Rina Sawayama’s Music Videos for ‘XS’ and ‘Bad Friend’ Got Her Cast in ‘John Wick 4’
Later this month Rina Sawayama will make her film debut in John Wick 4 alongside Keanu Reeves and the musician says she used her own videos as a resume. Appearing on The Tonight Show, Sawayama told host Jimmy Fallon that being cast as Akira in the sequel was a “Hollywood miracle.”
“I had just finished writing my second album,” she explained. “Not fully, but the bulk of it. And I was having a creative block before that, so it was amazing that I managed to write most of it in two months. And never in my schedule have I had a couple months free, but because I finished that block of work there was a couple months free after that. And then I just randomly get a call from Chad Stahelski.”
Although she was perplexed about why the director would want to speak with her, Sawayama took the call, during which Stahelski offered her a role in the film. He added that he and Reeves had watched her music videos for “XS” and “Bad Friend.”
“I co-direct some of my videos and I write some of my videos as well,” Sawayama continued, describing her clip for “XS” where she plays a robot. “I wrote into my videos the fact that I’ll be acting as a character… Honestly I was thinking, ‘You know what? If I’ve got this budget to do a music video, I’m also going to make it my acting portfolio.’ And it worked!”
In the film, Sawayama plays the daughter of Shimazu Koji (Hiroyuki Sanada) and shows off her impressive fighting skills and stunts. The musician trained for five weeks ahead of production, but threw her back out on the first day. By the end, though, she was hooked.
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“I would love to do more,” Sawayama told Fallon. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I would love to do more.”
Sawayama’s second album, Hold the Girl, arrived last fall. Last weekend, the singer headlined Elton John’s annual Oscars party, which raises money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.