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Tokyo Vice's Rachel Keller Reveals What It Was Like To Work With Director Michael Mann - Exclusive

There are many reasons to seek out the first season of HBO Max's crime drama "Tokyo Vice." Focusing on rookie American reporter Jake Adelstein (Ansel Elgort), the only American at a Tokyo newspaper in the 1990s, the show uncovers the dark side of the city as Jake pursues a story that brings him in contact with the Japanese yakuza as well as many other facets of Tokyo nightlife, including Onyx, a nightclub where Rachel Keller's character Samantha works as a hostess for clients from all walks of life. Beyond the fascinating and gritty plot and impressive performances by Elgort, Keller, and Ken Watanabe as a police detective and mentor to Jake, another reason to watch the show is the involvement of visionary director Michael Mann.

Not only is Mann an executive producer on "Tokyo Vice," he directed the immersive pilot — and the director, whose list of credits include "The Last of the Mohicans," "Heat," "The Insider," "Ali," and "Collateral" – is the perfect fit for establishing the world of the show. Mann uses his precise, eye-catching style to guide viewers from Jake's small Tokyo apartment to the newsroom to the police station to the city's seedy underbelly, all while capturing the psychological complexities of Jake and the series' other characters.

In an exclusive interview with Looper, Rachel Keller reminisced about the unique and exciting way Mann filmed her scenes in the pilot of "Tokyo Vice."

The 'incredible treat' of working with Michael Mann

Rachel Keller's character is introduced in the pilot singing karaoke in Japanese at the hostess club where she works. And Keller noted that because of the way Mann chose to film the scenes there, he was able to capture all the nuances of the setting. "He would have multiple cameras going at the same time," Keller revealed. "It was like theater in the sense that you walk onto the set, like you walk onto [the] Onyx set, and you don't know when they're recording it ... when he zooms in on someone, there's this eyewitness journalism eye on the behavior that's going on in the club, which fit really well for this strange [setting]. There's no equivalent in the Western world of a hostess club."

Keller also said that Mann's interest in characters and respect for actors came through in his work. "There was a lot of thrill and almost compassion in the way that he shot it because he was trying to catch it all," Keller reflected. "We were all very committed to doing it right and playing it as best we could. It was an incredible treat to work with him. He really respects actors, so I felt incredibly safe and [in] super creative hands."

The first season of "Tokyo Vice" is now available to stream on HBO Max.