Bebop Star John Cho Hadn't Heard of the Anime Before Netflix Offered Him the Role

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John Cho is playing Spike Spiegel in Netflix's live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop, but when he was first offered the role, he had never heard of the popular anime series it's based from.

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Credit: Netflix
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Speaking to Vulture, Cho said, "I didn't know it. The first thing I read and fell in love with was our episode 1 script, which I thought was really brilliant. 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," Cho said. "'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.' I didn't realize what a big deal it was."

After that, Cho devoured the genre-defying neo-noir anime series. "When I watched the anime, I was like, I wish I could have invented this," Cho added. "This is tremendous. It's really interesting and smart and funny, and it's all the things I wanna make. All the characters are coming from places of loss, and there are a lot of defense mechanisms to deal with that sense of loss that informs the whole show."

Cowboy Bebop Netflix
Credit: Netflix
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Created by Sunrise Inc. Cowboy Bebop ran as a 26-episode limited anime series in 1999, and a full-length theatrical film was released in 2001. Cho's character, Spike, is an iconic space cowboy who's joined by a grizzled ex-cop named Jet Black; the con artist, Faye Valentine; the teenage hacker, Edward, and a corgi with enhanced abilities, Ein.

Cho also recently addressed fans' concerns about his age since the character he's portraying is much younger than him.

Netflix's Cowboy Bebop is set to release on November 19, 2021. For more details about the series, check out everything you need to know about it here, and don't forget to follow our Netflix Rocks My World page on Facebook for the latest updates.