Interview with a #DeadMan: An Actor to Actor Conversation with Akie Kotabe (@AkieKotabe) of “Everly” (@everlymovie)

Akie Kotabe (@AkieKotabe)

What happens when you’re majoring in computer science at the University of Texas in Austin and decide to change to theater after successfully auditioning for a student film, subsequently finding your passion in life? If you’re Akie Kotabe, it pays off. With roles spanning across film, television, and theater, Kotabe is currently co-starring with Oscar-nominee Salma Hayek (Frida) in the action/thriller Everly, coming to theaters Friday, February 27th. So, what’s it like to act alongside Salma Hayek? Well, apparently it’s pretty incredible. Playing a character known simply as Dead Man, many of the characters in the film, directed by Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2: Dead End) are referred to using descriptive monikers. Kotabe has a supporting role as a man who has become the target, along with Hayek’s Everly, of assassins and is left for dead. Trapped in an apartment, the characters are faced with dealing with their existence and survival, “Think Die Hard in a single room” Akie told me.

Based in both London and Los Angeles, Akie fell in love with acting in college when he auditioned for a student film on a whim and got the part. He says that he didn’t know anything about acting before that, but has since studied both at university and with various well-known acting teachers in the industry. This non-traditional trajectory into acting has proven successful for the Michigan-born, Texas-bred actor. He’s had guest spots on Mad Men, CSI: Miami, and Without a Trace. Kotabe also puts his bilingual abilities to the test where his roles may require him to have a command of the Japanese language and accent

However, he proves his versatility with quite an impressive filmography. Securing his first AFTRA gig (when SAG & AFTRA were separate unions) while still in Austin for the Jamie Kennedy Experiment, he says he’s had some interesting experiences. He got the aforementioned AFTRA show even after he accidentally bashed his face into a wall during the audition. Woops. We’ve all had weird auditions as actors, sometimes it’s the odd ones that pay off the most.

The passion that Kotabe has for acting is apparent when talking to him. As a fellow actor, we talked about our love for the craft, and the fact that being able to entertain people is one of the best things to be doing in life. Having gotten the acting bug in college, lived and worked in Japan, Los Angeles, and his current city of London, Akie says he’s enjoyed something different from every place he’s lived. He’s also learned from those places as well. From doing theater in Japan (both in English and Japanese) to film and television in Los Angeles and London, he tries to gain as much knowledge and wisdom as possible from the people he is surrounded by in the business. “You can learn a lot through the work” he stated, “It’s what gets me up in the morning.”

What was his favorite part of filming Everly? Well, everything. For Kotabe it was being part of a team and contributing to the bigger picture that was most exciting to him while filming in Belgrade, Serbia. I think we can agree that the best part of being an actor is the ability to be storytellers. I am fortunate enough to have the chance to tell Akie Kotabe’s.

Don’t forget to catch Everly in theaters Friday, February 27th.

Thank You Akie for being such a friendly and open fellow performer. It was such a pleasure to learn your story.

Follow Akie: @AkieKotabe & Everly movie: @everlymovie

For more information on Akie, you can also visit his website: Akie Kotabe

Why #BreakingBad Was So #Good. #RememberMyName


AMC’s Breaking Bad is going down in history as one of the greatest shows in television history already; and it just ended a month ago. And, it only lasted 5 seasons. One would assume that the longer a series runs, the more successful it is. While it’s fantastic that a series can sustain longevity, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be remembered fondly because it had a long run. Over time, without any sort of evolution, storylines and characters become stale. A good story has a beginning, middle, and an end. Most of the time in television, the stories that are told are open-ended. They are meant to go on forever. That is not the case with Breaking Bad. The show’s creator, Vince Gilligan, has even stated that the 5 seasons it was on was the perfect amount of time to tell the story in its entirety and not over-do things. Part of what made the show so appealing was that the story line (while it had its twists and turns) was very clearly following the setup of a beginning, middle and ultimate ending. Most Hollywood executives would probably want to ride the success of a show like Breaking Bad for as long as they possibly can, making as much profit from it as possible; whether or not the story has run out of steam. The genius of the show was that it did not over-stay its welcome. It told its specific story and came to an end, exiting gracefully. I love the show. It will forever be one of, if not my favorite show on television due to its fantastic acting and writing. Watching Bryan Cranston and the rest of the cast act is like a master class.  Anthony Hopkins was completely in the right with the breathtaking fan letter he wrote to Bryan Cranston about his admiration of the show.  It is truly the best acting I’ve seen too. That is probably due to one thing: They were telling the truth. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, along with their cast mates, told what was true for each of their characters situations as they evolved throughout the series. That made it powerful.  I think what made the series most interesting was that the characters, like people do in real life, changed. Whether they were good, bad, or a mix of both, they were ultimately, human. If you haven’t seen Breaking Bad, watch it. Now. You won’t regret it.

“Look at This Stuff…Isn’t it Neat?”: The Daily Show, Malala Yousafzai, and taking a moment to be grateful for what we have.

When did we as a society put importance on the “stuff” we have? Well, it’s probably been around since the dawn of time, but in this modern age of YouTubers and Over-sharers, it is getting really annoying. Yes, I am guilty of watching a video or two of various tours of condos, rooms and houses, but I felt I needed to voice an opinion. We have too much stuff.

I saw an interview the other day with Malala Yousafzai and Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. In case you don’t know, Malala is the youngest person ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She is an advocate for Women’s rights and Education, and oh yes, she’s 16. A year ago, on October 9th 2012, the Taliban attempted to assassinate her. That’s right. They put a hit out on a 15 year old girl. Well guess what? She survived. She survived to not only tell her story, but write it down in a new book called “I am Malala.” It’s funny that if you think of your average American teenage girl, she’s probably watching a YouTube video about how to decorate for Halloween or do makeup. But, when I look at someone like Malala, she wrote a blog not about makeup or all her things, but the importance of her right to an education as a girl. Her passion, grace and sheer courage is inspiring and her name needs to be known. We need to teach our girls to emulate someone who embodies courage, peace and grace. We need to take a moment and yes, be grateful that we live in a society where we are able to have access to “stuff.” We need to be grateful that we lived today. That’s the stuff that I’m grateful for.