Djimon Hounsou returns to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain Marvel, reprising his role as Korath. You might remember we last saw Korath in Guardians of the Galaxy as a subordinate of Ronan the Accuser who travels to the planet Morag to retrieve an Orb that has been stolen by Star-Lord. While the character was killed in that film, a younger version of Korath will appear in this MCU prequel. Before he joined Ronan, ’90s-era Korath was a member of Starforce alongside Carol Danvers.
On the Los Angeles set of the film, we sat down and talked with Hounsou about Korath’s role in this film, his function in Star Force, his relationship with Carol Danvers, comparing the film to James Gunn’s work, and more.
(This interview was conducted in a roundtable format with other assembled journalists.)
Question: So what can you guys say about the differences in this character from when we’ve met him?
Djimon Hounsou: Not much of a difference with Korath, other than he’s still the pursuer, the killing machine, as we came to meet him the first time in the first “Guardians”. He’s slightly younger here. Other than that he’s still the same killing machine.
Question: Can you talk about Korath’s role in the Star Force?
Djimon Hounsou: Korath, obviously he’s a member of the Starforce, just being on a mission. It’s just so vague as a question to be very specific. Again, some of these stories, forgive me for saying, but we’re gonna have to be lighthearted about it. That’s the nature of those characters, and where the costume itself is a character and must exist and be featured. Korath is still the pursuer.
Question: What can you tell us about the scene we’ve been watching today, of them coming back from the mission?
Djimon Hounsou: The scene today is mostly about the Starforce Team going on a mission to retrieve the subject basically. We’re heading on a mission, we’re not back from the mission yet, we don’t know what the mission reserves- what are the attributes around the mission and certainly the issues around the mission – we don’t know that yet. So, we’re just heading to the mission. Supposed to be a simple mission.
Question: What are those things you guys are being pushed in and out of? Are you going to sleep or are you being spat out somewhere?
Djimon Hounsou: It is some sort of sleep aid, if you will. It’s your Ambien. That’s your Ambien for the long distance we must cover. That’s our futuristic “Let me put you out for the time-being”.
Question: When we see you in “Guardians of the Galaxy” Korath has a different look to him. Does this film take us on a journey where you see where he’s going towards that?
Djimon Hounsou: To discover Korath?
Question: Or to get him to that, where we saw him before.
Djimon Hounsou: No. This is a completely separate story, standalone story, nothing to do with Guardians other than the fact that some of those characters interact with each other later. Other than that, no. It’s very different from “Guardians”, yes.
Question: Was there anything that you were particularly excited about exploring in this younger version of a character that you’d already played?
Djimon Hounsou: What I would like to explore, which we really don’t have the time for: how do you create a machine from its baby stage? And how it evolved? Because I’m also guessing, for the character’s sake, mapping out its backstory, and its backstory, we really can’t get to it, cause really it’s not that interesting. What’s interesting is when they come together to accomplish a mission. But, to try to understand a machine at its baby stage, very evolved in the future, I’m not quite sure yet. This is a world that we’re all just, as much as we’re very foreign to that landscape, it’s a very creative process for us also, to try to grasp the world we’re in. But the thing that’s exciting about this, I think we’re starting to see our first Captain, our first “she-ro”, as far as America is concerned. Captain Marvel is our first she-ro. So it’s nice to see her from the early age of the late 90s to now. I thought that was pretty cool.
Question: What’s been your impression about Brie in the role?
Djimon Hounsou: Of Brie? Oh, it’s been wonderful. She’s very much a lady, but very much tomboyish as well. I mean, she had to be. She’s that character of the girl who does it all but does not carry herself like a little girl if you will. More like an officer of that period, who has a serious mission and serious issues that she has to deal with. But yeah, she’s fun to work with.
Question: Most actors tend to take a part of themselves in association-
Djimon Hounsou: Well, I always say “We are the instruments of interpretation”, therefore, a part of ourselves can be left in some of those stories. Inevitably.
Question: So, what part of you do you think is?
Djimon Hounsou: Well, I just say the physicality already and my make-up as a person of all places, I wanna say. Born in Africa, raised in France, in Europe, and came here and literally and made my life here, came to exercise my dreams here. So it’s pretty amazing to have lived in three different continents. So it makes me very worldly. I like that.
Question: And you’ve gone to space, now.
Djimon Hounsou: Yeah, I’ve gone to space a couple of times, thanks.
Question: So Korath is on Starforce with Carol, and could you talk about “What is their relationship like? What does Korath think of Carol?”.
Djimon Hounsou: As far as story based uniquely on this is concerned, I feel like Carol is the type of person that takes a joy at taking the piss at me all the time, cause I’m sort of very machine-like, very framed, very driven. The lack of not being so flexible and playful, she takes a piss at that, I think.
Question: How would you compare the humor in this movie to something like “Guardians of the Galaxy”?
Djimon Hounsou: Oh, it’s very close. Again, I haven’t been that much in this one to [inaudible 00:08:18] but, there’s a bit of a kind of humor within the unit of the Starforce. It’s quite nice humor. I’m guessing the whole film will have a light outlook on the material.
Question: I know when you did “Guardians”, cause you really wanted to see your kids see you in a movie like that… What’s the thrill this time around for you?
Djimon Hounsou: Well the thrill for me this time around is not even so much about this film, other than the fact that it’s great to be part of this one, but I think the one that really leverage all films for me, it’s Black Panther. In a way that I’ve never heard in my own country, championing our kids, going to movies. Parents are even putting money on the side for them to just get that one ticket to go and see a movie like that. It was historical. I mean, it gives me chills. You guys don’t know here, how it is over there. We rarely ever- don’t have many theaters in the country to begin with, and the couple of theaters that we have… You have Universal, Vivendi, you name it, the French company, that’s going around certain countries in Africa and opening theaters, a chain of theaters.
Basically, Black Panther came out the date it came out here, came out there the same time, same day, and it was unbelievable to see African kids really driven to go see a film for the first time. It’s rare. Do you see what I mean? And that really made that film, and made the minority, the people that we less see on screen, as heroes. All of a sudden, have a place to have an identity on screen, and that was quite powerful. And I think it revolutionized all stories of that nature, of superheroes now. Now I think for all superhero films, gives even better leverage in a way a lot of people, even in a minority who were never really excited about those type of films, now are gonna be looking at it because they’re also looking at it with the livelihood of Black Panther within the whole setting. I’m guessing it’ll really have a strong impact going forward.
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