National Post (National Edition)
Snake Eyes on the prize
NEW G.I. JOE FILM JUST THE BEGINNING OF SOMETHING BIGGER FOR CRAZY RICH ASIANS ACTOR
To hear Henry Golding talk about it, Snake Eyes is the start of something big.
The movie, the third film in the G.I. Joe universe, tackles one of the franchise's most popular characters — the silent warrior known as Snake Eyes — for the start of a whole new series.
“Up until now, we've known Snake Eyes as the man in the mask and the silent ninja. But under the creative guidance of Larry Hama — the creator of the character — we decided to give Snake Eyes a literal voice,” Golding, 34, says from Los Angeles.
Directed by Robert Schwentke (Red, The Divergent Series), the new film dives into the beginnings of the mysterious hero in a story that finds the loner learning the ways of the ninja warrior after he saves the heir to an ancient Japanese clan.
Since breaking out with his starring role in 2018's Crazy Rich Asians, Golding has stepped into darker roles with A Simple Favor and The Gentlemen. But Snake Eyes gives the British-Malaysian actor a chance to do something he dreamed about since he started acting: headline an action-adventure.
“Movies are one of my greatest loves in life and to be a part of movies that I would want to watch was my goal in the beginning,” the father of one says. “I love action movies. I love adventure and the human-interest element of these movies. If you can combine them and make the story richer, all the better. This one hits all those points.”
Q From the trailer, fans have seen that this movie looks to be full of action. But how much action can we expect? A It's super heavy on the action, but it gets to the humanity behind these warriors. We're so used to seeing superheroes and people who are born with superpowers, but the G.I. Joes are ordinary people ... They've dedicated their lives to getting better and being the best they can be. So it's balance between dramatizing that with some actual storytelling alongside some kick-ass action. The action sequences are unreal.
Q G.I. Joe has such a rich history. How does Snake Eyes expand on the universe?
A We're starting from Day 1 and this is the origin of Snake Eyes. Everything after Snake Eyes will follow that timeline and that storytelling. It was a decision made to ground G.I. Joe in what our fans love — the action sequences, the reality of warfare and really bringing it back to Earth and seeing the jeopardy involved in these human characters.
Q Snake Eyes in the comics was white. What was it like for you to realize him in a different way onscreen?
A I think it was about time. I think the only reason Larry Hama made him a white character was because he needed to dumb it down for the audience. He needed the fish out of water story, so for a character to go to Japan, what's more fish out of water than a white guy in Japan? But we live in the 21st century. Anyone outside of their own culture is a fish out of water. You don't need to be the opposite race to be a character that's exploring or heading out into the unknown.
Q Why was Snake Eyes the right hero to relaunch the G.I. Joe movie universe with?
A He's one of the most iconic characters. He's the guy you want in the room when your a-- is against the wall. You're rooting for him. But we've always rooted for a faceless man. So to start right at the beginning, pull back the curtain, push past the cobwebs and explore the origins of this man I think it builds to a richer storytelling.
Q People are finally getting a chance to head back to the cinema. Why does the theatrical experience matter?
A It's all enveloping. You go into a dark room, switch your phone off, you leave your worries at the door, you get some popcorn and sugary treats you shouldn't be eating and you're in a room full of people wanting to experience the same thing. The joy of audience participation is one of the funniest things I can think of. The oohs and aahs and crying ... name me something else where you go through all those emotions with a roomful of strangers? It's hard to top ... and what better film to do that with than a phenomenal action movie.
What have the last few years been like for you since Crazy Rich Asians?
A It's been a crazy four years of living this dream. Jon M. Chu said it best when he said to me, `Dream bigger. You've dreamed about this before in your past life and now you've reached it, where do you want to go? What are you going to dream for next?' It doesn't stop.
It's been a crazy four years of
living this dream. Jon M. Chu said it best
when he said to me, `Dream
bigger. You've dreamed about this before in
your past life and now you've
reached it, where do you
want to go? What are you going to dream
for next?' It doesn't stop.
– HENRY GOLDING