‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’: Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, & Jinx Promise Action & History

Published 1 year ago by

Ray Park GI Joe 2 Snake Eyes G.I. Joe: Retaliation: Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, & Jinx Promise Action & History

Despite mixed responses from critics and moviegoers, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra scored over $300 million at the global box office. As a result, it did not come as surprise when Paramount Pictures announced that a sequel was on the way. However, for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura went back to the drawing board – enlisting the help of Step Up 3D director, Jon M. Chu for a half-sequel/half-reboot with a gritty military tone.

Chu made drastic cuts to the original film roster, retaining only a few key players, filling the cast with fresh faces in iconic Joe and Cobra roles. Rise of Cobra stars Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Storm Shadown (Byung-hun Lee) made the Retaliation cut but iconic staples like Destro (Christopher Eccleston) and The Baroness (Sienna Miller) were bumped to make room for new additions – including lady-ninja, Jinx (Elodie Yung)

Last year, we had a chance to chat with Park, Lee, and Yung during a group interview on the Retaliation set. You can read our full G.I. Joe: Retaliation set visit report as well as an interview with Dwayne Johnson right now – and make sure to check back in the coming days as we post further interviews including director Jon M. Chu, Ray Stevenson (Firefly), DJ Cotrona (Flint), as well as Lorenzo Di Bonaventura.

Check out Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow back in 2009 for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra – along with a “debatable” cameo from Jinx at the 25 second mark:

Throughout the various iterations of the G.I. Joe franchise, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow have vacillated between a ruthless rivalry (based on mutual respect) and moments where they were forced into temporary partnership. While Snake Eyes has always been presented as a dedicated Joe, Storm Shadow’s allegiances to Cobra have wained from time to time – especially when a current mission conflicts with past relationships or larger worldview. For this reason, Jinx is often found in the middle of the Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow feud – since, depending on the version, she’s been student to Snake Eyes, cousin to Storm Shadow, as well as an undercover Joe working inside the Cobra organization.

NOTE: The following is an abridged (and more concise) version of the interviews. You can read the entire transcript for each performer by clicking on the links below:

Reprising his role as Snake Eyes, Park was excited to return for Retaliation:

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.

GI Joe Retaliation Clip G.I. Joe: Retaliation: Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, & Jinx Promise Action & History

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 [...] Loved the first one, and I really dig this one. 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 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.

Unsurprisingly, Lee was equally enthusiastic about the Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow brawls in Retaliation – reinforcing that, in addition to upping-the-bar for action, the ninja characters will have a much larger role in the main storyline this round:

Lee: I think it’ll be more of his history. His history and we will see even his humanistic traits [..] Of course there are a lot of action scenes here. Much more, I think. They will use different weapons [...] Definitely much more than the first one. I used to always be with Sienna Miller or Destro before but in this movie I’m with a lot of people, actually. There’s no specific person in this movie. I go around, sometimes by myself with Snake Eyes, Jane. Maybe all of them.

Are you and Ray [Park] in sync with one other as far as choreography goes on fights?

Lee: We’re both much more comfortable now. We know each and how we move. His specialty and my specialty. In this movie, he has a lot of fights. Of course, we’ve trained a lot together, but we need to train separately, also. We have other fights.

Byung Hun Lee GI Joe 2 Storm Shadow G.I. Joe: Retaliation: Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, & Jinx Promise Action & History

How many fight scenes do you get with Snake Eyes? I think the first one was two.

Lee: There’s two big fights with him and another big fight without him.

The Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes feud has taken center-stage in much of the Retaliation marketing but fans should also expect Jinx to play a major part. We’ll have to wait until Retaliation‘s release to know whether a “big fight” without Snake Eyes means we’ll see Storm Shadow go toe-to-toe with Jinx instead. Either way, Yung confirms that her character will enjoy plenty of action – evidenced by the amount of training she endured for the role:

Yung: I did all the swordplay and fights. I was really nervous. I trained about a month before we began because I had never done swords before. I did a bit of karate — I’m a blackbelt — so I know how to move. But when I arrived there I realized I hadn’t used the swords, and it’s really difficult. We’ve trained a lot.

