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Categories: Interviews

Marija Makeska talks with actor Akie Kotabe about his career and roles. His filmography includes “Everly”, a new film starring Salma Hayek, as well as roles in “Mad Men”, “The November Man”, and “Midgets vs. Mascots”.


Akie Kotabe is an American actor of Japanese descent born in Lansing, Michigan in 1980. Akie spent most of his childhood and early adulthood in Austin, Texas. He went to study Computer Science at the University of Texas – Austin, but when he auditioned for a student film, he decided that acting was what he always wanted to do.

After a year of working for a theatre in Japan, he moved to Los Angeles in 2005, where he was cast for national TV commercial for Cingular Wireless. Besides his film credits he has an impressive history on the TV screen, playing Akira Takahashi in the well-­respected TV show “Mad Men”, and featuring on many other shows including CSI: Miami.

His latest appearance is in “Everly”, an intense thriller in which Everly (Salma Hayek) is forced to defend her mother and daughter in her apartment while her ex-­boyfriend, a mob leader, sends his people to kill her and her family. “Everly” is opening on February 27th in the US, on April 10th in the UK, and later in other locations around the world.

Which role is your personal favorite and why?

I believe my favorite role has been getting to play Dead Man [in Everly], as I got to work with the Oscar-­nominated Salma Hayek, be part of a shootout and get shot, and play dead!

When you got the role of “Dead Man” in “Everly”, what was your reaction?

Very similar to the first national commercial I booked in the US back in 2005 – I hung up the phone, looked up at the sky and hoped my mom was watching from above – then literally jumped for joy. I love moments like that!


Despite the fact that you were opposites with Selma Hayek in the film, how easy was to work together in real life?

I actually think though Everly (Salma) initially doesn’t like me, we discovered we had a lot in common. The backstory I came up with seems to mirror Everly’s, except for the fact that she’s fighting and I’ve given in. As an actor, Salma was very easy to work with. When the camera is on, she’s in the moment, and gives so many unexpected moments that are effortless to react to, and take the scene to new places. I loved the experience.

The audience doesn’t get to see anything from “Everly” besides the final cut. Tell us about at least one of your favorite days of the shoot.

One favorite moment was that the producers set up a small pool on the sixth day of shooting each week, before our Sunday / day off. Everyone who wanted to participate would put a token amount of money in, and write their name on their bill. The producers each put in a lot more than the token amount, and one week the driver who was responsible for taking me to set each day won. I was so happy for him! As we wrapped that Saturday, there were drinks and nibbles for everyone, and I snapped a picture with the main stunt coordinator, and just enjoyed feeling like part of a big happy family. That Saturday was one of my favorite days of the shoot.

You lived in a lot of places around the world. Which is your favorite and why?

There are so many elements to love in the various places I’ve been; it’d be very hard to pick just one. The vibrant people of São Paolo, the bustling nightlife in Tokyo, the weather and mountains of Los Angeles, and the cosmopolitan diverse London … I think my favorite is having been able to live and see such places, and aim to experience more. Though as I type this it’s the morning I’ve arrived back in Los Angeles for a bit, and I have to say I’m definitely looking forward to eating some Mexican food very shortly!

People say you are easy to work with, but that’s not it. What other personal traits have helped you get to where you are right now?

Which people? I’d like to thank them for being so kind! I find it is interesting to look back and wonder how I’ve gotten everything I have … I think a kind of prepared ‘luck’ might be a factor – at many moments opportunities present themselves, and being able to ‘ride the wave’ as they come is key. I guess to put that into a trait, it’s to be easy­-going and yet prepared. I think actors are one of many moving cogs in a storytelling machine, and it’s good to try to be the best ‘cog’ one can be to help get the story across.

What would be your personal advice for all aspiring actors who are desperately trying to get in the entertainment business?

Have patience and faith. Know that you have all the little unique things that make you ‘you’, and hold onto that one-­of-­a-­kind arsenal. Everyone will have their own path into this business, and I think it’s very important to make sure to give your path the attention it deserves. As I’ve heard many people say before – ‘if there’s anything else you would rather do for a living … do them.’ Otherwise, welcome to the party!

What’s your personal message to all readers of The Spread?

Thank you Jared, Cameron and company, and readers who’ve taken the time to read my answers. I’m just another guy in the world doing my best to play for a living, and love to work on projects people are passionate about. It’d be an honor to one day perhaps see you on set, or in pre­pro!

Everly will be releasing on April 10th in the UK – I hope you can catch the film and enjoy!

Posted on Mar 2, 2015

One Response to “Akie Kotabe interview – “Everly”, “Mad Men” actor”
Read them below or add one

  1. Avatar Salma Hayek says:

    everly was a great movie back in 2014. Most of the people rated it as an average movie but i loved it.

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