John Cho revealed that the producers of Cowboy Bebop thought of replacing him with a CG double with after he sustained an injury whiling Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the cult Japanese anime. 

In 2019, while shooting Cowboy Bebop in New Zealand, Cho seriously injured his knee during “the last take of a routine and well-rehearsed scene”, which required surgery. He was reportedly flown back to LA and production was subsequently shut down for 7-9 months to allow Cho to undergo “extensive rehabilitation”. In an August 2021 interview with Vulture, Cho, 49, shared more details of the incident: he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during a night shoot.

Speaking on The Late Late Show with James Corden on Wednesday (Nov 17), Cho — who plays wisecracking bounty hunter Spike Spiegel on Cowboy Bebop — said, “We were exploring other scenarios. They were talking about maybe doing The Irishman face thing.”

Actually, he was talking more like having his mug someone else’s body a la The Social Network. But going down that path would be costly, so they came up with a cheaper alternative. “We talked about maybe sitting on a stool while shooting me from the waist up, but they decide this is dangerous,” Cho said, with a laugh.

While recovering, Cho never stopped thinking about his character. “I’m at home doing these knee exercises, coming off the drugs, and I was thinking about Cowboy Bebop. Every day,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever thought about a single role more.”

All in all, Cho spent almost a year recuperating. He told Corden, “I’m supposed to be done with [physical therapy],” he explained. “I’m supposed to be 100 per cent — don’t test me. But, yeah, we finished out the season with the new knee, the surgically repaired knee, and so far, so good.”

Last week, while speaking to a panel of journos in Zoom conference (which sat in as well), Cho didn’t say much about his injury. Come to think of it, no one actually asked him about it, including this writer, which was odd. 

He did, however, dish about his character’s luscious locks which, by the way, is real, and not a wig. 

The hair was a “constant issue,” he joked (we think), “It wanted to do its own thing and it won’t listen to me — it’s very disobedient.”

Watch John's interview on The Late Late Show here:

Cowboy Bebop is now streaming on Netflix.

Photo: TPG News/Click Photos