Director David Leitch is hardly a stranger to the world of action filmmaking. After spending years working in the stunts realm, he made his directorial debut with 2014’s John Wick, which he worked on with Chad Stahelski. Since then, Leitch has helmed Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2 and Hobbs & Shaw, and now he’s tackling Bullet Train, based on the Japanese novel “Maria Beetle” by Kotaro Isaka, for Sony Pictures.
If you have recently watched the new movie or are planning on seeing Brad Pitt in action at some point, you are probably wondering where you’ve seen the Bullet Train cast before they found their way into what looks to be one of the best action films of the year. There are quite a few passengers we need to meet, so let’s punch our tickets and step aboard.
Brad Pitt (Ladybug)
Shortly after the release of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Brad Pitt said he would act in fewer movies going forward. Evidently he deemed Bullet Train worthy of his time, as Pitt stars as the lead character, a hitman named Ladybug in the new movie.
Pitt and David Leitch previously worked together on Deadpool 2, where the former cameoed as Vanisher, who we only briefly saw when he was being electrocuted to death. So Bullet Train will give them a chance to become much better acquainted, and we’ll see how this compares to Pitt’s previous action outings, such as Fight Club, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and World War Z, to name only a few.
Joey King (The Prince)
Some of you might remember Joey King from films like Ramona and Beezus, The Dark Knight Rises (she played a young Talia al Ghul in a flashback), and Oz the Great and Powerful, but nowadays she’s best known for Netflix’s The Kissing Booth movies, Hulu’s The Act, FX’s Fargo and Blumhouse’s The Lie, among other things.
While Bullet Train won’t mark King’s first foray into action movies, this will definitely be her biggest action platform yet, with her portrayal of a seemingly harmless schoolgirl who is actually a fierce and deadly assassin who goes by the name “The Prince.”
Andrew Koji (Yuichi Kimura)
Those of you who’ve seen the Cinemax series Warrior are already well acquainted with Andrew Koji, and G.I. Joe fans will remember him from bringing Storm Shadow to life in 2021’s Snake Eyes. Now Bullet Train is the latest opportunity for Koji to show off his action cred, and count on him standing out among the other main cast members with his martial arts skills as Yuichi Kimura, another mysterious assassin aboard the action-packed train.
Throughout his career, Koji has also given great performances on shows like American Gods, Call the Midwife, and Peaky Blinders.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Tangerine)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who is no stranger when it comes to action movies, plays a visible role in Bullet Train as Tangerine, one half of a citrus-themed team of contract killers who finds himself crossing paths with Brad Pitt’s Ladybug.
During the first half of last decade, Taylor-Johnson drew attention for playing Dave Lizewski in the Kick-Ass movies, Quicksilver in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Ford Brody in Godzilla. More recently, Taylor-Johnson has appeared in Outlaw King, A Million Little Pieces,Tenet, and The King’s Man. And Taylor-Johnson knows a thing or two about playing less than heroic characters, especially with his menacing role in Nocturnal Animals.
Brian Tyree Henry (Lemon)
And who takes on the role of the other member of the citrus hit squad on the Bullet Train cast? Well, none other than Brian Tyree Henry, who can’t really be stopped thanks to a list of notable credits that includes hit shows like Atlanta.
If you’re an avid consumer of movies, then it’s hard to imagine you haven’t seen Henry in anything over the last several years, as he has appeared in Widows, If Beale Street Could Talk, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Child’s Play and Joker. In 2021 alone, Henry had major roles in the Legendary monster epic Godzilla vs. Kong and the Marvel Phase 4 movie Eternals.
Zazie Beetz (The Hornet)
Like Brian Tyree Henry, Zazie Beetz is a member of Atlanta’s main cast, but if you haven’t seen her on that series, you likely remember her for her roles as Domino in Deadpool 2 or Sophie in Joker. Now Beetz is hopping aboard Bullet Train, taking on the role of “The Hornet,” an American assassin who has a fondness for poisons, hence her sleek and deadly name.
