Rina Sawayama makes her film debut: Who is she starring alongside?
Most people’s big screen debuts are in small, independent movies, surrounded by like-minded aspiring actors. If there’s a “name” among the cast, it’s usually an A-lister paying back a favor with a cameo, or a disgraced former star who has to pay the bills somehow. But then there are people like Rina Sawayama, whose first feature film experience will be in John Wick: Chapter 4. A completely different ballgame.
It’s hard to imagine the pressure of having your big Hollywood entrance take place alongside Keanu Reeves in the fourth installment of a wildly successful franchise. Then again, the excitement & fun that come with such a gig probably makes up for it. And it’s not as if Rina Sawayama is a stranger to show business anyway. The singer/model has already cultivated an impressive following over the past few years.
The road to Wick
Rina Sawayama has been performing since she was a teenager, releasing her first single “Sleeping in Waking” in 2013. The Japanese-British singer-songwriter continued to put out songs throughout the years, building up to the 2017 release of her first EP Rina. The extended play was received with positive reviews from outlets such as The Guardian & Pitchfork.
Pitchfork, in fact, ranked Rina in its list of best pop & R&B albums of the year – an auspicious beginning to the next phase in Rina Sawayama’s musical career. The musician released several other singles as she prepared to go on her first tour: 2018’s Ordinary Superstar Tour across the UK, the U.S., and Canada. The stage was set for Rina Sawayama to release an actual album.
That album came in 2020, after Rina Sawayama was signed by Dirty Records. Sawayama dropped on April 17th, and gathered acclaim all over the industry. The singer had officially reached stardom – an accomplishment made the clearest when her inability to be nominated for British music awards (due to not being a citizen) spurred an online protest that was eventually supported by none other than Elton John.
It would be unfair to delve into Rina Sawayama’s John Wick casting without acknowledging her previous acting endeavors. That’s right, Rina Sawayama has acted before, even though it wasn’t in a feature film. The popular musician played Layla Valentine in two episodes of the short-lived Netflix show Turn Up Charlie. You know, the one where Idris Elba was a DJ moonlighting as a nanny.
Now, if you were to guess which cast member from Turn Up Charlie would end up in a John Wick movie, nobody would blame you for assuming it would be Idris Elba. But Rina Sawayama seems to have beaten Elba (and other Turn Up costars like Piper Perabo & Frankie Hervey) to that honor. Few details are known about Sawayama’s upcoming role in the John Wick sequel, but we imagine it’s a role tailored to her strengths.
John Wick: Chapter 4 director Chad Stahelski expressed satisfaction with the casting: “I’m so glad to have Rina on board to make her feature film debut in John Wick: Chapter 4. She’s an incredible talent who’ll bring much to the film.” Will she sing? She’s gotta sing in the movie, right?
While details of Rina Sawayama’s role in John Wick: Chapter 4 are being kept under lock & key, we do know the movie is expected to start production this summer. The shoot is planned to spread across France, Germany, and Japan. COVID-19 restrictions? What are those?
And even though John Wick: Chapter 4 has a tentative release date of May 27th, 2022, Rina Sawayama fans will get a chance to see her much sooner than that. The singer’s planning a world tour later this year, starting in November. Will she have Keanu Reeves join her on stage on some dates? Wouldn’t that be something!
Are you excited about Rina Sawayama’s Hollywood debut? Are you familiar with her music? Or how about her role in Turn Up Charlie? Let us know in the comments!