Not many actors have their first acting role as one of the supporting roles in a major comic book blockbuster, but Karen Fukuhara is not a typical actor. After spending her teenage years as an entertainment television host for Japanese programming, she drew on her years as an on-camera personality and her martial arts background to make a break into acting. That’s when she landed the role of the superhero (or is it supervillain?) Katana. She spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about her fearless approach unique audition process and who she learned the most from on set.
On her audition for her first-ever role, Fukuhara admits an audition gaffe might have been what won her the role. She explains, “My manager got me the first audition, which was a little bit of sports fighting, martial arts and acting. It was taped. With the second audition, David [Ayer, Suicide Squad director] was in the room. They were very secretive with the script so I didn’t read anything that was from the original script. I don’t know what it was from. I remember the room wasn’t very big, and they had big photo lights on either side of me. During my sword-fighting portion of the audition, I tried to calculate my arm’s length and the sword’s length so I wouldn’t hit those things. But it was cutting it really close, and when you’re in the zone, you can’t really be careful because you’re going all out. I hit one of the lights, and I remember hearing the casting director and David gasp. But I just kept going with it, and I think that’s what David liked, that I didn’t stop in the middle.”
Of all her co-stars, she cites Joel Kinnaman, who plays Squad commander Rick Flag, as her mentor during the production. She explains, “He’s someone who comes onto set and just knows what he has to do. His homework is done at home, and he’s very confident with his choices. His advice was to take a risk with everything.”