Henry Golding has proven he can do the romantic leading man (Crazy Rich Asians, Last Christmas). He’s also done the douchebag role (The Gentlemen). Now the British-Malaysian gets to flex his action muscles.
In the first (and, at one-minute long, rather short) trailer for Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, Golding plays the titular character, a ninja commando who wields a deadly katana sword christened Morning Light. The movie is set for release here on July 22.
Per official synopsis: “Snake Eyes, a tenacious loner who is welcomed into an ancient Japanese clan called the Arashikage after saving the life of their heir apparent. Upon arrival in Japan, the Arashikage teach Snake Eyes the ways of the ninja warrior while also providing something he’s been longing for: a home. But, when secrets from his past are revealed, Snake Eyes’ honor and allegiance will be tested — even if that means losing the trust of those closest to him.”
Shot in Canada and Japan, the movie — directed by Robert Schwentke (Flightplan, R.I.P.D.) — also stars Andrew Koji as Storm Shadow, Úrsula Corberó as The Baroness, Samara Weaving as Scarlett, Haruka Abe as Akiko, Tahehiro Hira as Kenta and Iko Uwais as Hard Master.
Snake Eyes was previously played by Ray Park (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) in two live-action movies based on Hasbro’s iconic line of toys, 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation. In Park’s iteration, Snake Eyes never removes his mask and doesn’t speak.
Not in Golding’s interpretation.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura said Snake Eyes will “answer some questions” G.I. Joe fans have about the enigmatic character over the years. He said, “You’ll learn who he is, where he came from.”
In the same profile piece, Golding, 34, said, “I wanted to see something different, and I wanted it to look different, to feel different. To be able to launch a franchise like that, it was just too good to be true — and especially with a character like Snake Eyes about whom a lot of people don’t know too much.”
Golding — who spent five-hour sessions of daily choreography, followed by an hour and a half of one-on-one training — added, “They know him as this insane operator that completes missions and is an absolute weapon, but who’s the guy behind the mask and what’s his story?”
And if audiences like what they see, there will be more G.I. Joe spin-offs in the works. Said Golding: “Having this solo, we get to set the precedent for where [Snake’s] story leads. It’s phenomenal that [the studio] Paramount and Hasbro chose to go right to the beginning and really start off with such a story. It gives so much more creative control over where this universe is going. I’m crazy excited to see what we do next.”
As do we all.
Photos: Ed Araquel, Niko Tavernise/Paramount Pictures