One of the most challenging scenes that Yung (along with Park) filmed takes place in a brightly-lit Dojo environment. Even Park, who is no stranger to complicated and physically-demanding choreography (most famously as Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode 1), considers the scene one of his toughest:

Park: 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.

Elodie Yung GI Joe 2 Jinx G.I. Joe: Retaliation: Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, & Jinx Promise Action & History

As indicated, Jinx has seen a variety of origin stories in prior G.I. Joe stories but in Retaliation, the character is a student of RZA’s Blind Master – from the same clan as Snake Eyes. That said, anyone anticipating that Jinx will serve as a romantic interest for Snake Eyes, Park made it clear that their partnership is strictly plutonic:

Park: 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.

Hopefully audiences will be equally happy when the film releases.

You can check out Ray Park, Byung-hun Lee, and Elodie Yung in G.I. Joe: Retaliation on March 28th and check back soon for more interviews from the set. However, if you’re eager for more G.I. Joe Retaliation info right now, make sure to check out the G.I. Joe: Retaliation news archive – which includes the following featured articles along with much more:

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G.I. Joe: Retaliation releases on March 28, 2013 in 2D and 3D theaters.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on G.I. Joe: Retaliation as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Next Page: The unabridged transcript of our conversation with Ray Park.

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Ray Park

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?

Park: Ya…

[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.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on G.I. Joe: Retaliation as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Next Page: The unabridged transcript of our conversation with Byung-hun Lee.

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Byung-hun Lee

We hear that you have a bigger part in this movie than in the original film.

Lee: Yeah, that’s a good thing. [laughs] I think it’ll be more of his history. His history and we will see even his humanistic traits.

Do you have to train specifically for these movies or is this just the shape you stay in all the time?

Lee: You’ll see. Of course there are a lot of actions here. Much more, I think. They will use different weapons.

For the character, did you look at the comics or the cartoon?

Lee: Actually, Jon wanted to show a more realistic character. He’ll be much more realistic compared to the cartoon or those kind of characters.

We noticed your English is a little bit better than on the first G.I. Joe. Have you been working on your English this whole time?

Lee: No, no. Never. I’ve had to work a lot in Korea. There’s no chance to learn English more. I could be much more comfortable because I’ve been here three months. I could be comfortable here.

It sort of feels like Storm Shadow is off on a separate adventure. Can you talk about that at all? How many scenes do you have just by yourself?

Lee: I think definitely much more than the first one. I used to always be with Sienna Miller or Destro before but in this movie I’m with a lot of people, actually. There’s no specific person in this movie. I go around, sometimes by myself with Snake Eyes, Jane. Maybe all of them, I think.

How many fight scenes do you get with Snake Eyes? I think the first one was two.

Lee: There’s two big fights with him and another big fight without him.

What are you filming right now?

Lee: This part of a fight with Snake Eyes. At the end, I’m choking him, but he’s locked my hand until they can help him.

Are you and Ray very much in sync with one other as far as choreography goes on fights?

Lee: Yeah, we’re both much more comfortable now. We know each and how we move. His specialty and my specialty. In this movie, he has a lot of fights. Of course, we’ve trained a lot together, but we need to train separately, also. We have other fights.

Is there a scene or a weapon you’re most excited about?

Lee: You’ll see. There’s a sai.

Can you compare and contrast making movies in the US and in Korea?

Lee: Basically, it’s the same. Or similar. But it’s real different, I think. The most different thing is that their pre-production is so short and the production is real long. But in America, their pre-production is really long but the production is much shorter. They decide everything from the beginning to the end. They edit and nobody can touch it, actually.

How long did you shoot for “The Good, The Bad, The Weird”?

Lee: Like seven months. Seven or eight months.

How important is it to build a relationship with your stunt partners?

Lee: That’s why we train a lot. Even if you don’t trust somebody, if you train a lot you’ll trust them eventually. But Ray and I  are really good friends. We trust each other. Training is much easier.

When did you first hear about doing a sequel and were you excited to come back?

