Actress Anna Sawai, best known for playing Lady Mariko in the movie Shogun, says that playing Suicide Squad could have been her ticket to stardom in Hollywood. 

Actress Anna Sawai, who is becoming well-known around the world for her role as Shogun’s Toda Mariko, has said that she was instructed to turn down an audition for the Suicide Squad movie. Her dedication to her J-pop girl band, FAKY, was the cause of it.

The 31-year-old former J-Pop singer disclosed on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast that she was compelled to decline an audition for the role of Katana in the 2016 movie Suicide Squad. This is because she was asked not to pursue it by the corporation that owned FAKY, the girl group she was a part of at the time. Karen Fukuhara finally took over the position.

What took place?

All of it began in 2006 when Sawai went to an audition for Avex, one of the biggest entertainment firms in Japan, and was signed. The company’s goal is to produce international J-Pop stars through a music and dance boot camp.

“You are either lucky and join a group, or you debut as a solo singer, or you’re gone,” she said after completing several years of training.

She claims that having the opportunity to appear in the 2009 movie Ninja Assassin while still in training helped her discover her passion for acting. She revealed at the time that her management had told her that joining a popular girl group would help her advance in her acting career. The event occurred in 2013, just before she and four other young ladies founded FAKY. But when she discovered that acting outside of the classroom was prohibited, everything went wrong.

Not answering the big call from Hollywood

Here, Anna reminisced about her belief that receiving an audition call for the American movie Suicide Squad, which was seeking a Japanese female, would be her passport to Hollywood. She rushed straight to her manager, who informed her that she couldn’t attend the audition.

“I thought, ‘This is my chance!'” I go to my manager after that, and he tells me that I can’t audition. They essentially informed me that the girls—the other FAKY members—would have nothing to do with me if I was gone for more than a month, she revealed.

She clarified at that point that the organization would benefit if she was given the responsibility, but the response remained the same. She said, “It felt like they were really tying me down,” and that “I couldn’t leave until the time that I actually left [in 2018] because of my contract.”

Although Anna was sad that she didn’t get the opportunity, she is full of admiration for Fukuhara, who was cast in the comic book adaptation. “She did a fantastic job, and I adore and respect her greatly.” However, I would have wanted to try out for that as well,” she said.

Anna’s path to acting

BBC Two’s British criminal drama Haji, starring Anna, received positive reviews in 2019. After she was cast in Justin Lin’s F9: The Fast Saga, she gained widespread recognition. She held her own and gained attention even though she entered a franchise helmed by well-known Hollywood stars.

She then went on to play the part of Shogun. Shogun, which is returning for a second season, was praised for her aggressive approach as a devout samurai-woman.