In the past year prior to punching her ticket to Bullet Train, Beetz has appeared in one of the best Netflix movies, Harder They Fall as well as the surprisingly clever and entertaining animated feature film The Bad Guys.
Masi Oka (Train Conductor)
Taking on the role of one of the conductors aboard the high-speed assassin deathtrap in Bullet Train is Masi Oka, who will be instantly recognizable for fans of a certain NBC drama from the early 2000s.
Oka kicked off his time in Hollywood working at Industrial Light & Magic as a digital effects artist, but in the 2000s, he began his acting career. Most of you likely remember him best either as the time-traveling Hiro Nakamura on Heroes or coroner Max Bergman on Hawaii Five-0, while his resume also includes Get Smart, Friends with Benefits and The Meg.
Michael Shannon (The White Death)
Michael Shannon, who has been one of the most interesting and entertaining faces in Hollywood for the past decade-and-a-half, shows up on the Bullet Train cast as the White Death, a notorious and dangerous crime boss.
Some of you may know Michael Shannon best as General Zod in Man of Steel, while others followed along with him playing Nelson Van Alden in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Or maybe you prefer one of his other credits more, like Revolutionary Road, 99 Homes, Elvis & Nixon, The Shape of Water or Knives Out. In any case, Shannon has clearly been around the Hollywood block, even before boarding Bullet Train.
Logan Lerman (The Son)
Logan Lerman takes a seat on the Bullet Train cast as the son of the powerful and dangerous White Death, whose rescue and safe return can make some of his fellow passengers quite wealthy.
Some of you have most likely seen Lerman on the small screen playing Jonah Heidelbaum on the Amazon Prime Video original series Hunters. Lerman’s notable film credits include 3:10 to Yuma, the Percy Jackson movies, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Noah and Fury, the latter of which also featured his Bullet Train co-star Brad Pitt.
Hiroyuki Sanada (The Elder)
Showing up as a mysterious character known as The Elder, Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada serves as one of the most interesting passengers on the Bullet Train cast.
American audiences have gotten to know Hiroyuki Sanada over the years in movies like The Wolverine, Mr. Holmes, Life and Avengers: Endgame, as well as seeing him in TV shows like Lost, Revenge and Westworld. Sanada appeared in 2021 Warner Bros. films like the Mortal Kombat reboot and Netflix originals the Zack Snyder-directed Army of the Dead, and now we can throw Bullet Train into the mix too.
Bad Bunny (The Wolf)
Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, better known by his stage name, Bad Bunny, appears as The Wolf, the pissed off hitman trying to stab Brad Pitt’s Ladybug in the Bullet Train trailer.
Bad Bunny is a Latin Grammy-award winning singer who has been on a tear the past few years, with performances alongside Shakira and Jennifer Lopez at the Super Bowl Halftime Show in 2020, multiple appearances at major WWE events, and more. Acting-wise though, Mr. Bunny is just as busy. We already saw him in the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico and the movie American Sole, and now he’s taking the express train to superstardom. And this looks like it’s just the beginning as the Grammy Award winner is slated to star in his own Marvel movie in the future.
Sandra Bullock (Maria Beetle)
And then there is Academy Award-winning actress Sandra Bullock, who portrays Brad Pitt’s on-screen handler, Maria Beetle, in Bullet Train.
Brad Pitt and Bullock have been active in the Hollywood space for roughly the same amount of time, but Bullet Train will be only their second time working together (they previously appeared together earlier this year in The Lost City). Bullock is no stranger to working on action movies, with her resume includes Demolition Man, Speed and The Heat. Bullock and Pitt have also both been part of the Ocean’s franchise though they’ve never been in one together.
Bullet Train is now playing in theaters nationwide. If you want to know what other movies are coming to a cineplex (or streaming service) near you, check out our rundown of all the 2022 new releases.