Yasuomi Umetsu’s Kite was a cutting edge anime that skirts the definition of hentai as it tells the story of young assassins in a futuristic city. Samuel L. Jackson is a fan. “I’ve always liked the story, I’ve watched it for years. When I heard [David Ellis] was doing it I was like, ‘Tell him I’d like to be a part of it’.” However, Ellis passed away before the project could really take off. Jackson stayed anyway. “When I commit to a project I kinda see it through, so I stayed. I’m glad I did.”
Jackson plays the anglicized version of Mr Akai (now Karl Aker) – the cop who takes in orphaned Sawa, played by India Eisley, and makes her into a deadly weapon. The relationship between Sawa and Aker is a complex one and, in the anime, sexual and dark, but what translates into the movie was up for questioning. Jackson wasn’t sure exactly what the original intention was but he was ready for anything. “They didn’t tell it as hard as I wanted to tell it… I’m always of the mind that – look you knew what you were choosing when you chose it. I knew what I was stepping into because I’m very familiar with the story. I’m willing to do what the story’s about… I like dark.”
Over the years he’s certainly proved that with his choices of roles, and Karl Akers is sure to be one of the darker parts in a distinguished career of making characters his own. However the Mr Akai part is very distinctive itself, and there were aspects of the original that Jackson chose to keep. “I wanted to keep the steel that is his personality and the toughness and the deviousness of him. I tried to make them real human traits that aren’t props.” Yet he wanted Akers to be real too. “He’s that guy. He’s in that place and he uses subterfuge and lies to get things done.”
Akers sounds like a man who fits well into the darkness Jackson embraced for this film. Dark though the plot of girl assassins and corrupt men may be, what Jackson did to build something emotionally with India Eisley and her character Sawa. “I focused more on my relationship with her, and how to keep it honest, in whatever honesty a person like that can have, and trying to keep her comfortable. It was really important that I keep her comfortable and help her get through whatever she’s trying to get through,” Jackson said, basically being nothing like his character.
“KITE” is released and distributed by CAPTIVE CINEMA.
SHOWING ON OCTOBER 29. NATIONWIDE!