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INTERVIEW – ‘Bullet Train’ Star Hiroyuki Sanada

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Sony Pictures’ awesomely violent stylized blockbuster Bullet Train is adapted from the Japanese novel MariaBeetle by Kōtarō Isaka. While the adaptation switched out the Japanese characters from the source material in favor of a more international cast, one of the major characters, The Elder, remained Japanese, played by the always engaging Hiroyuki Sanada.

Last week, in advance of Bullet Train’s release, Sanada was the guest of honor at a special screening for the film at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in Los Angeles, CA. It’s always special when a film’s star has the opportunity to speak and screen the film for their community, and especially considering the Japanese source material, it was great to have the guests of the JACCC be given the opportunity to watch Bullet Train early.

Eli Johnson had the opportunity to attend the wonderful event on behalf of POC Culture, and speak with Sanada on the red carpet prior to the start of the screening. Sanada talked about the interesting backstories that all of the characters have in the film, how he personally related to his character and also looked back on how film, especially action scenes, have evolved over the course of his luminous career.

Check out Eli’s conversation with Sanada below:

Red Carpet Interview with Hiroyuki Sanada

Once the screening event started, Sanada was brought on stage for a special Q&A with Japanese American news anchor, David Ono. Sanada and Ono talked about how the film came together, Sanada’s experience with director David Leitch and working with fellow Japanese star Andrew Koji. Sanada mentioned that working with Koji, he felt an immediate familiarity, as if they’ve known each other a long time. The two had such great chemistry that they called each other the Japanese words for “father” and “son” even outside of shooting.

Watch the full length Q&A between Sanada and Ono below and be sure to check out Bullet Train in theaters now!

Bullet Train Q&A with Hiroyuki Sanada and David Ono

In Bullet Train, Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, an unlucky assassin determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs gone off the rails. Fate, however, may have other plans, as Ladybug’s latest mission puts him on a collision course with lethal adversaries from around the globe – all with connected, yet conflicting, objectives – on the world’s fastest train…and he’s got to figure out how to get off. From the director of Deadpool 2, David Leitch, the end of the line is only the beginning in a wild, non-stop thrill ride through modern-day Japan.


Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture.  He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.

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