If you saw the first G.I. Joe movie, you might have noticed Jinx in the background of two scenes (she was training in the P.I.T.T. and in the background of General Hawk’s speech). However, in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, not only is Jinx being played by a new actress (Elodie Yung), her character has been given a lot more screentime including some major action sequences with Snake Eyes. If you’re familiar with the G.I. Joe cartoons and comics, you’re definitely going to see a few things you recognize.
During a group interview with Elodie Yung on the New Orleans set, we talked about how she got cast, the action scenes, working with RZA as Blind Master and director Jon M. Chu, and a lot more. Hit the jump for what she had to say.
Question: How are you enjoying that costume?
Elodie Yung: Oh, very much. It’s like a wetsuit, but without the water around me. I’m French, by the way, so let me know if you don’t understand me.
Is the costume restrictive in its movement?
Yung: It feels pretty good. It’s good. No, it’s not restrictive because we have a lot of action to do and with our costumes they made sure it was practical.
Had you ever heard of G.I. Joebefore they offered you this movie?
Yes, I saw the first film. I had a memory from when I was a child; we had this in France as well, the cartoon. But I’m a girl, so I didn’t really know about G.I. Joe as a kid. I didn’t watch the show.
So are you a student of Snake Eyes?
No, I’m not a student of Snake Eyes, but we trained in the same dojo.
So you’re introduced in the dojo?
You’re a student of the Blind Master?
How is it working with RZA?
It was great. It was crazy! He’s so, how do you say, [unintelligible]. He’s a really nice person. And I think he brings something very fitting in his character. When I first read the script, I thought that the Blind Master would be an old, little Chinese person doing kung fu. But no, they bring RZA, and I think he brings something interesting for the Blind Master.
Do you have a lot of things to play without dialogue?
I think it’s about equal. So far, I’ve done pretty much all my action stuff. I still have a month. We’re going to work on some of the dialogue soon. It’s very, very different for me. It’s both, it’s equal.
Can you talk about filming two particular sequences that we saw? One was you in the red with the blindfolded sword stuff, and also we saw quick flashes of what looked like you and Snake Eyes on ziplines going down a mountainside.
Yes, the mountainside. I didn’t do that, no. Some things had to be done by real professionals. I think the first scene in the mountains they’ve been filming this with people who were trained in the mountain things, like in real mountains. So I didn’t do that. But I did all the sword things, like you’ve seen, and fights. I was really nervous. I trained about a month before we started with this sequence because I had never done swords before. I did a bit of karate — I’m a blackbelt — so I know how to move. But when I arrived there I realized I had to do swords, and it’s really difficult. But I’ve been trained by [unintelligible], and she’s amazing and she’s been teacher. We’ve trained a lot.
With the projects and films you’ve done, they’re so particular — sort of the film factory thing — a very particular kind of filmmaking. And coming to work to do American action, I’m sure there’s been an adjustment. Have you found that you struggle to speak the same the language?
You speak English and I’ll speak French? [Laughs]
Has there been any adjustment?
At the end of the day it’s still a film, and every film will be different. I don’t know. I’d guess that every American action film would be different. It’s just training, training hard, training a lot. Then trying to give your best performance on the day, and I’ve been lucky so far. When I was on this film District 13: Ultimatum, the stunt people were amazing. And on this film, they’ve been incredible. So, no. To me it’s still professional.
Can you tell us a bit about how it’s been working with Jon, the director?
He’s been great! It’s surprising how calm and professional he is for 31 — we’re almost the same age. He can just handle these big machines so well, and he’s really, really talented. He’s a good director.
You have more action experience than your director does; a lot of the cast members do, too. Have you helped him out with that at all or offered him any ideas?
I didn’t help with anything. I don’t think he needs my help. But you have to adjust…if you do a take, and it doesn’t work very well, he can say, “Okay, I think I should do this more like this. Let’s try that.” And he’s really open. That’s a good quality I think. We can exchange a lot.
How did you first get involved with the project? Did they come after you, did you audition?
I auditioned. I was in London. I’m not living in the U.S. so I put myself on tape. That was great because I could do it myself and send the tape. Then I had a meeting via Skype with Jon. So this is how we met. After that, I came here.
What kind of tape did you send in?
Some of the scenes that are in the film. The dialogue. No, not the action. I didn’t have to do the flips on camera. [Laughs]
Can you talk a bit about New Orleans. Obviously you’re not filming all the time. What have you been able to enjoy in the city? I’m sure you would appreciate all of the French elements too.
I would recommend you go to Jacque-Imo’s. [Laughs] I’ve experienced all the food and restaurants in New Orleans. I’ve been doing a bit of touristing when I have the day off, just walking in the French Quarter. To me, it’s very, very surprising how people are so friendly. But no, it’s very different from Paris. People here are very, very open and friendly, and that’s great. It’s a privilege to be filming here. Just nice and relaxing. There’s a lot of fun going on.
What was it like working with David Fincher and the amount of takes that he enjoys?
He’s great, and I’ve been very lucky to be on that project. Doing a lot of takes is not a problem for me. I just enjoy getting to the point and doing it as much as I can. It’s the same on this film. We rehearse, we do it a lot. Everybody tries to give the best performance we can.
Is there a female antagonist that you fight in the film?
In this film? Yes.
Do you have an American role or an American movie that you would love to have a crack at sometime?
There are so many things that I would love to do. I am enjoying this action movie. I’d love to do a drama or something different, the opposite. I just enjoy doing very different things.
Would you enjoy bringing in that physicality element?
Oh, definitely. It’s hard, but it’s great when you manage to do something. You just know that it looks good, so it’s worth it. I like it, I like it.
Not to circle back into Dragon Tattoo too much, but your scenes with Rooney, Lisbeth, are pretty…how well did you guys get to know each other before you started filming? Can you talk about working with her?
It was pretty easy. You know sometimes you have a natural bond with somebody. She’s going to surprise a lot of people. She’s great.