Interview: Andrew Koji on Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and Inspiring Young Actors

Photo Credit: Ed Araquel

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is the latest live-action G.I. Joe film that follows the fan-favorite character, who’s known for wearing a cool mask and is an expert with weapons and martial arts. In the film, he saves the life of Tommy Arashikage, and this thrusts him into the world of an ancient ninja clan and an evil organization.

Playing Tommy is Andrew Koji, who’s best known for his role in Warrior. We had the chance to talk with the actor about the movie, his character and the importance of having his own action figure.

John Nguyen: Yeah, did you get to play around with any of the cool stuff in the modern ninja clan?

Andrew Koji: Yeah, I think Tommy, when we find him, he is more in realms of tradition, and he’s brought up in that way. He’s not using the guns and all that stuff. Some of the technology is well, the camera technology, all that stuff. That’s a different topic, but it’s changing the world. And hopefully, it helps with the suits as well. The way they design the suits and the 3d models, they do an amazing job, the team behind that.

John Nguyen: After seeing it, would you say Snake Eyes would be the wrong name for it? Would you call it Storm Shadow: G.I. Joe Origins?

Andrew Koji: I think Storm Shadow at the end of the film, he’d be saying, “Yes. Storm Shadow, yeah.” But I don’t know. I guess it’s the origin of both. But, who knows? Maybe there will be a Storm Shadow: G.I. Origins. Pitch it to Paramount.

John Nguyen: Definitely pitch it because I was rooting for you.

Andrew Koji: Oh, thank you, man. Thank you. As an Asian man yourself, we just wanted to do something that would be a big action film where we’re seen, heard and represented. Yeah, so we’ve got all these different cultures that mix and match.

John Nguyen: This is GI Joe where you get to have your own action figure. Any thoughts on that?

Andrew Koji: I didn’t have that growing up. I didn’t have someone I could look to. We had Jackie Chan and stuff but I wanted to have a three-dimensional, layered character in this big film, which Robert [the director] was very kind for me to explore and to develop. I think that’s the main thing for me. A toy, that’s great, but if a kid can play with this and see this film and appreciate and enjoy it, especially during these hard times, I think if they enjoy that, that’s what’s more important than whether or not my ego is gratified.

Yeah, because one time my time is going to be done. But as long as it inspires future generations or whatever, that’s the main thing, and they can see themselves. Maybe the younger actors, people who might want to act, may be drawn to this big film and go, “You can still do something with that and have fun and also play this nuanced character.” I think it’s important for us as a community.

Check out the video interview below:

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