Before she joined the “John Wick” franchise, Rina Sawayama was already a highly successful recording artist. After releasing an EP titled “Rina” in 2017 (which the artist revealed on Twitter that she self-funded after having “worked 2-3 jobs at a time for years”), she partnered with indie label Dirty Hit to create her debut studio album, “Sawayama,” less than three years later. It was met with universal critical acclaim, receiving praise from the likes of Elton John, Jon Caramanica of the New York Times, and popular online music critic Anthony Fantano.
Chad Stahelski himself contacted Sawayama about the role of Akira after seeing the music videos for her songs “XS” and “Bad Friend.” The former showcases her acting skills, while the latter showcases some fight choreography, the combination of which Sawayama believes proved to the director that she could hold her own in a “John Wick” film.
Akira does plenty of fighting throughout “John Wick: Chapter 4,” though it only appears to be the beginning of what Stahelski has in store for her character. Without spoiling too much, Akira’s arc ends rather ambiguously, with strong hints that she will return with a vengeance in future installments.