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Shogun’ Star Reveals Why She Was Stopped From Auditioning for Suicide Squad

Shogun’ Star Reveals Why She Was Stopped From Auditioning for Suicide Squad


  • Shogun
    star Anna Sawai reveals why she was forced to miss out on a
    Suicide Squad
  • Sawai left FAKY in 2018 after role restrictions.
  • Sawai praises Karen Fukuhara’s Katana role in
    Suicide Squad
    , although admits she would have loved to audition for the part.

Shogun star, Anna Sawai, recently revealed the bizarre reason she was forced to miss an audition for David Ayer’s 2016 DCEU flick, Suicide Squad. The Japanese/New Zealend actress has established herself as a Hollywood mainstay in recent years after starring roles in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, Pachinko, Giri/Haji, F9, and, most recently, FX’s epic historical drama, Shogun. But Sawai revealed that she had an opportunity to kick-start her blockbuster career much sooner, but was forced to turn it down.

Speaking to THR, Anna Sawai reflected on her time as the former leader of the J-Pop group FAKY, and how the group’s overseeing company forbade the actress from auditioning for Suicide Squad.

“I was like, ‘This is my chance!’ And then I go to my manager and he’s like, ‘You can’t audition.’ They basically told me that if I’m gone for over a month, the girls [the other members of FAKY] are not going to have anything to do.”

Sawai said that she tried to persuade her bosses that the role would be beneficial to the group, bolstering their public image, but they were ultimately unconvinced.

“It felt like they were really tying me down. And, because of my contract, I couldn’t leave until the time that I actually left [in 2018].”

Sawai joined the group in 2013 as one of the founding members, after being a trainee in the Avex (a major Japanese entertainment company) bootcamp since 2006. Sawai described the cutthroat process, saying “you are either lucky and join a group, or debut as a solo singer, or you’re gone.” During her time under the training program, Anna Sawai was permitted a leave of absence to audition for, and ultimately star in the 2009 action film Ninja Assassin. Sawai said that was the role that made her fall in love with acting.

The role of Katana in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad ultimately went to Karen Fukahara, who superhero fans now know best as Kimiko in Prime Video’s The Boys. Despite losing the opportunity to audition, Sawai had nothing but praise for Fukuhara, saying:

“She did an amazing job, and I respect her so much, and I love her. But also, I would have loved to audition for it.”

The Growth of Anna Sawai’s Star-Power

Anna Sawai left FAKY in 2018 after her contract expired. A year later, she landed a supporting role in the globetrotting BBC drama Giri/Haji (alongside her future Shogun co-star Takehiro Hira). That role jolted her acting career to life, as Sawai’s next acting gig came in the form of F9: The Fast Saga, as Elle, the adopted daughter of Han.


Why This Actor Is the Unsung Hero of Shogun

Discover why Fumi Nikaido is the MVP of Shogun, Hulu’s historical adventure series.

Sawai then found a home for herself on AppleTV+, starring in the drama Pachinko, and later appearing in the epic kaiju series, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. While almost all of her acting roles have been in major franchises, it was earlier this year that Sawai truly broke out into the mainstream as a leading actress. The actress recently starred in FX’s critically adored samurai epic Shogun, as Toda Mariko. Sawai’s performance in Shogun has been described by critics as scene stealing, as the actress brings layers of depth and mystery to the translator (and love interest) of Cosmo Jarvis’ John Blakthorne.

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