Snake Eyes: Andrew Koji on Becoming Storm Shadow (Exclusive)
With the first full trailer for Snake Eyes came a look into the world of Andrew Koji's Tommy, a character known to GI Joe fans as Storm Shadow. This new GI Joe film is aiming to be on origin story for Henry Golding's titular assassin but it seems to be a beginning across the board, both on screen and behind the camera. For Koji, this new film is very much an introduction to Storm Shadow as it will be for the audience as the franchise begins anew and sets up the well known story of brotherhood between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. Koji talked with ComicBook.com to celebrate the launch of the film's full trailer
"The proper introduction I'd say was all of this," Koji said of getting to know Storm Shadow. Admittedly, the actor was not tremendously familiar with the character before Snake Eyes but has since taken the time to educate himself on the lore and the fandom. "I really started talking to all the fans, and trying to find out... because for me personally, I mean this whole production, everyone was wanting to make sure the fans were happy."
Koji has plenty of experience in the action realm and he is quick to thank his experiences for bringing the best out of Tommy in Snake Eyes. "Luckily I was prepared with this TV show I did before Warrior," Koji exaplined. "I had a lot of training for that. And I think just like any other job, you take the knowledge and experience you get into the next one." Still, the swordplay required a bit of heavy lifting to acclimated to the word of Storm Shadow.
Following the release of the new trailer for the Snake Eyes movie, check out ComicBook.com's exclusive interview with Koji in full below!
ComicBook.com: I want to start at the beginning of this Snake Eyes journey for you and hear about your introduction to Storm Shadow.
Andrew Koji: My introduction. I'd heard of him before. I wasn't a GI Joe kid growing up. In England, we got, I think it was called Action Force and I was more into video games and stuff. But the proper introduction I'd say was all of this, really. And I guess, once I got a role, I really started talking to all the fans, and trying to find out... because for me personally, I mean this whole production, everyone was wanting to make sure the fans were happy. There's homage to it, there's all that. So yeah, this was a whole education about the whole thing. The whole world, and Tommy and Storm Shadow.
And I've got a philosophy. I think that every role comes into your life for a reason, to learn from, or grow, or evolve from. You can learn from the character as much as the character... I mean, it's a bit pretentious this can sound. But this has all been a whole education.
CB: To start the movie, where do we find Tommy? What is the audience's introduction?
AK: Yeah. When we first start off, Tommy is currently undercover. He is on a mission for the Arashikage, the ancient Japanese warrior clan, for those who don't know. And he's on a mission for them trying to get some Intel, that's when we start off.prevnext
CB: Talk to me about some of the choreography, some of the stuff you got to learn, and some of the skills you got to bring to this.
AK: Well, I mean, luckily I was prepared with this TV show I did before Warrior. I had a lot of training for that. And I think just like any other job, you take the knowledge and experience you get into the next one. So I basically bought everything, every tool. I think you do that as an actor anyway. Every thing you've learned along the way you can take the next job. So I basically used everything I could, and had, and wanted to do, and wanted to improve upon for this job.
We had Kenji Tanigaki and his team who choreographed all the Ruroni Kenshin films. Sword work. Had to do a lot of sword work. Henry and I were doing sword training a lot. Firstly, you learn the foundations, the basics, Kendo and all that stuff. And then obviously you have to evolve it and add some flare for film. So yeah, it was tough, but once it clicks, it clicks.prevnext
Storm Shadow & Snake Eyes
CB: The iconic relationship is between Snake Eye and Storm Shadow... I'm sure you and Henry must have had a good time developing that. I'd love to hear you talk about the kind of standing between those two and where that might go?
AK: Yeah. I mean, we had a lot of talks about that. You know, Robert [Schwentke] is a big advocate for rehearsals, and you're work shopping stuff and trying different things out, experimenting, a lot of exploring. And I think because of the dynamic between the two, I think very yin and yang, and the brotherhood. I think any relationship about brothers and brotherhood, especially in this world, where there's a lot of fighting and danger in life. I think the psychology and the differences, the different cultures they have, and all that intertwining. There was a lot of work we put into that to try and find... have the fans be happy and also reimagine and reinvent something new.
CB: The new trailer shows Snake Eyes as being put through these three challenges... What can you share about how Tommy tests and sort of initiates Snake?
AK: Yeah. I like watching him sweat, you know? Like, 'You've got to earn this, mate!'
No, it was fun. I think we talked about the challenges and maybe what they meant. I think Robert and I were talking about the Bushido code, and maybe what each challenge represented to learn for him, and why that meant that for him to evolve as well. And why Tommy puts him through that. So I think they changed over time, but I think we arrived on something that was hopefully... it's exciting and it makes sense.prevnext
Costume Coming, and Beyond
CB: We do get a look at Snake Eyes in his iconic mask and costume. Storm Shadow also has a look from GI Joe lore. Did you get to suit up in anything fancy and exciting here?
AK: Yeah. I haven't seen too much of the suit. But Louise Mingenbach, she designed the... We kind of designed it together. I mean, everyone in these big productions, a lot of people involved. But I really personally thought it was really cool. It's a mixture of samurai, a bit of ninja, it's a kind of more than a different... I think Storm Shadow's suit is one of the coolest, in my opinion.
CB: My last thing for you... As this possibly this becomes a cinematic universe or a franchise, do you have a wishlist of scenes or characters or anything you really want to explore in the future?
AK: Definitely. Definitely, for Storm Shadow. I'd love to explore that darkness that he's got inside him. And I'd love to see him in... When I was doing my research... I'd love to see him in his hooded look. I'd love to see him with the bow and arrow. There's loads of stuff that I'd love for him to explore in the future. Absolutely.prev