Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins’ Samara Weaving on Playing “Unspoken Leader” Scarlett
The G.I. Joe franchise is back, and better than ever, in Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins which sees the beloved (and mysterious) action hero portrayed by Henry Golding.
Of course, in the comic books, created by the brilliant Larry Hama in the 1980s, Snake Eyes is both faceless and mute, which was not exactly conducive to making an engaging film.
So, the filmmakers decided to explore Snake Eyes’ origin story, before his voice was lost, as he learns the ways of the ninja warrior courtesy of Japan’s ancient Arashikage clan. As you can imagine, the action sequences are out of this world.
POPSUGAR Australia caught up with Aussie actress Samara Weaving, who plays Scarlett — one of the few G.I. Joes in the film — about the process of getting ready for the physical demands of the role and the intensive training that was required.
“They give me kind of a six month-ish window,” Weaving explained. “And I got myself a personal trainer for the first time ever because I’m not naturally that muscley and big. So it was intense because I had never really lifted weights before so he had his work cut out for him!
“But after that, you know, I felt confident and Scarlett ready, and I went into weapons training in LA, and then flew to Japan and started learning the choreography of the fight sequences, which was really fun.”
Speaking about what it meant to be in Japan and learning an art so steeped in culture and history, Weaving said, “I love that about moviemaking and storytelling and getting to play all these different characters.
“There’s always something new or a new skill that you get to pick up and learn and recreate. And just diving right into this and being able to learn with the absolute pros of the industry, and the biggest action people in the world was just amazing.”
In the comic books, Scarlett, whose real name is Shana M. O’Hara, is the elite strike force’s counterintelligence expert who has extensive military training. So, naturally, she has more than a few good moves up her sleeve.
So, what was Weaving’s favourite move that she took away from her experience making Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins?
“I think probably the rolls that we had to learn how to do!” she said. “They were really fun but they are tricky to get perfect. And the roundhouse kicks as well always look so cool.”
Scarlett is, of course, extremely cool and a character that is sure to inspire and empower female viewers everywhere, especially as we know from creator Larry Hama that the franchise has a huge female fanbase. She certainly inspired Weaving herself.
“What I liked about her was that she was sort of the unspoken leader of this crew, she kind of comes in as the representative of the Joes and takes over control and tells Snake Eyes and Akiko and Storm Shadow what to do.
“And I just hadn’t really seen that before. You know, usually, the sergeant that comes in is a man, so it was really fun playing the female version of that.”
Appearing in an action film was a bucket list item for the Aussie actress and now she’s had a taste of it (and the training!) Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins will not be her last.
“I would love to do more action hero movies,” she told POPSUGAR Australia. “Especially as even though I do think we’re getting more of a female presence in the action space, I think we can keep going.
“So yeah, I’d love it. And also it’s a good way to keep me training!”
Seeing as the G.I. Joe franchise has been known and loved by fans the world over for close to 40 years, we asked Weaving what audiences, new and old, would love most about this action-packed, empowering and refreshingly inclusive addition to the IP.
“I mean, what I love most about it was the action sequences, they are so epic and cool and such a blast,” she said.
“But at the same time, there’s this really personal, grounded story of self-discovery watching Henry play Snake Eyes — like this sort of very relatable story of getting to know who you are and where you come from and personal growth and I think everyone can relate to that on some level.”
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is in Hoyts cinemas from July 22.