Karen Fukuhara is about to go from girl-next-door to full-blown action hero as she joins Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto and Cara Delevingne in the film adaptation of the popular comic book Suicide Squad. Having started her career as a host on the Disney Channel, she moved on to Japanese TV shows while finishing up a degree at UCLA.
Scroll down a few rows on her Instagram and you’ll get a glimpse into the gruelling workouts she’s had to endure ahead of the movie. With the cast doing their own stunts, the process of getting a superhero physique is one steeped in extremities.
Amuse caught up with Karen ahead of the London premiere to ask about karate, katanas and the day-to-day reality of becoming a superhero.
I heard you were an ace in martial arts. How fit were you before filming Suicide Squad?
I used to practise a form of karate called Kyokushin, and I was a competitor in the forms division. I stopped one step away from a black belt when I went off to college. It all came back to me when we started training for Suicide Squad! We trained in fitness, martial arts and sword fighting every day during pre-production. Then kept it up during filming as well. They all worked hand in hand. My fitness trainer would discuss with my fight coordinator which muscles were necessary to manoeuvre the heavy sword.
Your character is such an important female hero as well as a prominent Asian figure in comic books. The use of her namesake “Katana” weapon is so vital. What was it like training with the Katana?
I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to play such a powerful, strong woman. I hope that Katana is a hero that little girls can look up to. Our director David Ayer made an effort to be truthful to the comic book characters and a big part of staying truthful is having the right ethnic actor play the roles. I hope to see more Asian representation in future films. Shooting the action sequences were some of my favourite days of filming, and I think they became my favourite because I had spent so much time training. I was the most fit I had been in my entire life, and with that came the physical capability to do most of my stunts. It was so fulfilling to see the work that not only me and the cast, but also the stuntmen and fight coordinators put into the movie.
What dietary changes did you have to make for the film?
I absolutely love to eat! Dietary changes were extremely difficult. It mainly consisted of quinoa, chicken breast and lots of greens.
What is your favourite juice?
I want a juicer so badly! I love the kale, spinach, green apple combination. I think the healthiest way to eat is to cook your own food. It’s so hard to eat out and skip the warm bread that comes out at the beginning of the meal… or the delicious hearty spaghetti! I’m a sucker for carbs! The team really liked sushi. Sometimes we would get Sugarfish take-out. Nobu has also been a staple.
LA’s obsession with fitness seems more like a religion. What workout are you devoted to?
I started going back to my karate dojo, so I love doing that. On top of that, I go to the gym a couple times a week. I think exercising not only keeps me in shape but also revitalises my energy. On days I work out, I get much more done throughout the day! For cardio I either go on the rower or treadmill – lately I’ve been hitting the treadmill so I can catch up on my favourite TV shows.
What skin tips have you discovered in LA? Is there a spa or treatment you are obsessed with?
The Korean spas Downtown are great to flush all the toxins out of your skin. I actually just recently got my first facial and it was life-changing, but I think everyday care is more important; removing your makeup, double cleansing if need be, toning, moisturising, and frequent exfoliating. I love my Clarisonic on days I feel I need the extra help with cleansing my face. I’m always in the market for good skincare, so if anyone has any recommendations or tips, I’d love to hear!
Do you have any tips on how to shake a hangover?
I am absolutely THE WORST with hangovers! It takes me a full day to recover if it’s an especially bad day. I like eating soup but I almost feel like eating makes me feel worse. The best way to shake a hangover is to stay in bed and cuddle with your best friend to talk about all that’s happened the night before.