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John Cho talks about the concerns that he was "too old" to play Spike Spiegel in 'Cowboy Bebop'. Learn what Cho brought to the character.

Is John Cho “too old” to play this character in ‘Cowboy Bebop’?

Come November, we’re going to jam in a big way. Why? Netflix is going to release its long-awaited live action adaptation of the beloved anime Cowboy Bebop. With an all-star cast that includes John Cho (Searching) and Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage), we’re living our best lives as we wait for the trailer and then the series to drop on the streaming service.

Now, however, there were apparently some concerns over Cho’s age. (Not that we heard, but apparently people had them.) The actor turned 49-years-old back in June of this year. To be honest, the man doesn’t look it at all and we are sincerely shook. Like the most shook. We are shooketh by this news. Genuinely did not know that Cho was almost fifty.

Spike Spiegel, who Cho is playing in the series, is supposed to be somewhere in his mid-20s, apparently. But who really knows with anime? Either way, what does John Cho think about all of this? Recently, the actor talked with Vulture about his on-set injury and the whole issue of if he’s “too old” to play Spike. (We don’t think so, but this isn’t about us.)

“Deadly seriously”

Cowboy Bebop had to be put on a filming hiatus. For once, however, it wasn’t entirely COVID’s fault! We know. It’s shocking to hear in the year 2021, but here we are. Cho tour his ACL due to a “freak injury” while on the set of Cowboy Bebop, which put the production to a halt. Cho said, “It was real wonky. We had been shooting all night, and I was doing kind of an athletic move as the sun was coming up.”

The actor added that it was just so sudden, “It was probably a lack of sleep. Just a little move and [I was down] . . . Then you have your surgery and you go into rehab. I’m at home doing these knee exercises, and coming off the drugs, I was thinking about Cowboy Bebop.” Cho added that while doing PT with his knee, he was thinking about the cast & crew of the series.

“I felt very guilty that I had let the production down, and my cast, and the crew in New Zealand that had had a job, and then they didn’t the next day. And I didn’t feel that I could come back and half-ass this role. I had to take it deadly seriously.” It certainly looks like he did! Cho finished his rehab and when the series was good-to-go back to filming, he and everyone did the thing.

How to play Spike Spiegel

Apparently, Cho was the one who was concerned that he was “too old” to play the character of Spike on Cowboy Bebop. He said that playing a character who is half his age also forced him to change his approach. The way 49-year-old John Cho tackles the character is different from 20 years ago. He said, “I knew people were gonna have issues with my age. And I had to get over it.”

Even so, Cho feels that he’s “better suited” at 49 to play Spike than he would have been as a younger man. Why? Well, he feels like his age allows him to have a greater emotional depth to place into the character. “What young men are typically best at as actors is rage. And that might’ve been a more pronounced element in the character.” 

Instead, Cho wanted to bring some vulnerability to Spike, which he feels comes easier the older you get. The actor said, “What I’m better at, being older, is showing weakness and vulnerability and love. Those things are more accessible to me.” Even so, he feels like he’s “never taken a role more seriously” in his life. Based on the pictures? He looks good. We’re ready for this.

Cowboy Bebop hits Netflix on Friday, November 19th. 

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