Los Angeles-born Karen Fukuhara is a martial-arts champion who has acted on Japanese TV. But her career will change gears in August with “Suicide Squad,” which marks her big-screen debut (amid a lineup that includes Will Smith and Ben Affleck) and her membership in the DC Comics universe.
What has it been like to star in such a high-profile film?
I don’t think I’ve felt the full effect of being part of “Suicide Squad” yet. My life right now is kind of a double life: On some days I’m doing press and talking about “Suicide Squad” and photo shoots — the glam life. But I’m also sitting at home preparing for auditions, just like any actress out there who’s trying to make it.
When did you know you wanted to act?
I’ve always wanted to become an actress. It’s been a lifelong dream, but my family and I didn’t know how to do it. Upon graduating [from UCLA], I sat down and thought about what my dreams were; I really went head-on into acting and pursued what I was always passionate about.
Has your family remained onboard?
My parents are pretty open-minded. But I think they take me a little bit more seriously now that I’ve booked something.
What was your favorite part about playing Katana in “Suicide Squad”?
She’s so badass. I loved playing her and doing the action scenes. I used to do karate, so I loved the … fight sequences and working with the stunt team.
What changes would you like to see in the industry?
Diversity! When I booked “Suicide
Squad,” I was completely selfish and happy for myself. Fans commented on social media about how happy they were about that, and it reminded me that it’s rare to see a female Asian portray such a strong character in a major Hollywood film.
So you’re a fan of social media?
Here’s what I love about social media: You get to peer into people’s lives that you normally wouldn’t be able to. I think it’s a relief for young boys and girls to have more people to look up to, even if it is on a smaller scale.
What you didn’t know about Fukuhara
AGE: 24 RAISED IN: Los Angeles FAVORITE DIGITAL DISTRACTIONS: WhatsApp and Instagram IF SHE WEREN’T IN THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS, SHE’D BE: Working in interior design