ANDREW KOJI can take a beating. In any case, the 34-year-old actor’s breakout character was a Bruce Lee–impressed martial artist on the present Warrior, for which he went by months of arduous coaching. Though Koji studied tae kwon do in his teenagers, this was one other degree of intense combat work—and it paid off. Quickly after, he landed a string of regular gigs: Peaky Blinders, American Gods, the G. I. Joe prequel Snake Eyes.
After which got here the action-thriller film Bullet Prepare (out August 5), shot on the peak of the pandemic. “Usually you get to know your forged members, however we had the double masks and social distancing,” Koji says.“It was claustrophobic.”
The British Japanese actor channeled his nerves into his character, Yuichi Kimura, a troubled gangster who boards the title prepare and collides with deadly adversaries. “I simply used that anxiousness for the character,” he says. “It labored as a result of he’s a little bit of a multitude.”
Plus, Koji had a good scene accomplice to work with: Brad Pitt. “Once we have been going over this scene, he mentioned, ‘We’re sculpting it and we’re sculpting it. It’s by no means good. We’re fine-tuning it and making it higher, ” Koji says. “I actually respect that. He cares a lot about attempting to make it nearly as good as doable. He’s a craftsman.”
Subsequent, Koji will enter one other spherical of martial-arts coaching in South Korea to arrange for Warrior’s third season. With little room for downtime, he unwinds with video video games, studying, and meditation. And he sticks to snug garments that he can calm down in.“Throughout my display check with Brad, he was carrying informal sneakers and a jumpsuit factor,” Koji says. “Brad mentioned to me, ‘When you get to a sure age, it’s about consolation.’ That’s how I really feel, however I’m already there.”
We talked to Koji in a bit extra depth on Bruce Lee’s legacy, Warrior‘s third season, and why he stays offline.
Warrior Season 3 has formally begun manufacturing. Is there something you may share in regards to the new season?
I do not know an excessive amount of at this level. I do know we’re choosing up a few weeks or a month after season 2. We really feel very blessed to be engaged on this once more, and hopefully discover a technique to end the story sooner or later. As a result of I believe for the Asian neighborhood and Bruce Lee’s legacy, it is one thing that is actually essential.
It is gonna really feel unusual going again to Warrior. It has been three years since we final filmed. I will be again and extra skilled, perhaps just a little bit rusty, however extra skilled general.
What’s it like constructing Bruce Lee’s legacy?
I grew up watching guys like Jackie Chan and Jet Li, however learning Bruce Lee, I discovered he was such a deep man. He was such a profoundly clever and unbelievable particular person for what he did on the time as effectively.
If Bruce Lee hand’t written down these eight pages in regards to the Chinese language-American expertise within the 1800s, which was the muse of Warrior, I would not be right here proper now. I really feel weirdly, surprisingly linked to him in a approach. He is not directly modified my life.
Learn extra: Bruce Lee Coaching Exercise
Earlier than Warrior, you have been getting ready to quitting the business. In the event you weren’t performing, what would you be doing?
Generally I nonetheless query it now. But when I did go away, I would most likely be doing one thing to assist different folks. Perhaps doing zen, meditation, or grow to be a monk. One thing that helps humanity.
Or I’d simply be producing my very own unbiased movies and serving to different voices get heard and advised.
Unbiased movies are an enormous ardour of yours. What different forms of motion pictures do you wish to work on?
I like what [entertainment company] A24 is doing now. I like what the Coen Brothers have been doing. There’s so many nice outdated Hollywood movie noirs that might be remade for in the present day.
I simply wish to be certain I do not get boxed in because the motion dude. And I wish to play characters that really feel like they go away an affect on the earth, and fairly than only a good pay verify. That is what I choose to do, that is what’s actually helpful for humanity.
Learn extra: Greatest Motion Motion pictures
You are not on any social media. Are you able to speak just a little about staying offline?
For me, it is simply one thing I actually vibe with. I heard lots of studios say that they need you to have one, which is a bit ridiculous, as a result of I believe it needs to be about the appropriate particular person for the appropriate function. I imply, social media can be utilized for good, however I believe it may be fairly poisonous for psychological well being, and for connecting to society. You see so many individuals on their telephones on a regular basis, and we’re disconnected from society for a bit.
Staying offline lets me higher expertise the second and my environment, fairly than sharing it on social media. That is my philosophy behind it. However sooner or later if some massive studio tells me to be on Instagram, I would positively contemplate it.
Learn extra: Greatest HBO Max Motion pictures and Exhibits
As Males’s Well being’s Deputy Editor, Commerce, Christian Gollayan oversees all purchasing content material on menshealth.com. He relocated again to New York by means of Portland, the place he was the Affiliate Managing Editor at TheManual.com. Christian’s work has additionally been featured in InStyle, Meals & Wine, the New York Submit, and Tatler Asia.