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

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.


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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