Taking the reins of a tentpole franchise like G. I. Joe can be a little intimidating. Just ask Henry Golding, the star of the franchise's third film and spinoff Snake Eyes. While promoting his upcoming film Monsoon, the actor spoke to Entertainment Weekly and opened up about what to expect about the popular masked ninja commando's origin story. He began talking about the initial rough cut of the film to test the waters back in August. "We had our own corners of the cinema because you need to go through the processes," Golding said. "You need to see it and test it and get a reaction and notes from everybody."
Golding's initial reaction was far more than pleasantly surprised. "Holy hell," he recalled. "This is the exact opposite of the cookie-cutter, super people movies. Wow. You guys are in for something insane; I can't wait for you all to get your [mitts] on this beast. Yowzers!!!! Literally grinning from ear to ear." While Hasbro largely kept the character's real name and identity under wraps, the film directed by Robert Schwentke and written by Evan Spiliotopoulos will shed some light at least about the popular character. "I think the heart of the story really is who Snake is and his journey as a person, really. Understanding his motivations," Golding said. "I can't give away too much, but it really focuses on the one person instead of having 20 people on screen and understanding background. We start from the beginning. And, hopefully, this launches an amazing franchise."
The actor takes over from Ray Park, who played the role in the first two G. I. Joe films The Rise of Cobra (2009) and Retaliation (2013). "Robert is a huge Japanese cinephile, everything from [Akira] Kurosawa to just the phenomenal Spaghetti Westerns of samurai movies," Golding continued. "He is so hooked into that history, and we see some of those scenes. With some of the fight scenes, there are some chimbara sequences." Meaning, Japanese sword-fighting. "A lot of attention to cultural detail was put into this movie. There are not a lot of movies that are allowed to film in Japan, and we went to some amazing, amazing places. The authenticity is there."
Golding finished filming in February just before the pandemic shut down productions across the industry. Like other blockbusters, Snake Eyes also say a delay to 2021. "It's always odd coming off of big productions," he reflects. "I was on Snake Eyes for like six months. We were in Vancouver, previous to Japan. My wife [Liv Lo] comes out, and she spends a long time with us wherever I am. Going from 100 miles an hour to a complete still, dead stop, it is pretty jarring. But we've actually really been enjoying exploring California. The Paramount film also stars Andrew Koji, Samara Weaving, Úrsula Corberó, Takehiro Hira, Haruka Abe, Iko Uwais, and Peter Mensah. It will be slated for release on October 22, 2021.