Masala: ‘Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank’ Cast Discusses Their Characters and Representation

Ready to watch a paw-tastic movie in theaters?

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” follows a dog named Hank (Michael Cera) in Kakamucho, a town full of cats who need a hero to defend them from an evil villain’s plot to wipe their village off the map. With the assistance of Jimbo (Samuel L. Jackson), the odd dog out assumes the role of fearsome samurai. Cast members George Takei (Ohga), Kylie Kuioka (Emiko), Aasif Mandvi (Ichiro) and Cathy Shim (Little Mama) recently joined Character Media to discuss their roles, the inspirations behind the characters and the importance of representation in children’s films.

Both Kuioka and Shim shared how their respective characters resonate with them. “I’d say we’re pretty similar because we’re both kind of fierce,” Kuioka said. She describes Emiko as “a ball of fury” and a “super fearless cat” who is also trying to become a samurai. 

Shim added that her character, Little Mama, reminds her of her own mother. “My mom is one the fiercest, bravest creatures on this planet, and so in this film specifically I embrace my mom in all of her glory,” Shim said. “[Little Mama] speaks with an accent, and I’m so excited for my children to hear some authentic representation of their grandma and other Asians all around our country.”

Takei, who plays the top bodyguard of Ika Chu’s (Ricky Gervais) army, also took a moment to note the significance of media representation, particularly in film and TV for younger audiences. “We need to be active and visible and contributing in all areas, and particularly important is the entertainment business because we influence the logic of society’s perception of us,” he said.

Watch the full interview above to hear the cast’s perspectives on their characters, and don’t forget to watch “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank,” in theaters now!