Lee: Yeah, I was very excited and a lot of fans of mine all around the world — Korea and Japan — were looking forward to it. It was ten months ago? A year?

How much training time did you have for this one?

Lee: Five weeks, I think. In my case, I’m not shooting every day. I have time to do some training. I train with the stunt guys whenever I can.

When do you wrap on this?

Lee: It will be the middle of November. Or the end of November, yeah.

What have you been doing in New Orleans?

Lee: I like the storms. There was a huge, huge storm, Storm Lee. Everybody made fun of me. “It’s because of you!” [laughs] “Okay, sorry.”

Are you going to be in more American movies?

Lee: I hope so. You never know.

Do you own your action figure from the first movie?

Lee: Yeah, I have three different kinds of figures. Fans send them to me. I have a few on my desk in Korea.

What’s it like working with Ray Stevenson?

Lee: When I first saw him, he was hesitating. He asked me, “Hey, did you watch J.S.A.?” I was like, “Yeah, of course.” I’m in that movie. He recognized me. That was one of my favorite moments. We could be really close because of that.

What about Dwayne Johnson?

Lee: Yeah, we had a dinner right before shooting. I said, “Are you going to show off in this movie?” He said, “I don’t know. Maybe. If Jon wants to do that.” I said, “Don’t do that.” [laughs]

You’re a much bigger star overseas. Do your fans there appreciate this American roles?

Lee: Both. Some people cheer me on. Some people want me to do more Korean movies or tv series. That’s because of the cultural differences. Some people want to watch Korean movies and tv series that are so Korean. It’s both ways.

When this is done, where do you go?

Lee: I haven’t decided yet. We’re talking about a Korean movie and an American movie. I think I’ll find out a month later.

What’s been the biggest challenge on this film?

Lee: From the beginning to the end, everything has been a challenge for me. Working in Hollywood, especially in this kind of genre. I’d never done that before the first G.I. Joe. It’s sort of a fantasy action genre.

Can you compare the two directors between this and the first one. What kind of energy has Jon brought in?

Lee: I’m really close to Stephen Sommers. He was a really nice man. Their way of directing is really different. Really, really different. Jon is more Korean-style. I’m used to it. This is the first time I’ve worked with him, so that surprised me. I can work with him and feel comfortable and feel good. Even though the camera is rolling, he says “different version! different version!” Sometimes it’s five different ways. I like that. Acting is one of the most important things. He thinks like that. I like that.

-

G.I. Joe: Retaliation releases on March 28, 2013 in 2D and 3D theaters.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on G.I. Joe: Retaliation as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Next Page: The unabridged transcript of our conversation with Elodie Yung.

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Elodie Yung

How are you enjoying that costume?

Yung: Oh, very much. It’s like a wetsuit, but without the water around me. I’m French, by the way, so let me know if you don’t understand me.

Is the costume restrictive in its movement?

Yung: It feels pretty good. It’s good. It’s not restrictive because we have a lot of action to do and with our costumes they made sure it was practical.

Had you ever heard of G.I. Joe before they offered you this movie?

Yung: Yes, from the first film. But I’m a girl, so I didn’t really know about G.I. Joe as a kid. I didn’t really watch the show.

So are you a student of Snake Eyes?

Yung: No, I’m not a student of Snake Eyes, but we trained in the same dojo.

So you’re introduced in the dojo? 

Yung: Yes, yes.

You’re a student of the Blind Master?

Yung: Yes, exactly.

How is it working with RZA?

Yung: It was great. It was crazy! He’s so, how do you say, “fee-lye.” He’s a really nice person. And I think he brings something very fitting in his character. When I first read the script, I thought that the Blind Master would be an old, little tiny person. But no, they bring RZA, and I think he brings something interesting for the Blind Master.

Do you have a lot of things to play without dialogue?

Yung: I think it’s about equal. So far, it’s been pretty much all my action stuff. I still have a long time. We’re going to work on some of the dialogue soon. It’s very, very different for me. It’s good, equal.

Can you talk about filming two particular sequences that we saw? One was you in the red with the blindfolded sword stuff, and also we saw quick flashes of what looked like you and Snake Eyes on ziplines going down a mountainside.

