SnakeEyes: G I Joe Origins Who's Who
Many of you may remember a film series called G.I.Joe with an ensemble cast. Despite the films having plenty of big names from Channing Tatum in the first and Dwayne Johnson in the second and the inclusion of martial arts stars Ray Park in both films. The film series was a huge deviation to it's original comic book source and took liberties to make the film more diverse and more entertaining. The series didn't get far after it's second installment, however it seems the film are rebooting with a new film and new cast. The first of this new G.I.Joe franchise is SnakeEyes centred on the badass mute and masked American Ninja who was played by British martial arts actor and stuntman Ray Park in the original films.
Ethnicity: half Iban Malaysian half British English
Skills: Speaks some Iban and likely Malay. Yoga, Cycling and Jogging. (training in martial arts for the role, doesn't initially know any)
Family: Wife is Italian Taiwanese Liv Lo a Yoga instructor and TV Presenter
Trivia: Underwent a Bejelai rite of passage for Manhood which including Slaughtering a pig and receiving a traditional name and Tattoo.
Controversy aside. The Crazy Rich Asian star Henry Golding is casted for the lead role of SnakeEyes and we are excited to see how this goes. Henry Golding is a British Malaysian actor best known for his roles as Nick Young in Crazy Rich Asians, Tom Webster in Last Christmas and Sean Townsend in A Simple Favour. Unlike his predecessor to the role of SnakeEyes Ray Park, Henry is does not have a any martial arts or gymnastic experience the very skills that made Ray Park the perfect candidate for SnakeEyes. It is more surprising that an Golding, an actor known for his good looks, smooth charming voice and expressions was cast a mute disfigured ninja who never removes his mask and is pretty much defined by his actions not words. Its like getting a footballer to play wheelchair basketball. So what gives? Well we don't know why Golding was chosen considering how little he matches the character or the actor before him, but as this is an origins story it is likely we will be getting SnakeEyes before he became a mute disfigured badass Ninja. In the comics, SnakeEyes was a White American Vietnamese war veteran that became Ninja, so its likely Henry's performance will be all about SnakeEyes evolution into the bad ass we all know him for. Henry was been using his time in lockdown to at least get a more fluent understanding of martial art and while it won't be him doing all the flips and stunts like Ray Park did, his lack of experience as a martial artist will probably be a part of the story of how SnakeEyes is inexperienced in this film. While some fans are disappointed that a real martial arts actor like Jon Foo for example wasn't cast, sometimes its just how the industry is. Hell Christian Howard got overlooked in favour of Finn Jones for Ironfist. Yeah a martial arts actor was overlooked in favour of an actor that can't fight for one of marvel's greatest martial arts characters.
Ethnicity: Half Yamato Japanese Half British English
Skills: Taekwondo, Shaolin Kung Fu possibly fluent in Japanese and Thai
Family: Raised by his single mother after his parent split
Trivia: had lived in Thailand and Japan before returning to the UK
For the role of SnakeEyes' rival and sword brother Tommy Arashikage a Japanese American Ninja we have British Japanese actor Andrew Koji and unlike Henry Golding he was a true martial artist before this role. OK enough throwing shade at Golding. Andrew Koji much like many British actors of Oriental origins had very little opportunity as an actor in the UK due to most British writers and producers constantly overlooking the Far East community. So Koji packed up and headed East to kick start his film career. Whilst he spent his teen doing extra work and short films, at 18 he moved to Thailand and then Japan doing odd jobs and film work during his stay over there. He eventually returned to the UK training in acting at Actors' Temple Studionin London along with his experience in Taekwondo and Shaolin Kung Fu it was only a matter of time before ehe would become a martial arts star. Andrew's big break would finally come through when he landed a main character role of Ah Sahm in Warrior and then appear as Brilliant Chang in Peaky Blinders. So it would be an absolute delight to see him on the big screen as Storm Shadow.
Skills: Speaks fluent Indonesia and English. Silat and Football
Family: Grandfather H. Achmad Bunawar founded a Silat school. Wife is Indonesian singer Audy Item
Trivia: He is a devout Muslim
Oh My Days another Martial Arts star, Indonesian actor Iko Uwais will be portraying Hardmaster, the uncle of Stormshadow as well as his teacher alongside SnakeEyes. Hardmaster was believed to have favouritised SnakeEyes over his Nephew. One evening when teaching SnakeEyes, he was struck dead by an arrow. Whilst initially believed to be shot by a jealous StormShadow. SnakeEyes and StormShadow would eventually team up against Zartan the real killer. Iko Uwais is best known by Martial Arts fans for his leading roles in Indonesian actor films such as the Raid, Merantu, Headshot and Triple Threat. He also has had his fair share of villainous roles in Stubbier and The Night Comes For Us, using his Silat Training in pretty much all his roles, he's had the hour of throwing down with Yaya Ruhian, Cecil Arif Rahman, Joe Taslim, Dave Bautista, Tony Jaa, Tiger Chen, Michael Jai White and Scott Adkins. So yeah we are definitely excited to see what he brings to the role of Hardmaster though hopefully he won't get killed off so soon.
Skills: Speaks Fluent Spanish, Catalan and English. Knows Flamenco and Jazz dance. Does Pilates and fitness.
