He was certain of one thing when Director Simon McQuoid was signing up to Mortal Kombat. Eventually it turned to almost anything else in the adaptation of video games. The director told io9: “I know I wanted Joe [Taslim] as a subzero. “It was the first picture on my ‘That’s who I want’ pin-up wall. So he was first cast.”
Taslim was a long time fan of Mortal KOMBATT, who was best known to the American public for his pieces of The Raid, Fast and Furious 6 and Star Trek Beyond, and was able to join the franchise. “To play a game I grew up,” the actor told io9. “I’m a big Sub-Zero fan, Scorpion fan and Kung Lao fan. These three characters, when I was a child, I played most.”
But McQuoid wanted to cast him also for another reason. Yes, he was a good, experienced actor but also the whole legitimacy of the film. “I just wanted someone to let others I wanted to know about in the movie,” said the director, “I wanted them to look and go, Oh, shit. They have this seriousness.” So a little methodology was available to do this.”
According to Lewis Tan, lead actor of Mortal Kombat, the casting paid off. Tan was chosen for the role of Cole Young as a newcomer, but at first, the project was a bit tentative. “I wasn’t sure what tone they would have been using, where the project would go and who would,” Tan said io9. But he heard a name and everything clicked. He heard a name. “I knew that the first person I cast was Joe Taslim, and I knew very well of his work,” said Tan. He talked about Joe very highly after working with Iko Uwais, star of The Raid on the Wu Assassins. And I know Joe’s a true Judo-focused martial artist. They had someone like that, I was excited.”
But Tan wouldn’t have been so persuasive. Tan has vivid memories of both Mortal Kombat as a game and a movie from his whole childhood, a lifelong martial artist himself. “I recall playing the game [on the arcade] and I think that everybody else had the initial response,” he said. “I’ve been some sort of freaked out. As I can’t believe it’s permissible here in fact. What’s it like here? It must be unlawful. And then, of course, my whole life was martial arts, so it was cool to play a combat game at the time which was so violent and crazy. “
As a fan, Tan felt an additional pressure on his board as a new character was playing. The audiences in this new world of Mortal Kombat are essentially supported by Cole young, an MMA fighter in a mysterious past. But the star wisely points out that it’s pretty common, as it builds a Mortal Kombat character from the ground up.
“In previous games, Mortal Kombat introduced many new characters,” he said. “It began with 7 and we are now about 80 characters. We are about 80. So I was thinking I had some leeway. Mortal Kombat’s introduction of something new is not out of character. At the same time, all the iconic things that we know they want to see in the film are shown to the audience.”
The character of the Sub-Zero is one of these things, a character Taslim, who used many of his previous projects. “I like pain,” he said. “I like pain. “Pain is very important in many of the films I have made. When you combat, people must feel you are in pain. All these energies must be there instead of just a battle which is badass, cool and stylish.”
And although he could draw from years of experience these motivations, he couldn’t find much inspiration, particularly in one place. “Everything from the game is really hard to take and use,” he said. “I can’t walk in the game like Sub-Zero, for that would be copy-paste. Therefore, the energy should be absorbed for me [games].
Tan and Taslim’s energies to Mortal Kombat are all about history and movies and are not just like martial artists but Earth Realm and Outworld leaders.
“Both guys have a screen and martial arts presence and it’s really important to combine them,” McQuoid told his actors about it. “And they’ve got a power for them that I really think is important.”
Check out Mortal Kombat’s theatres, HBO Max on the 23rd of April, and more. Review Taslim, Tan, and McQuoid for more next week.