Darth Maul is coming back now in the animated series. How do you feel about that?
Park: I can officially say yes and confirm that, ya.
You knew it the whole time. You were just lying down there…
Park: Ya. I’ve always known. [laughs]
You have some new converts. My three year-old just thinks you’re the coolest thing on Earth.
Park: Really? See, they’re really hit and miss. They’re either scared or they love it.
Darth Maul is also front and center on the 3D Phantom posters. They’re really pumping him up.
Park: Ya, I’m really lucky. George gave me my first big break and now here I am playing Snake Eyes.
[Interview is then interrupted by loud gunfire during a scene.]
Talk a little bit about the change in costume. Can you talk about it?
[interview is interrupted again by loud gunfire. After the scene one of the guns misfires, scaring the other cast members.]
Park: That used to happen to me a lot on sets where I had full rounds, blanks, and I would come out, about to destroy some Cobra and everyone’s ready and everyone’s on key to shoot their guns and my gun would jam sometimes. It was fun. My gun trainer on the first G.I. Joe gave me about a week of commando training so I got to shoot every single machine gun and hand gun there was. So it was nice to have that practice for this movie.
You have the Uzi?
Park: I have the signature guns on my side. I’m the man with the toys. I love it. I love playing Snake Eyes. It’s a great challenge and I love doing it. I’ve been training since the release of the first movie, back in ’09. I was just like, “Right. Ok, they’re gonna start the sequel to this pretty soon so the last two years all I’ve been doing is Snake Eyes.
You were speaking about Darth Maul. You’re going to voice the character or…
Park: No, no. I wanted to. Be really nice. But they had their own actors. I think Sam Jackson is one of the actors from the movies that actually voices his own character. So it would have been nice. It just didn’t work out. But I’m always involved with it, you know, because that’s my character. That’s what got me into this world.
Talk about the changes in the costume from the first film.
Park: The changes with my costume are completely different. How I look and how the suit looks is completely different. It’s more of an armor battle gear. Both suits from both movies were laser scanned to my body, so I had to go and stand there and they scan my body. They do the mold and make the suit. This one is more for like, ready for battle. More tailored for Snake. Chest plates and forearm, and back plate. And I actually like it. I like the look from the first movie. It was nice. But this, it’s real. There’s a person inside. Where as before it was…
You look like you have more mobility.
Park: Ya, a lot of people say that. It’s more functional. There’s challenges as well. With the first one it was a challenge because I had never done anything like that before, with the suit. With the mask. I always talk about the challenges I had because I wanna perform the best way I can. Do the moves I want to do but, for something simple to me like a backward flip, is impossible to do in the suit, because the chest plate comes up and chokes you. So I have to change it a bit, which is good for the character because I’m not being myself, I’m being Snake. So I change the backflip. So instead of going backwards, I’ll twist it, just so I’ll have the leverage with the arms, and that’s because of the chest plate. But I like that because it adds a different dimension to the character. Breathing is a lot better. My peripheral [vision] is better. But still, it’s like I’m wearing sunglasses in a nightclub. But, you have to be Snake Eyes. And I like that because I really have to focus like the first movie. And I didn’t talk much while I was on set, because I’m in the mask and no one could hear me anyway. So I just concentrate on what I’m doing, and breathing. I do the same with this. At least I can take it off a lot easier than the first one. So I really dig this suit. Loved the first one, and I really dig this one. I like it. I like the look of Snake. And when I see pictures of myself as Snake, I become an even bigger fanboy of myself as Snake. I really like it. I feel lucky to be playing the part in this movie. And I love the changes.
Are your fight scenes with Storm Shadow more intense in the sequel?
Park: Ya, we wanted to make it real. Like it’s two brothers fighting, there’s a lot of aggression. Instead of flashy-flashy and doing flips in the air, we wanted to tell the story throughout the fight as well. There’s a lot of good moves, a lot of great choreography that we worked on. There’s a lot I can do with the character but I’m also working with my fellow actors, especially with Jinx. And I love Elle’s character and we’ve had this great sort of rapport since day one, and this great relationship between the two characters. Where Snake doesn’t speak, it’s sort of sold through our actions toward each other.
About her character, what sort of relationship do you guys have? Are you rivals? Romantic interest?
Park: No, there’s no romantic interest. We’re ninjas. We’re from the same Arashikage clan. We’re fighting for the same cause. But we have a lot of scenes together and it’s great. Storm Shadow is the bad guy and I’m upset with him, or Snake is upset with him, and he wants to bring him to justice. So it’s fun. I’m really excited. I saw some footage last night, and I’m really, really happy about this movie.
So on the terms of upgrading the suit, we see you have your visor look, will we see Snake Eyes with his ‘commando’ look, with the goggles?
Park: That’s a Jon question. Jon’s a big fan as well. When Jon and I first started talking when Jon was attached to direct, we exchanged emails and ended up talking and, I’m a fan too, but he’s a bigger fan than I am, he knows a lot. And he’s the right man for the job to sort of bring these characters to life. And the big thing was how Snake Eyes was gonna look. To have his take on it. The thing that Jon has always said to me is that Snake can look a lot of different ways. And I like how he looks in this. The changes to the suit makes Snake Eyes that much better. And the dojo sequence, that was a tough sequence for us to film. The lights…the crew members were sweating and changing their t-shirts because of the hot lights we had to simulate the sun. I was dying in there and so was Jinx. But it was such an important sequence for us to show because it’s the first time you see Snake and Jinx together, and it tells a story. But it was a tough one to do and I really enjoyed it. I’m glad we did it.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation releases on March 28, 2013 in 2D and 3D theaters.
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