Family: Her parents were shopkeepers
Trivia: Is a Model and Philanthropist
Spanish actress Ursula Corbero Delgado has been cast as the femme fatale villain Anastasia Cisarovna the Baroness. Originally from Germany or Eastern Europe, she was part of head trinity of the Cobra team alongside the Cobra Commander and Destro. While she was more interested in Destro, she had her loyalty divided between the two men and had no problem using her manipulative skills on the two of them. Descibed as a dark sensual beauty whose also Ruthless. It is interesting to see how Spanish actress Ursula will bring her to life onscreen. Coming from Barcelona, Ursula mostly played roles in Spanish language films and TV shows with Ines Santiago in Snatch being her first English language role. Due to her background as a model and her dance skills she will likely adapt well to the character of Baroness though it's likely this version of the character will be Spanish instead.
Ethnicity: English, Maltese and possibly Belgian
Skills: possibly knows Indonesian and Itaukei (Fijian), possibly some dance, gun/action shooting and self defence
Family: Her uncle is actor Hugo Weaving. Her little sister is actress Morgan Weaving.
Trivia: Lived in Singapore, Indonesia and Fiji
Next up, we have Australian actress Samara Weaving cast as American soldier girl Shana M. O'Hara aka Scarlett. Scarlett was born to a family of martial artists, served in Vietnam before becoming a Joe, known for her sharp shooting with her crossbow. Despite her deadly skill, professional dedication to her craft. She still retains a decent sense of humour. It's likely she maybe well acquainted with SnakeEyes from his Vietnam war days in this film or be the character that connects him the film series main team of G.I.Joe. In regards to Samara Weaving who will be playing her, despite being born in Australia, Samara actually spent much of her early life in Singapore, Fiji and Indonesia which she may use said experience to develop Scarlett's characterisation if this film will be set predominantly in the Far East. Considering Samara has also had action roles in films like Ready or Not, Guns Akimbo and Mayhem. She likely had to train in some form of martial art and learnt to handle guns for her characters. This will definitely be advantageous for the role of Scarlett.
Nationality: Japanese born British Raised
Ethnicity: Yamato Japanese
Skills: Fluent in Japanese and English. Possibly Naginatajutsu
Family: no info
Trivia: Has lived between the UK, US and Japan
Role: Akiko (possibly based off Jinx?)
Another British Oriental talent makes their way into the SnakeEyes film. Welcome British Japanese actress Haruka Abe. She is slated to appear as "Akiko" a seemingly original character. But is she based on anyone from the G.I.Joe comics? Well the obvious guess would be Kimi Arashikage aka Jinx. The female ninja that many of you will recognise from the G.I.Joe sequel played by Elodie Yung. Whilst we could be wrong and Akiko could be original all together. Looking at Haruka Abe, she is of Far East Asian origin much like Jinx but does she have the skills? Well Haruka has lived in Japan, UK and the USA, so naturally she can speak the Japanese fluently and can likely do the American accent.. Considering she and Andrew Koji both have a British Japanese background, they would pass for cousins perfectly well. Many British fans may recognise her for roles like Miko in Ideal, Mika in Casaulty, Jenny in Doctors, Mikki in Cuffs, Anna in Cucumber, Jennifer in Cyberbully and May-Ling in Late Shift. But it's her titular role in the short film Yuki that may benefit her for this role as she had to learn Naginatajutsu and like other martial arts for the role which would be useful in the role of Akiko if Akiko is indeed supposed to be Jinx.
Ethnicity: Yamato Japanese
Skills: fluent in Japanese and English, Possibly Kenjutsu, Iado, Kendo
Family: His parents are actors Mikijiro Hira and Yoshiko Sakuma
Trivia: Lived and Studied in the US since 15
Role: Kenta (Softmaster maybe?)
Next up we have Japanese actor Takehiro Hira. Best known for mostly Japanese projects, he is seemingly an original character named Kenta though we theorise that this "Kenta" character will in fact be Softmasters' real name. Something not revealed in the comics. Hira is best known for many Japanese roles some of which tend to be complex characters, notably he played Japanese historical Samurais like Li Noataka in Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, Natsuka Masaie in The Floating Castle, Shima Sakon in Sekigahara, Saji Kazunari in Go and Takeda Katsuyori in Sanada Maru. It is very likely he had to learn Japanese Sword based martial arts like Kenjutsu, Kendo or Iado. He also played Mitsurugi in the adaptation of the Capcom video game Ace Attorney, he appears in the British Japanese crime drama Girl/Haji as Kenzo Mori and will be appearing as a Yakuza named Kazu in the American film Lost Girls and Love Hotel with Alexandra Daddario.
Nationality: British-Canadian Ghanaian
Ethnicity: Akan (most likely Brong or Ahafo descent)
Skills: Judo, athletics, long jump, triple jump, 400 and 800 metres run. Possibly HEMA from Spartucus role.
Family: Father is an architect
Trivia: Moved to Canada at 11 almost moved to Australia.
Finally we have the African American Blindmaster. The man who trained Jinx and is a close associate of the Arashikage family. Being one of the few examples of a blind martial arts badass, Blind master will likely embody aspects we except from Stick in the Daredevil TV show. The character often teams up with Jinx, SnakeEyes and Scarlett on missions so its likely through him the character also keep a strong connection to the United States where the main G.I.Joe team is based. Playing the old African American martial artist is British-Canadian Ghanaian actor Peter Mensah. Mensah has been best recognised for many of his TV roles such as Oenomaus in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Kibwe in True Blood, the voice of Predaking in the Transformers Prime cartoons and finally the Cree alien Qovas in Marvel's Agents of Shield. Considering he also has a background in Judo, it's likely this skill set will be useful to him when playing the role fo Blindmaster.