Australian star Samara Weaving reveals how she overcame the weirdness of acting with a gun with a hectic training regimen for her new movie Snake Eyes.
Former Home And Away star Samara Weaving has gradually built her profile in Hollywood through dramas such as Three Billboards Outis from Ebbing, Missouri, cult black comedy Ready Or Not and last year’s comedy Bill and Ted. Face the Music. Now, she’s kicking the action world with the action thriller Snake Eyes, which serves as a spin-off and reboot of the GI Joe franchise.
How’s it going over there in LA? Is your world returning to some semblance of normalcy?
We thought we were, but we kind of took two steps forward and one step back with this new variant. So everyone, go get your shot if you can.
Your GI Joe Snake Eyes spinoff movie and your character Scarlett are very important to a lot of people, how well did you know this world?
I didn’t know him that well. I knew GI Joe but didn’t really grow up reading the comics or watching the cartoon version. Scarlett was therefore new. But I guess I’m playing a superhero, I couldn’t say no. I mean with the cool costume, fight the bad guys? Sign me up!
So who is Scarlett?
Scarlett works for the Joes. She is a very intelligent and highly skilled fighter, a lawyer, a leader and a teacher – she is amazing. I don’t know how she does it.
How much of a breakthrough for you in terms of stunts and action and weapons training?
I had a heads-up for about six months before I had to be in Japan. I’m not naturally built like a superhero, so I hired a fantastic personal trainer called Dan Adair and he got me into the best physical shape I can get around this time. Then I did a lot of gun training which was weirdly fun, but I felt bad because guns are weird. And then when we landed in Japan, we went into a very intense choreography and learned all the different fight sequences, which was really exhausting.
Got your very own action figure for Snake Eyes – a sure sign you did – what do you think?
I still don’t have one – I need to make a few phone calls because I need to take a look. It was still a bit surreal. It’s kind of forever and people are going to buy it so you don’t want it to look bad.
What did you like the most about filming in Japan?
All. The food, the culture, the architecture, the history. We were shooting in the winter and would love to go back when the world is open to travel in the summer or spring and have a real vacation.
There’s a real sense of pride in seeing Asian faces foreground in movies like Crazy Rich Asians and Snake Eyes – and your co-star Henry Golding is a big part of that – why is that so important?
Representation is so important. I remember when I saw Wonder Woman and it opened up to a scene of women fighting against other women and I was crying because I realized I hadn’t seen her before and it got me moved. I think for anyone to see themselves reflected in what they are looking at is terribly important and validates you and makes you feel seen.
The same goes for women in action movies, who have made huge strides – what do you think?
I feel very lucky to be a part of the change to be the real hero and not the spouse waiting at home on the phone in tears, or the damsel in distress.
Many young actors have endured the stoppages, wondering who they are even if they can’t act – have you had similar moments of reflection?
I was really lucky – didn’t have a lot of time off work, but I totally understand that. When I started I had a few years without being able to work and I think when you are inherently creative and you have no outlet for it you can get very sad. You depend on others to realize this side of you, so I really feel for everyone who is going through this.
What was it like coming back to Byron Bay to film Nine Perfect Strangers as Covid raged in the United States?
It was wild because in America we were all masked and hadn’t left the house. Quarantine was crazy because you got nothing to do. In Byron especially, there were no cases so everything was open and the only thing was that you had to register when you went to the restaurant or to do the grocery shopping. It was like sensory overload.
And what about this star-studded cast?
It was very cool. I have been struck by everyone – and I still am. It was so great to see these guys working – Melissa McCarthy and Nicole Kidman and Michael Shannon. It was awesome.
You work with some of your Australian buddies, including Margot Robbie and Phoebe Tonkin, now on Damien’s Babylon “La La Land” Chazelle – how’s it going?
It’s really cool. I am not allowed to say anything or I will be in trouble. But it’s awesome.
I know you are sometimes confused with Margot, did anyone blown away to see you together on the same set?
(Laughs) I don’t think so. I don’t think anyone’s little mind was blown away. If they did, I couldn’t see it.
Looks like you have a good Australian support team over there in LA – how important has that been to you?
I have a good bunch of women – and a lot of Australians on the crew. I think when I first moved to Los Angeles it was hard to find a circle of support because you constantly go to different places and different cities. It took a while but I finally have a good circle of friendship so I’m very grateful.
Snake Eyes is at the movies. Nine Perfect Strangers airs on Amazon Prime from August 20