G.I. Joe’s film franchise got a much-needed reboot, and Paramount Pictures and Hasbro’s Allspark films decided to get the ball rolling with Snake Eyes.
It’s been roughly 8-years since G.I.Joe: Retaliation that starred Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and unceremoniously killed off the first G.I. Joe movie’s star Channing Tatum. While the film wasn’t a complete loss at the box office, it didn’t really land with fans because it was all over the place. Paramount refused to give up on the franchise and decided they were going to bring it back. This time ultimately and smartly decided to let Snake Eyes, arguably the most popular G.I.Joe character handle that mission.
With that decision comes a huge question; how do you make a standalone film about a character who historically doesn’t have a face, let alone doesn’t even speak at all? Paramount decided to shake the table by giving the iconic cartoon character the two things he was notoriously missing and a fresh origin story in Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins and tasked rising star Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians, Last Christmas).
In the film, Snake Eyes is on a years-long quest for revenge after losing his father tragically. Along the way, he saves Tommy, aka Storm Shadow, who offers him something he doesn’t have, a chance to have a family again and to become a member of the Arashikage Clan, giving him a renewed purpose. Snake Eyes must now earn the trust of the clan while at the same time complete his quest giving us a whole new look at the backstory behind G.I.Joes’ popular ninja and the origin of his relationship with his long-time nemesis in the cartoon Storm Shadow.
Cassius Life had the opportunity to speak with Golding and his fellow castmates, Andrew Koji (Tommy/Storm Shadow), Úrsula Corberó (Baroness), and Haruka Abe (Akiko). Kicking things off, we asked Golding about having the honor of not just playing Snake Eyes but giving him a face and a voice, something that might not sit well with longtime fans of the cartoon. Golding revealed to us he wasn’t nervous at all about taking on the role and shedding new light on him, explaining that the character eventually has to adapt to the times.
That world lives and is immortalized in the comics of that era. It’s only natural for a character to develop.
“Not at all, to be honest with you,” Golding begins. “That world lives and is immortalized in the comics of that era. It’s only natural for a character to develop. As different sorts of artists are in charge of telling these new stories. You have to adapt with the times. If you wrote or if you translated some of those crazy storylines from the past to now, what kind of response would you get? Some of those topics were nuts,” the Malaysian-born actor explains.
“But, we wanted to do justice, to of course the pre-existing fanbase but at the same time open it up to this new generation,” he continued. “We’re rebooting this series, and we’re grounding it in a way, that moving forward it’s something people would be like holy crap we saw the first Snake Eyes: Origins, I want more of that, that’s the series I wanna go watch. The only way to do that is to make things relatable, make Snake Eyes a person that you could believe could be me, you anybody on the street. But it’s what’s he been through as a human being that’s made him the man behind the mask.”
Of course, every good movie needs a villain, and Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins isn’t short on them. In particular, the beautiful but always dangerous Baroness returns but this time played by the Spanish actor and model Úrsula Corberó. Like Snake Eyes, Baroness is also uber-popular, meaning Corberó had some pretty big heels to fill by stepping into the role, but revealing to us she was up to the job and excited to play her first villain.
“I was very excited,” she begins. “It was my first villain, so I was very excited about that. I was like, ‘I’m sure I will have fun with this character because it’s all about being powerful and a badass.'”
Snake Eyes voice, face, and the rebooted storyline isn’t the only thing new about this film. We also meet Akiko, the loyal head of security of the Arashikage Clan brilliantly played by Haruka Abe. The actress revealed to us she was terrified because she is introducing a new character into the world of G.I.Joe.
“I mean, it was pretty terrifying because all the other characters are such iconic legendary characters,” Abe revealed to us. “To be this complete newbie was pretty terrifying. But it’s great because I got to create her from scratch, really mold her, so it was very fun.”
…it’s all about being powerful and a badass.”
Speaking of fun, we also asked the cast, now that they can scratch G.I. Joe characters off the list, what other cartoon characters would they love to portray in live-action films. Andrew Koji, who understood the assignment when it came to playing Storm Shadow, revealed that he would love to have either played Sonic The Hedgehog or Kenshiro from the classic anime Fist of The North Star.
Corbero revealed she would love to be a Powerpuff Girl, but that role has already been filled with the upcoming live-action series coming to the WB. Abe, who describes herself as an “anime geek,” couldn’t narrow down her choice, being that she is a fan of so many shows. As for Snake Eyes‘ star, Golding had some pretty interesting choices with Afro Samurai, Samurai Champloo, and Cowboy Bebop. Golding hilarious pointed out he can’t play the titular role in Afro Samurai being that he’s not Black but expressed his love for the cartoon while John Cho has already been cast as the main character in Cowboy Bebop, leaving Samurai Champloo, which he says he would be happy to take any character from the anime series.
We also touched on the amazing stunt work and action sequences, particularly the swordplay in the film that was all choreographed by the legendary action choreographer Kenji Tanigaki whom the cast had nothing but high praise for. Snake Eyes: Origins is playing exclusively in theaters. Trust us when we say this is the G.I.Joe movie you have been waiting for.
You can peep our entire interview with the cast above.
Photo: Paramount Pictures / Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins