The Kingsman agency has saved the world twice already in two separate movies. In the upcoming prequel film The King’s Man, we learn how the secret spy service came to be.
The King’s Man takes us back to the early years of the 20th century to a world teetering on the brink of war. We follow Orlando Oxford, aka the Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes), a pacifist who shuns violence until a series of events forces him to get involved and stop a secret cabal from starting a war that could kill millions. Backing Oxford up is his son, Conrad Oxford (Harris Dickinson), a proud young man that wants to serve his country in the war but won’t get the blessing from his father to do so because of a promise his dad made to his mother to protect him. There is also Polly (Gemme Arterton), a smartmouth maid who we find out has some hidden talents. Then there is Shola (Djimon Hounsou), The Duke’s loyal right-hand man who is described as a proper gentleman but is willing to get his hands dirty for the Oxford.
Cassius Life had the opportunity to speak with Hounsou before the film’s release. We touched on Hounsou being the MVP of comic book movies (he is damn near all of them). We also talked about what he was most proud of about his character Shola, one thing the actor would never do under any circumstances, and the preparation for the role.
Step in the interview below.
Cassius Life: We consider you to be the MVP when it comes to comic book films because you’re in a lot of them, and you’re in different franchises across different companies. And you could add The King’s Man being that it’s based on The Secret Service comics. Are you drawn to these films in particular, or does it just happen to work out that way for you?
Djimon Hounsou: Well, I’m not sure what is the appropriate answer really. Partially, I’m drawn to some of those movies, but I mean, it’s also what was available, and there was also appealing to want to be a part of.
CL: We loved your character in this film a lot. You and Rhys Ifans’ Rasputin are our favorite characters. What is one thing you’re particularly proud of when playing Shola in this film?
DH: Well, that Shola existed in a time that was very challenging. And to be a self-sufficient human being at that time was full of challenges. And I think for Shola to play a man of great integrity all the way from Africa to Europe where he still instrumentally is one of the core, one of the most important people who stage this independent security agency. I think that says a lot about an arc that we don’t know yet, then we haven’t seen yet, but it is still definitely. It’s there.
Well, I’m not sure what is the appropriate answer really. Partially, I’m drawn to some of those movies, but I mean, it’s also what was available, and there was also appealing to want to be a part of.
CL: We love that he is very important to the founding of The Kingsman.
CL: When black folks say they don’t do certain things, we mean that we don’t do certain things. Your character does not like to fly. Is there anything in your life you say absolutely no to unconditionally? Just, “No, I’m not doing it.”
DH: Well, flying is one of them. I mean, taking a dip in an ice-cold pool is another one that, of course, I’m African. Of course, I come from Africa. Of course, we don’t have ice-cold weather where I come from. Obviously, this is absolutely a no, no. Yeah, in that essence, I would say some of those elements are absolutely an absolute no.
Well, that Shola existed in a time that was very challenging. And to be a self-sufficient human being at that time was full of challenges. And I think for Shola to play a man of great integrity all the way from Africa to Europe where he still instrumentally is one of the core, one of the most important people who stage this independent security agency.
CL: The Kingsman movies are known for their [fight]choreography, and they’re always on point. And this film’s choreography is fantastic, especially the fight scene between you and Rasputin (Rhys Ifans). Can you talk about the training you underwent for the film? And you were in great shape in the film, by the way too. Can you break that down for us?
DH: Well, I mean, the training was extensive. I thought going into it that I would have obviously, given my background as a boxer and a mixed martial artist, I thought it would be easy to get into it. And I found it quite challenging. And so, it came with a bit of injury here and there. But to execute that fight with the Rasputin was a lot. And that was the degree of pain. Yeah.
CL: Well, it was well done. You guys did a fantastic job.
The King’s Man arrives exclusively in theaters on Dec.22.
Photo: 20th Century Studios / The King’s Man