Home / Entertainment / ‘Cowboy Bebop’ showrunner André Nemec was ‘terrified’ about adapting the beloved anime

“I was terrified!” says Cowboy Bebop showrunner André Nemec when asked what it was like to take on the live-action adaptation of the beloved cult classic anime.

“I was already a fan of (the anime) Cowboy Bebop. It is hallowed ground! Taking it on meant finding a team of writers, and crew that also had a love and reverence for the material,” he recalled during a virtual one on one interview with StarLifestyle.

“We were constantly checking in on each other about ‘is this Bebop?’ Have we ‘Bebop-ed’ this moment enough? Is that club really Bebop worthy? And it was something we all desired to do, which turned ‘terrifying’ into a real joy.”

But what exactly is this ‘Bebop feeling’ Nemec is talking about?

“For me, Cowboy Bebop is a mash-up. When doing the forensic an

‘Cowboy Bebop’ showrunner André Nemec was ‘terrified’ about adapting the beloved anime

“I was terrified!” says Cowboy Bebop showrunner André Nemec when asked what it was like to take on the live-action adaptation of the beloved cult classic anime.

“I was already a fan of (the anime) Cowboy Bebop. It is hallowed ground! Taking it on meant finding a team of writers, and crew that also had a love and reverence for the material,” he recalled during a virtual one on one interview with StarLifestyle.

“We were constantly checking in on each other about ‘is this Bebop?’ Have we ‘Bebop-ed’ this moment enough? Is that club really Bebop worthy? And it was something we all desired to do, which turned ‘terrifying’ into a real joy.”

But what exactly is this ‘Bebop feeling’ Nemec is talking about?

“For me, Cowboy Bebop is a mash-up. When doing the forensic analysis of the anime, nothing ever seemed like it was one idea. That’s how I categorise the Bebop-ness of it all. It is a Western, it is a Noir, but is also a sci-fi and a buddy cop show, it’s got this jazz underbelly to it, so it’s always this combination of things,” he explained.

Nemec says Cho 'owned' the role of Spike Spiegel as soon as he put the iconic blue suit on.Nemec says Cho ‘owned’ the role of Spike Spiegel as soon as he put the iconic blue suit on.

Now streaming on Netflix, the show is based on the hit 1998 anime of the same name, which ran for 26 episodes in total. Like the original, the live-action adaptation is set in 2071 and follows a group of bounty hunters (known as ‘cowboys’ in the show) who live on a spaceship called the Bebop.

At first, the group comprises just Spike Spiegel (John Cho) and Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir), but later on adds Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda) and a Corgi named Ein (one other regular crew member in the anime, prodigy hacker Radical Ed, is not part of the regular cast in Season One of the show).

As we follow the crew while it takes on various bounties, there is also an ongoing storyline involving Spike’s past and a gangster named Vicious (Alex Hassell).

Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine.Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine.

There were a few things Nemec felt he absolutely could not get wrong about his show, one of which was the titular ship, The Bebop.

“There were 700 things I could not get wrong! The Bebop felt very important in terms of that space, that set and that ship. The blue suit (worn by lead character Spike Spiegel) was another thing we had to get right, and the yellow couch,” he recalled.

“You’ll know when you watch it what was important to get right, because we framed it, lit it, and lensed it like the anime. These were important moments, moments that touched me when I watched the anime, and it was important to mine those moments.

“If you had seen the anime, you would remember this feeling. And if you hadn’t, we were giving you an opportunity to get a taste of the anime, even though you hadn’t seen it!”

Speaking of the blue suit, Nemec said that Cho ‘owned’ the role as soon as he put it on. “Watching him when he put that blue suit on, I could see and feel the change he was making. The way he leaned, the way he put his hands in the pockets, the body language – he was living in it, he was owning it! He worked pretty hard on the stunt work as well,” he said.

According to Nemec, the live action series was never meant to be a 100% recreation of the anime.According to Nemec, the live action series was never meant to be a 100% recreation of the anime.

According to Nemec, the live action series was never meant to be a 100% recreation of the anime.

“As a fan of the anime, that’s not what I would want to see. I could just watch the anime if I wanted to see those stories,” he said. “I wanted to see what are the ongoing adventures of Jet and Spike and Faye and simultaneously pay tribute to what people remember from the anime itself.

“That’s not really a continuation or a recreation or a reinvention. Even in what we made, we kind of made a mashup of ideas in what it is we were chasing but a lot of it was using the anime as a North Star for a lot of our storytelling.

“So, If you had seen the anime, you would remember this feeling. And if you hadn’t, we were giving you an opportunity to get a taste of the anime, even though you hadn’t seen it.

Cowboy Bebop is now streaming on Netflix



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