Iconic Japanese anime Cowboy Bebop won’t stop breaking barriers in its new live-action series. Gren, a soldier turned saxophonist in the series, will be nonbinary in the live-action remake, and played by a nonbinary actor, Mason Alexander Park. Netflix announced the news on Twitter on November 19, along with a video from Park, previously of the Hedwig and the Angry Inch tour and iCarly. “I will be playing my favorite role from the anime, Gren, who is a sexy nonbinary icon,” Park said in the video. “Being a nonbinary actor who is gien the opportunity to breathe new life into an existing nonbinary character has been the thrill of a lifetime. It’s remarkably meaningful to me, because I didn’t grow up with a lot of gender-variant representation in the media.” Gren, a.k.a. Grencia Mars Elijah Guo Eckener, became a queer symbol in the 1997–98 series, after they grew breasts when a drug treatment changed their body’s hormones.
The years-in-the-making adaptation will be helmed by John Cho as Spike, with original director Shinichiro Watanabe consulting on the project. The series halted shooting in October 2019, after Cho was injured on set and had to recover from surgery. It restarted shooting in New Zealand in July during the COVID-19 pandemic.