Netflix has cast non-binary actor Mason Alexander Park for the role of Gren in the upcoming Cowboy Bebop live-action remake.
Gren is the right hand to Ana (Tamara Tunie), owner of the hottest underground jazz club on Mars. In the original series, Gren is subjected to experimental drugs that increased their estrogen and caused them to grow breasts. Their fluid sexual identity has since made them a fan-favourite among viewers, especially given the general lack of LGBTQ+ representation in anime.
“Revolutionary as the original anime was, the vocabulary we have today for LGBTQ+ people didn’t quite exist when it aired,” read a Netflix tweet on Thursday. “For the upcoming live action adaptation, the character is being reimagined as non-binary with a non-binary actor.”
Introducing Cowboy Bebop's Gren @MasonAPark 🚀 Revolutionary as the original anime was, the vocabulary we have today for LGBTQ+ people didn't quite exist when it aired. For the upcoming live action adaptation, the character is being reimagined as nonbinary with a nonbinary actor. pic.twitter.com/D6E4qC2Sgj
“I will be playing my favorite role from the anime, Gren, who is a sexy nonbinary icon,” Park said in a video posted on Netflix’s Twitter.
“Being a nonbinary actor who is given the opportunity to breathe new life into an existing nonbinary character has been the thrill of a lifetime,” they added. “It’s remarkably meaningful to me, because I didn’t grow up with a lot of gender-variant representation in the media.”
The live-action adaptation will star John Cho as Spike, with original director Shinichiro Watanabe consulting on the project. The series halted shooting in October last year, after Cho was injured on set and had to recover from surgery. It restarted shooting in New Zealand in July during the COVID-19 pandemic.