Yung: Yes, the mountainside. I didn’t do that, no. Some things had to be filmed by real professionals. I think the first scene in the mountains they had to film with people who were trained in the mountain things, like in real mountains. So I didn’t do that. But I did all the swordplay and fights. I was really nervous. I trained about a month before we began because I had never done swords before. I did a bit of karate — I’m a blackbelt — so I know how to move. But when I arrived there I realized I hadn’t used the swords, and it’s really difficult. We’ve trained a lot.

With the projects and films you’ve done, they’re so particular — sort of the film factory thing — a very particular kind of filmmaking. And coming to work to do American action, I’m sure there’s been an adjustment. Have you found that you struggle to speak the same the language?

Yung: Are you saying I should speak French? [Laughs]

Has there been any adjustment?

Yung: At the end of the day it’s still a film, and every film will be different. I don’t know. I’d guess that every American action film would be different. It’s just training, training hard, training a lot. Then you just give your best performance on the day, and I’ve been lucky so far. When I was on this film District 13: Ultimatum, the stunt people were amazing. And on this film, they’ve been incredible. So no. To me it’s still professional.

Can you tell us a bit about how it’s been working with Jon, the director?

Yung: He’s been great! It’s surprising how calm and professional he is for 31 — we’re almost the same age. He can just handle these big machines so well, and he’s very, very talented. He’s a good director.

You have more action experience than your director, a lot of the cast members do too. Have you helped him out with that at all or offered him any ideas?

Yung: I didn’t help with anything. I don’t think he needs my help. But you have to adjust. Sometimes you can do a take, and it doesn’t work very well. He can say, “Okay, I think I should be facing more like this. Let’s try that.” And he’s really open. That’s a good quality I think. We can exchange a lot.

How did you first get involved with the project? Did they come after you, did you audition?

Yung: I auditioned. I was in London. I’m not living in the U.S. so I put myself on tape. That was great because I could do it myself and send it in. Then I had a meeting via Skype with Jon. So this is how we met. After that, I came here.

What kind of tape did you send in?

Yung: The dialogue. No, not the action. I didn’t have to do that on camera. [Laughs]

Can you talk a bit about New Orleans. Obviously you’re not filming all the time. What have you been able to enjoy in the city? I’m sure you would appreciate all of the French elements too.

Yung: I would recommend you go to Jacque-Imo’s. [Laughs] I’ve experienced all the food and restaurants in New Orleans. To me, it’s very, very surprising how people are so friendly. But no, it’s very different from Paris. People here are very, very open and friendly, and that’s great. Just nice and relaxing. There’s a lot of fun going on.

What was it like working with David Fincher?

He’s great, and I’ve been very lucky to work with him. I just enjoy getting to the point and doing as much as I can. It’s the same on this film. Everybody tries to give the best performance we can.

Is there a female antagonist that you fight in the film?

Yung: In this film? Yes.

Do you have an American role or an American movie that you would love to have a crack at sometime?

Yung: There are so many things that I would love to do. I am enjoying this action movie. I’d love to do a drama or something different. I just enjoy doing very different things.

Would you enjoy bringing in that physical element?

Yung: Oh, definitely. It’s hard, but it’s great when you manage to do something. You just know that it looks good, so it’s worth it. I like it, I like it.

Not to circle back into Dragon Tattoo too much, but your scenes with Rooney, Lisbeth, are pretty — I mean, how well did you guys get to know each other before you started filming? Can you talk about working with her?

Yung: It was pretty easy. She always surprises people. She’s great.

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G.I. Joe: Retaliation releases on March 28, 2013 in 2D and 3D theaters.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on G.I. Joe: Retaliation as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

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  1. Ray Park is awesome.

    I hope he gets recognised a little more, especially due to his dedication to such physical roles. I think he did the Raiden fights scenes in that terrible Mortal Kombat sequel didn’t he?

  2. I have a question. Where did Storm Shadow’s sword come from? I thought he was supposed to be a Japanese ninja? Why was his name written on his sword in Korean characters (hangeul/한글)?

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