Ron Perlman and Kelly Hu have joined Samuel L. Jackson in the voice cast for Afro Samurai, a five-part animated series premiering on Spike TV on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2007. Based on a graphic novel by Takashi Okazaki, the toon is produced by Japanese animation studio Gonzo in partnership with GHK and FUNimation.
Afro Samurai tells the epic story of a black samurai who is hunting down the gunman who murdered his father. Samuel L. Jackson serves as exec producer and also lends his voice to the title character. Original music for the series is being created by hip-hop artist and producer The RZA, who collaborated with Quentin Tarantino on the Kill Bill movies. The project was written by Takashi Okazaki and Tomohiro Yamashita (English version was penned by Derek Draper and Christine Yoo.)
Perlman will voice the character Justice, the gunslinger being tracked by Afro Samurai. The hard-working character actor recently reprised the title role in Cartoon Network’s animated movie Hellboy: Sword of Storms, which debuted on Saturday, Oct. 28. He’s also voicing the lead role in Swordplay Ent.’s upcoming animated feature Conan: Red Nails.
Perlman comments, “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!”.
Action star Kelly Hu will lend her voice to Okiku, a friend from Afro Samurai’s past who is forced to betray those she loves in order to save the one most dear to her. She has been seen on the big-screen in X2: X-Men United, Cradle 2 the Grave and The Scorpion King. and is currently shooting a half-hour comedy for ABC titled In Case of Emergency. Her other TV credits include Martial Law, Sunset Beach and Nash Bridges. FUNimation Ent. plans to release Afro Samuari on DVD in the spring of 2007.