By Erin Chew, AsAmNews Staff Writer
Henry Golding plays “Snake Eyes” in the upcoming G.I. Joe franchise superhero film. Golding plays the hero lead, who is a bad ass martial artist and expert at using the katana, the longer of two swords worn by the Japanese samurai.
In the film, the character “Snake Eyes” is a lone fighter who is welcomed and trained by an ancient Japanese ninja clan called the Arashikage. Through this training journey, he finds his loyalties tested when secrets from his past are revealed – which is essentially how he becomes “Snake Eyes”.
One fact which can’t be ignored, is that Golding plays a hero, and in fact the comic portrayal of “Snake Eyes” was a white male. Golding sits among a small number of Asian males in Hollywood currently, who are playing main leads and breaking down negative stereotypes that Asian men are not hero/ lead quality. In this film itself, there are other Asian male actors playing bad ass supporting roles to Golding, Including Andrew Koji ( lead actor in Warrior) and Indonesian superstar Iko Uwais.
In a recent interview with AsAmNews, Golding talks about the sea change which has seen Asian male actors like himself and Simu Liu ( who plays “Shang-Chi” in upcoming Marvel film) play superhero leads, and how its important to remember those who came before them.
“It is extremely important that more Asian male actors get cast in hero lead roles because it is about defying old racist tropes, but it is also a reminder of all the other Asian male actors who came before us and represented us. Right now, Simu Liu, myself and others are doing it, but before us there was Bruce Lee. And even after Bruce Lee, there is Jason Scott Lee and Brandon Lee etc. We have had the representation a long time ago, but we haven’t had the opportunity to highlight them. Right now, is a turning point to be proud of being leading men of color and be proud of our Asian heritage.”
Understanding the ins and outs of playing such a complex and physically demanding character, it was interesting to hear Golding discuss the training regime he had to go through to be able to play “Snake Eyes”. Golding states that it is not easy to be a leading Asian male hero and that 98% of the action scenes was actually done by him.
“I must admit, all this talk about Asian male hero leads – it is definitely not easy to be one. All of us who had action scenes in the film did a phenomenal amount of training – literally, 2 months worth. For my character, “Snake Eyes”, I had to do a lot of Katana work. And all the training was put to test when I/we performed these action stunts on set – 98% of the stunts I did myself.”
“Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins”, will have its theater release on July 23, 2021, but before then you can check out its trailer.
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