Cowboy Bebop live-action series officially makes anime character Gren nonbinary
Mason Alexander Park will play "the Bowie-esque embodiment of 22nd century handsome and seductive beauty."
Netflix revealed the latest round of casting for the live-action Cowboy Bebop series, inspired by the anime, and in doing so offered an official update on one of the characters.
In the original anime, Grencia Mars Elijah Guo Eckener, nicknamed Gren, was a veteran of the Titan War who played saxophone at the club known as the Rooster House. An experimental drug caused Gren to grow breasts, and the character would become known as one of the more recognized LGBTQ depictions in anime at the time.
"Revolutionary as the original anime was, the vocabulary we have today for LGBTQ+ people didn't quite exist when it aired," reads a tweet from Netflix. "For the upcoming live action adaptation, the character is being reimagined as nonbinary with a nonbinary actor."
Mason Alexander Park of the National Broadway Tour of Hedwig and the Angry Inch will portray Gren, both identifying with they/them pronouns. Ana (Tamara Tunie) is the "cool and intense" owner of "the hottest underground bluesy jazz club on Mars," and Gren is her right hand, according to official character descriptions. Gren runs the front of the house for Ana’s jazz club. "As capable with their wit as a glock, as confident in a dress as a suit, they are a Bowie-esque embodiment of 22nd century handsome and seductive beauty."
Park calls Gren their favorite character from the anime and "a sexy nonbinary icon." "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 said in a video. "It's remarkably meaningful to me because I didn't grow up with a lot of gender-variant representation in the media. There weren't a lot of other characters that spoke to my experience with gender or my experience with queerness, and representation matters."
Other new additions to Cowboy Bebop beyond Park and Tunie are Geoff Stults (Little Fires Everywhere) as Chalmers, Jet Black's (Mustafa Shakir) former co-detective in the ISSP's Homicide Division; Rachel House (Thor: Ragnarok) as Mao, the Capo of the Syndicate's White Tigers family; and Ann Truong (Strikeback!) and Hoa Xuande (Top of the Lake) as Shin & Lin, the twin Syndicate henchmen of hitman Vicious (Alex Hassell).
John Cho was previously announced as Spike Spiegel, the "cowboy" bounty hunter traveling the solar system with ex-cop Jet in search of dangerous bounties. André Nemec and Jeff Pinkner serve as showrunners on the series.