There's no time for mercy.
KATE releases globally on Netflix September 10. Ahead of the film's release, here are some fun facts about the making of KATE from director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan.
Fun Facts about KATE: Behind-the-Scenes of KATE
Visiting the Shrine of Oiwa
Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan visited the Shrine of Oiwa in Shinjuku to pay his respects before principal photography started on the project.
According to local superstition, Oiwa would curse the production if he didn’t. One of Japan's most famous ghost stories is her tale—the Yotsuya Kaidan. It’s about a woman who was poisoned and comes back from the dead to take revenge on those who wronged her.
Paying Homage to Oiwa
Nicolas-Troyan pays further homage to Oiwa by depicting a version of her tale in the Kabuki play that takes place during the Black Lizard scene of KATE.
Screenwriter Umair Aleem's biggest aesthetic inspiration was Japanese cinema from the 70s to the 90s, most notably the movies of Takeshi Kitano.
In the original script, Kate tracks Ani down at a nightclub in Tokyo.
During a round of revisions with Aleem, Nicolas-Troyan mentioned that Ani didn’t seem like the type of girl who would go to a nightclub but would go to a live show instead. He then discovered a local all-girl rock band called “Band-Maid” and immediately wrote them into the script. Luckily, they agreed to appear in the film.
Kaido Race Scene
The chase scene where Kate nabs her target in a Kaido racer was shot completely in CGI out of necessity. Given the size of the tight streets in Tokyo, car chases are nearly impossible to film, so filmmakers opted to shoot the scene in Thailand. To make the background look like Ginza, the crew took thousands of photos and shot miles of footage to recreate the entire run with photo geometry. They then used LED projections to create a 200-degree sphere around the Kaido racer, eliminating the need for green screens.
Star Wars Knockoff
SPace nerds may recognize the TV show episode Jojima is watching in his penthouse apartment. “Message from Space: Galactic Wars” was a popular Star Wars knockoff that aired in Japan from 1978–1979 and starred a young Hiroyuki Sanada.
The manga series “Tokyo Ghoul” can be seen as a projection on one of the rooftop sequences. The series' main character is turned into a flesh-eating ghoul against his will and is trying to fight it.
Ani wears a t-shirt from ZZ Top’s Eliminator tour. The shirt is a nod to the only live concert and biggest live event that Nicolas-Troyan has ever attended. Nicolas-Troyan, who is slightly agoraphobic, doesn't really “do” big event venues as large groups tend to trigger his condition, He didn’t want to die without having gone to one concert, so when he was 16, he mustered the courage to go see ZZ Top when they were playing in France. He lasted through three songs.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Miku Martineau bonded during downtimes onset over strings. According to Winstead, “Miku has a really lovely singing voice and she’s a really great ukulele player, so we’d find a little spot on set and in between takes we’d play ukulele. Funny enough, Cedric also plays the ukulele, and we kept joking we were going to put a little band together. It was a nice palette cleanser. I’d be killing people, covered in blood and then we’d go sing nice little songs together on the ukulele!”
Meticulous and preternaturally skilled, Kate is the perfect specimen of a finely tuned assassin at the height of her game. But when she uncharacteristically blows an assignment targeting a member of the yakuza in Tokyo, she quickly discovers she’s been poisoned, a brutally slow execution that gives her less than 24 hours to exact revenge on her killers. As her body swiftly deteriorates, Kate forms an unlikely bond with the teenage daughter of one of her past victims. Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Woody Harrelson, and directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Kate follows a burned assassin’s furious pursuit of one last self-
Cast: of KATE:
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate
Tadanobu Asano as Renji
Miyavi as Jojima
Michiel Huisman as Stephen
Miku Martineau as Ani
Jun Kunimura as Kijima
Woody Harrelson as Varrick