Netflix’s highly anticipated action film Kate is out September 10. Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the titular role, the film also features Woody Harrelson, Miku Patricia Martineau, and Miyavi. The film is directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who ComingSoon was able to chat with ahead of the film’s release.
“Meticulous and preternaturally skilled, Kate is the perfect specimen of a finely tuned assassin at the height of her game,” says the official synopsis of Kate. “But when she uncharacteristically blows an assignment targeting a member of the yakuza in Tokyo, she quickly discovers she’s been poisoned, a brutally slow execution that gives her less than 24 hours to exact revenge on her killers. As her body swiftly deteriorates, Kate forms an unlikely bond with the teenage daughter of one of her past victims.”
ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Kate director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan about the action flick, working with Woody Harrelson and Miyavi, and how anime had an impact on the film.
Tyler Treese: Woody Harrelson, what a great performance by him. He’s such a versatile actor and I thought he fit this role so well. Could you just speak to his performance?
Cedric Nicolas-Troyan: So Woody was like, when we were talking about the character of Varrick, we were looking for someone that’s going to embody warmth, but also can turn on a dime. Someone that can be like, you want to hug that person, but then the next minute you’re like, oh no, that guy is actually scary. Woody is just right there, top of the list because he has all those. He has made all those performances where you just kind of love the guy, like, oh, this guy is the coolest, and then all of a sudden you’re like, hold on, wait, what, he might be scary actually. It can turn like that.
He modulates his performance and those looks and those things. He does the smile and then he turns into a look and you’re like, oh. It brings a swagger, and also one thing that is really cool with Woody is that he loves playing. So when I was saying, “Okay, let’s play a little bit on that line. Let’s improv a little bit on this.” He was always up for it. So he brings that swagger and this and that kind of attitude to the film. I wanted to have that rock and roll attitude to have that swagger. So, he brings that all the time and he’s fun.
I saw that you mentioned that you’re a big fan of anime and Hayao Miyazaki as is an influence on your overall work. We see Tokyo Ghoul in one scene, but I’d love to know how anime really influenced this film and the style of Kate?
Yes, absolutely. I grew up with Japanese culture like Grendizer and [Message from Space:] Galactic Wars. All of that was big deals in France. So I was really drawn into that kind of anime culture very, very young and to this day my son is very much into it, so I never really kind of gave up. So that was a big part of the design and the look.
I wanted to find something that was connecting, and that’s why Tokyo Ghoul is in the film because I was looking for a connection with Kate and with the [Ken] Kaneki character has that connection. So to create those images that people who are [fans] of that kind of style, can be like, “oh yeah,” and they know why. People that don’t know Tokyo Ghoul, they’re going to be like, oh, it’s just a cartoon on the building. But people that know they’re going to be like, oh, I can see why Kaneki and Kate are together. Actually, I wrote a letter to the creator of Tokyo Ghoul to ask him to put it in the movie.
Awesome. The casting is just so inspired all around. I loved Miyavi’s role. What led to the samurai guitarist being brought into this film?
Well, Miyavi, he’s like he has that kind of striking look. He’s just so charismatic and I’d seen him in Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, and he was reminding me of the Ryusuke Sakamoto character in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, and I thought it was like he had that really great presence. Then he has this amazing look, you know? So when it was about who is going to play Jojima, Jojima is the only person in the film that beats the crap out of Kate and literally should have win the fight [against Kate].
I wanted that one scene to have someone that you just kind of like, wow, and a friend of mine, Mr. Hide, who is a Japanese director, we were talking about him and he happened to be friends with him and he’s like, “Oh, you know, you should totally get him,” and he texted Miyavi and then Miyavi came to audition for me when I was in Tokyo. Right away, it was great. I’m so blessed he accepted to do the movie. He thought, “Yeah, that’s kind of fun. I never did that. Let’s do this,” and he just came in like, bam. He’s amazing.