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Talk about deadly paper cuts.
From the mind of Eddie Kim, Warigami takes a playful paper-folding concept of origami and turned it into a deadly weapon kung-fu art.
The concept of Warigami was concepted back in 2015 as a few short film episodes to test out the special effects with martial arts action as fighters can fold paper into baseball bats, swords, ninja stars and folding fans.
The series caught on and was created as a 10-part mini-series on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Now it’ll make it ways to American audiences as a CW special feature 2-hour film tomorrow and then on the CW Seed the following day.
The show revolves around twins, who discover they have the power to manipulate paper into weapons due to a family magical spell. They must come to rescue their grandfather from a paper warrior and save the world.
The series was created by Kim and directed by Jason Lapeyre (Who Killed Jon Benet?). The cast includes Emily Piggford (The Girlfriend Experience), Kai Bradbury (The Terror), Akiel Julien (The Next Step), Miho Suzuki (Colossal) and David Hewlett (Stargate: Atlantis).
LRM Online had an e-mail chat with up-and-coming star Kai Bradbury on the concept, his character Vincent and experience with Warigami.
Bradbury kicked off his career with Amazon’s The Man in High Castle, in which he played a Kempeitai officer during the American occupation. He had roles soon after in a few television shows like Lifetime’s Menendez: Blood Brothers and TLC’s Untold Stories of the ER. His career then took off with appearances in multiple geekcentric shows such as CW’s Supernatural, Amazon’s The Boys, Netflix’s Altered Carbon and AMC’s The Terror for season 2.
Check your local listings on CW to watch Warigami tomorrow night.
Read the LRM Online exclusive interview below.
LRM Online: Warigami seems like a silly concept. Until I watched the trailer, it totally changed my mind. What initially drew you to Warigami?
Kai Bradbury: The concept was so new and intriguing to me. Though I see where you were coming from, as we began production I quickly realized once you buy into the idea, it’s really quite clever and it’s not meant to take itself too seriously. We are fighting with paper after all, it should be funny! I hadn’t seen anything like it before and the action-comedy aspect was a genre I’d wanted to explore.
LRM Online: There seems to be a lot of action in Warigami. Could you talk about the preparations and training for this role?
Kai Bradbury: We were fortunate enough to have worked with Master Tommy Chang and his incredible team of stunt performers. As production followed closely after casting, I flew to Toronto and was able to sneak a few Tae Kwon Do classes in at Master Chang’s studios. Most of the main cast had a dance background, so we were all pretty equipped with the coordination and flexibility required. It was very freeing to set some of the fight choreo on location and dive in without overthinking. Lucky for me, the ladies were taking on some of the more complex fights.
LRM Online: Did you also get origami training? Are you good at it?
Kai Bradbury: Being half Japanese, I grew up folding paper cranes in my sleep but nothing more advanced than that. We don’t see my character, Vincent handle paper with much grace in our show- his style is a bit more grab-and-go.
LRM Online: It seems ridiculous that any paper can be turned into a weapon. Give us a preview on some of the coolest or absurd weapons created for Warigami?
Kai Bradbury: In Warigami, we find out about the origin of these powers and who the Kami-jin are. They have the ability to manipulate the density of paper to act like metal which is how the weapons are formed. I don’t want to spoil my favorite weapons in the show, but when you start to think how many things are made of paper, the receipts, books, playing cards and scratch-tickets suddenly make the world a dangerous place with these powers in the wrong hands. The different types of paper-turned-weapon in this show are undeniably clever.
LRM Online: The VFX does seem amazing for these weapons. What did the production team have you hold as a weapon or throw in the behind the scenes production?
Kai Bradbury: We had an awesome marriage of VFX and meticulously hand-crafted props by Deville’s Workshop. Most of the effects were done with practical props and camera tricks. We often had the original paper item and an exact double that had been “weaponized” all created to fit that specific requirement. One instance, we were throwing real metal shuriken at a wall that were covered in beautiful origami paper. The attention to detail was jaw-dropping to say the least.
LRM Online: How much are your own stunts in Warigami?
Kai Bradbury: We shot most of the fights 3 ways. Actor vs Actor, Stunt vs Stunt and Actor vs Stunt. That way, the show would have full flexibility to cut to the best moments and aid in seamless transitions. I had a fearless stunt double, Yohan Chang by my side but I was raring to do all my own stunts. Like all the doubles, he was there to cover everything I did and also nailed an amazing stunt I definitely couldn’t have done.
LRM Online: Tell us more about your character Vincent. How was it working alongside Emily Piggford as Wendy Ohata?
Kai Bradbury: Vincent is a fast-talking, street-wise orphan who steals for a living and squats in a warehouse with his best friend. He is usually one step ahead of everyone but his new-found abilities throw him for a loop.
Working with Emily was a gift. There aren’t many actors with a work ethic like hers and getting to learn and play off her was a joy. I won’t forget the first time we met. I walked into the restaurant that was hosting our production’s meet + greet dinner and out of a blur she walked towards me and introduced herself. If I ever had a twin, there she was. Both of us are half British and half Japanese, originally from the same part of Canada- it was very exciting. In the show, Vincent and Wendy are from completely different worlds. When they’re forced to meet in the middle and agree, those were my favorite scenes to shoot with her.
LRM Online: Warigami started off as a series of short-episodes. It’ll be a 2-hour movie in the United States. Tell us about filming Warigami as short-form sequences than a long television show or movie.
Kai Bradbury: Because of the short episode format we shot the whole thing like you would a feature film and not blocked out per episode. Just like all film and TV, the scenes were filmed out of order with some shots running back to back that were filmed 3 weeks apart. Our schedule had us working long days, shooting many more scenes a day than normal- it was a fantastic learning experience and demanded everyone’s total focus.
After the movie premiere on The CW, it will be available on The CW Seed streaming platform in the US and continue on CBC Gem for Canadian audiences.
LRM Online: Do you prefer short-form or long-form production?
Kai Bradbury: My experience lies mostly in TV which deals with a very tight shoot schedule- lots of materiel to cover and not much time. I’d say I prefer long-form because we get more time to meet the characters and watch them develop. However, short-form can have the same impact with quicker but just as clear storytelling. I look forward to working on more features in the future.
LRM Online: Did you check out the Warigami episodes that’s now available from 2015? What did you think about it?
Kai Bradbury: I had a quick look at some when I first auditioned for the project. Those episodes are a product of the show’s creator, Eddie Kim when he first conceived the idea. Warigami has evolved lots since then but still retains some of the original concepts.
LRM Online: Finally, there’s a pretty good chance that Warigami will catch on. Do you hope it’ll be a television show or a movie if there’s a continuation?
Kai Bradbury: I would love to explore the world of Warigami again in either series or movie form! We leave the audience with quite a cliffhanger so I hope we get to see what kind of trouble Vincent and the others will get in to next.
LRM Online: Lastly, can you talk about your future projects after Warigami?
Kai Bradbury: I spent the Summer shooting a very exciting new series launching in the new year! Wish I could say more, announcement to come soon!
Check your local listings on CW to watch Warigami tomorrow night.
Source: LRM Online Exclusive