Renowned action adventure stars Ron Perlman and Kelly Hu will be joining Academy Award-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson in Afro Samurai. The five-part animated series is produced by Japanese studio Gonzo in association/partnership with GHK K.K. and FUNimation and premieres on SPIKE Thursday, January 4, 2007.
Afro Samurai is the animated epic, based on a graphic novel by Takashi Okazaki, of a black samurai's hunt for the gunman who murdered his father. Samuel L. Jackson executive-produces and stars as the uncompromising hero, Afro, in this stylish series that crosses cultural boundaries as a fusion of animated samurai action and hip-hop culture. Revolutionary rap artist and producer The RZA is crafting original music for the series.
Ron Perlman will give voice to Justice, the six-shooter wielding gunman who kills Afro's father and becomes the sole focus of Afro Samurai's quest for revenge.
"We're really excited to have the passion and skills of Ron Perlman on board for Afro Samurai. He loves the genre, has tons of experience in the science fiction world, and brings a deep understanding and respect to the material," said Eric Calderon, vice-president of creative affairs at GDH K.K. "We're also ecstatic that such a charming and talented actor like Kelly Hu is joining us as well. Her excitement for the show really validates Afro Samurai as a breakout piece with enormous mass appeal."
Perlman is arguably best known for bringing comic book hero Hellboy to life as well as his Golden Globe winning and Emmy-nominated portrayal of the title character in the television series Beauty and the Beast. Among his scores of other credits are Star Trek: Nemesis, "Blade II," Enemy at the Gates, Alien: Resurrection and "The Island of Dr. Moreau." He has also appeared in a number of television movies and Broadway plays.
"Aside from the opportunity to work with Sam Jackson, whom I admire intensely, the animation of gonzo is as startlingly cutting edge and exciting as anything I've seen to date -- and that includes 56 years of cartoon watching!" said Perlman.
Kelly Hu brings life to Okiku, a friend from Afro Samurai's past who is forced to betray those she loves in order to save one most dear to her. Hu co-starred in X2: X-Men United as well as Cradle 2 the Grave and The Scorpion King. Currently, Hu is shooting a half-hour comedy for ABC titled "In Case of Emergency." Her other TV credits include Martial Law, Sunset Beach and Nash Bridges.
"It's an honor to be working with such amazing talent on this great project. I've been a huge fan of both Samuel Jackson and Ron Pearlman," said Hu. "Afro Samurai brings animation to a whole new level."
FUNimation Entertainment is set to release Afro Samurai on DVD in spring 2007.