Cowboy Bebop Star Explains How He Approached Vicious

This week marks the premiere of Netflix's Cowboy Bebop, a live-action adaptation of the popular anime of the same name. Like the anime, the new series follows the crew of the Bebop as they travel across space to collect bounties -- but it is far from a glamorous life. Along with money being tight and the threats that come from being a bounty hunter in outer space, there is also The Syndicate, a criminal group that is tied to protagonist Spike (John Cho)'s dark past.

Leading The Syndicate is Vicious, a sword-wielding killer who shows no mercy to anyone -- even his own subordinates. He also holds a grudge against Spike, which does not bode well for the crew of the Bebop. In the live-action series, Alex Hassell, who attended the red carpet premiere of the first episode on November 11, portrays the villain. CBR had the pleasure of speaking with him about his take on Vicious and his time working on Cowboy Bebop.

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CBR: What makes Vicious such a great villain?

Alex Hassell: He's really violent.

What about Cowboy Bebop appealed to you when it came to coming onto this project?

I think the scripts and the original animation. The characters are so amazing. The world is such an amazingly built world. It's so intriguing and the genre-blending nature of it -- the Western aspect, the Kung Fu aspect, the noir, and the gangster parts. How could you resist?

When it comes to the genre-blending, what was it like playing in that type of setting where you have a noir, sci-fi, and western elements all in one? 

It was really cool. It was an interesting thing, trying to work out the tone that we should play. Our storyline is particularly this big, Gothic, Greek tragedy type of drama. It was interesting to try to figure it out.

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Looking back at the original anime, why do you think that story still resonates with people so much decades after it's come out?

I think part of it is about existential questioning and wondering what your place in the world is. I suppose that doesn't go away. I think that's something that continues to resonate with so many people.

What are you looking forward to for when audiences see Cowboy Bebop?

I'm really looking forward to getting what they desire from the anime part of it, but also something new and something different, and to be surprised.

Cowboy Bebop hits Netflix Nov. 19.

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Caitlin Chappell (510 Articles Published)

Caitlin Sinclair Chappell is a writer turned editor at CBR. What started as a love for comics, film and television turned into a career after graduating with honors from Lewis & Clark College. Along with her work for CBR, she edits the in-development comic series Half-Dragon, and she read her short story, "The Kabbalist and the Golem," at the 2021 National Queer Arts Festival. Beyond writing and editing, she was the Film School Director at River Way Ranch Camp and the Assistant Director on the play Famous. She can be contacted at [email protected], and her social is @comiccookbook.

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