Cowboy Bebop stars John Cho (Spike Spiegel), Mustafa Shakir (Jet Black) and Daniella Pineda (Faye Valentine) joined Rolling Stone on Twitch for an in-depth interview just hours before the series — a live-action adaptation of the late-Nineties anime classic — premiered on Netflix. The members of the Bebop crew discussed the differences between the new series and the original, the diversity of the cast, how they approached their characters, and the importance of music to the show’s overall vibe. The full interview can be viewed below:
Cho, Shakir, and Pineda said that the script, scene work, and comedic elements all underwent changes to make Cowboy Bebop translate to a 3D world and fit each actor’s vision for their character. “It was important to get the blueprint of the character, but also, I was hired, so it’s my interpretation of that character,” Pineda explained. “And also, if we were to perform like the anime, you’d have to stay in a face for, like, a long shot. I mean, there’s just some things in live action you have to make more human.”
Representation within the cast was also key. As Cho put it, “I don’t know what race anyone is supposed to be in the anime anyway, but I was encouraged by the fact that this vision of the future was definitely going to be multiethnic, multiracial, multicultural. So that was a cool sign.”
Cho also identified the series’ score as essential to its success, offering high praise for legendary composer Yoko Kanno, who also created music for the original Cowboy Bebop: “I just think that she’s so idiosyncratic, so original, and her choices are just counter to most choices that a music supervisor would make. […] She kind of defines what the scenes are from moment to moment. You’re watching one thing, but you’re hearing the meaning, the real meaning, through her music.”
For the new iteration, Kanno delivered a number of new and reworked tracks, including “Julia’s Song,” as seen in the exclusive look below.
Cowboy Bebop is available to stream now on Netflix.