When it was announced that John Cho has been cast in the lead role of Spike Spiegel in Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the cult classic anime Cowboy Bebop, fans weren’t too thrilled that a then 46-year-old Cho, not a younger actor, would be playing the 27-year-old badass intergalactic bounty hunter.
Cho is aware of their concerns. In fact, he was the first one to agree with his detractors.
Speaking to Vulture, the Searching star said, “The biggest fear that I had was I was too old. I knew people were gonna have issues with my age. And I had to get over it.”
For Cho, the chance to star in Cowboy Bebop was too good to refuse. After all, how often do Asians get offered a leading role in a mainstream Hollywood project?
“I’m not a person who says age is just a number or whatever. It was gonna be harder — physically. And I was gonna look different than a 25-year-old guy,” Cho added. “At some point, the opportunity is ‘Yes or no — do you wanna do it?’ And I did wanna do it. So I wasn’t gonna stop myself from doing it.”
That said, even if Cho were in his 20s now doesn’t mean he is better suited to play Spiegel.
“I mean, maybe I would’ve been better suited athletically, but in terms of my discipline, I am strangely better suited at this age,” he explained.
“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 premieres on Netflix on Nov 19.
Photo: Nicola Dove/Netflix