Henry Golding’s three-and-a-half-month-old newborn daughter is moving on these days, and he’s putting his newfound skills as a movie ninja to good work on the home front.
“She’s already rolling on her own accord. So I’m running across the room, making sure she doesn’t roll over or over something,” says Malaysia-born “Snake Eyes” (in theaters Friday) star says with a laugh.
His first main action role is in the “Crazy Rich Asians” heartthrob’s “GI Joe Origins” martial-arts adventure based on the toy-and-cartoon franchise of the 1980s. Goulding provides voice and face to the silent masked commandos from behind in the day, as Snake Eyes travels to Tokyo with his friend Tommy (Andrew Koji) to learn the ways of the Arshikage Clan and take on global terrorists.
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Instead of just making Snake Eyes a human weapon, “we’ve given him a life—a life he’s lived terribly until now. He’s a man who made a lot of mistakes,” says Goulding, 34. “We see these superheroes and crazy metahumans, but we can never find moments where we go, ‘Oh yeah, he made that mistake I did’ or ‘He did something really awful. Has done the job but he deserves a second chance. I like that.”
Raised in England since he was 8 years old, Golding now calls Los Angeles home with wife Liv Lou and daughter Lyla. During the last pandemic year, Golding took up mountain biking and surfing, “upgrading” his computer-game skills and even crafting a jeep for trips to Yosemite National Park and Big Sur in that “babymoon period.” “It was a silver lining in the chaos.”
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Goulding, who next stars alongside Dakota Johnson in the Netflix adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion,” talks about “Snake Eyes,” being a new dad and when we can expect the “Crazy Rich” ‘ Sequel.
Q: The cartoon Snake Eyes was pretty heroic in the ’80s, but was it enjoyable to throw in a little darkness?
Henry Golding: It gave a dimension that we have not seen before. It also engages you in his thought process. For much of the film, he is making decisions on the pretext of trying to change his life. Secretly, he still has these deep dark motivations to find vengeance, and it’s an overwhelming feeling. It takes something great to get him out of it and that’s something he finds in Arshikage.
Q: You just finished filming “Persuasion” in the UK, how hard was it to go back to work after becoming a dad?
Gold: We were really lucky. Liv and the baby initially came out for about three and a half weeks,[and]then they left me for a month and a half while I was still filming. It was heartwarming and surely you were longing for them. But you know that’s where I have to be. I have college fees to go on to pay, so I have to make sure I do my hard work when I can.
Q: How has parenthood changed you already?
Gold: Selflessness is something that really comes to the fore. You are no longer living for yourself. It’s not your dreams and your goals. Yes, you take them into account, but right now it’s making sure she has everything she wants and is capable of doing everything and anything she puts her mind to.
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Q: The success of “Crazy Rich Asians” was a sure win for the representation of Asians in Hollywood. Do you feel like films like “Parasite” and “Minari” are making progress?
Gold: It’s always going to be a long road, but it has been built by giants in the past. We are only adding one extra step with each of our films. It’s certainly a never-ending battle just to be a part of, but it’s heading in the right direction, especially with the advent of these major blockbuster movies, such as Me and Simu (the coming of Marvel) Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”). It really is a special time to be a part of it.
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Q: When is that “Crazy Rich Asians” sequel happening?
Gold: Maybe after ‘Snake Eyes 2’. (laughs)
Q: Is there a “Snake Eyes” action scene that you look at and think, “Wow, I can’t believe I survived”?
Gold: The car-carrier scene is my favorite for me. We probably filmed it for, like, two days straight. We weren’t able to use any safety ropes so we are standing on top of these cars (up 20 feet). Just at high speed, your sword will get tangled and you will be restricted in your movement. To be able to bounce from car to car in battle with multiple enemies, it was a real fun time.
Q: Have you ever accidentally got smacked while doing this?
Gold: We are constantly being hit in the head with the sword. I think Andrew really broke one on me where we were fighting. This is one of those things that happens. You just make sure the eye is still there. If it is, great. If not, “Medicine!” You move on because at the end of it, no one does it on purpose. You’re about to hit someone in the face once and you sure as hell hope they forgive you for it.