Before actor Josh Lawson was cast as the nefarious Kano, he didn't think much of it at first when he auditioned for the Warner Bros 2021 reboot of Mortal Kombat. He was even more shocked to find out he got the part. The leader of the criminal syndicate and rival to Sonya Blade, Kano was part of the original seven when the original videogame hit arcades in 1992 by Midway Games. Since the game's release from creators Ed Boon and John Tobias, Mortal Kombat would become a franchise of its own, spawning several sequels, spinoffs, as well as film and television adaptation with the latest feature directed by Simon McQuoid, which premiered on HBO Max and theaters. While promoting his latest film, Long Story Short, I spoke with Lawson about his own history with the game and franchise.
"Of course, I knew Mortal Kombat, and I played it as a kid," Lawson said."When it did come out in the 90s at the arcade and stuff, I had a very nostalgic memory of the franchise but had stepped away from it as I got older. It did hit the home gaming systems and become more and more sophisticated. So going into it, I never really thought I would be cast in it, to be honest." The actor at the time didn't have the best confidence going in. "I didn't really give it much thought. I auditioned for it like I auditioned for lots of things and expected, like most of the time, not to get it. I just sort of did it and walked away. I never really gave it a second thought. Months later, I got a phone call saying that I'd gotten the role, which is very surprising but. I didn't do as much research as I could and got into shape as best I could learn as much fighting as I could, given the time. Then I just tried just to do the best I could with the information I had. Kano kind of weirdly turned out to be a role that I was far more suited to than I ever thought I would have been."
Lawson isn't the first actor to play the mercenary in a live-action film with the late Trevor Goddard in the role in the Paul W.S. Anderson adaptation. He is, however, glad he got the opportunity to make his mark in Mortal Kombat history. "So that was one of those cases where I am glad I took a chance on it because if I would directed Mortal Kombat, I'm not sure I would have cast me. That would have been a mistake; I think because I think ultimately, I did. I was actually more of a fit in the role than I expected." Long Story Short is currently in theaters, on-demand, and digital. Mortal Kombat is available to stream on HBO Max.