After the COVID-19 pandemic shouted you shall not pass to the productions for Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings TV series and Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop, both are set to get back to business this week. Filming for Amazon’s LOTR series is already back in action while production for Cowboy Bebop is expected to restart this Wednesday. Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth resumed on September 14, making New Zealand a hotbed of activity for shows looking to make a splash sometime next year.
Production for The Lord of the Rings was close to wrapping its first two episodes when operations were halted in mid-March due to the alarming rate at which COVID-19 was sweeping across the globe. As it happens, the COVID shutdown failed to trip Amazon’s LOTR series up to any great extent seeing as the show was already prepping for a 4-5-month hiatus after filming the first two episodes. Why? Well, Winter was coming for New Zealand, which would have made filming quite difficult indeed. Smartly, the writing team of the series, led by showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, used the time to plot and script episodes for Season 2.
As for Cowboy Bebop, Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Hajime Yatate’s classic anime series was several episodes into filming when it was forced to go on a 7-9 month hiatus due to a knee injury sustained by the show’s lead actor, John Cho.
The project hails from a collaborative effort between Tomorrow Studios, Marty Adelstein, ITV Studios, and Midnight Radio (Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Jeff Pinkner & Scott Rosenberg). Written and executive produced by screen and comic book contributor Chris Yost (THOR: RAGNAROK), Cowboy Bebop features the story of a rag-tag group of bounty hunters on the run as they travel the stars in search of the known galaxy’s worst of the worst. Along their journey, each will have to make peace with their past selves, while simultaneously making an attempt to save the world. Oh, but about that whole “saving the world” thing … they’re not about to do it for free.
Here are the casting and character breakdowns for the four key players of Cowboy Bebop:
Cho is Spike Spiegel, an impossibly cool “cowboy” (bounty hunter) with a deadly smile, a wry wit, and style to spare. He travels the solar system with his ex-cop partner, Jet, pursuing the future’s most dangerous bounties with a combination of charm, charisma — and deadly Jeet Kune Do.
Shakir is Jet Black, one of the few honest cops in the solar system before an ultimate betrayal robbed him of all that he loved, forcing him into a vagabond life of hunting bounties to put food on the table. Jet is an inveterate jazz enthusiast and Captain of the Bebop.
Pineda is Faye Valentine, a bold, brash and unpredictable bounty hunter. Suffering from amnesia after years of being cryogenically frozen, Faye does whatever it takes to survive. Whether she’s lying, stealing, or just being a thorn in Spike and Jet’s side.
Hassell is Vicious, a man who thoroughly enjoys a good kill, Vicious is the Syndicate’s most notorious hitman. He’s also Spike Spiegel’s ex-partner and arch-enemy.
Thankfully, it sounds as if Hollywood is finding its footing with regard to filming in certain areas of the world. We’re certainly not out of the woods yet, but progress is progress, yeah?