In “The King’s Man: First Mission”, Djimon Hounsou lends his features to Shola, a seasoned spy and unwavering loyalty to the Duke of Oxford. On the occasion of the release of the prequel, meeting with the actor, who has taken up one of the biggest challenges of his career for action scenes.
The king’s man : birth of a shock agency
In 2015, Matthew Vaughn presented a British spy agency with Kingsman: Secret Service, adaptation of the eponymous comic book by Mark Millar. After the return of the shock team formed by Colin Firth, Taron Egerton and Mark Strong in Kingsman: The Golden Circle in 2017, the filmmaker is now looking at the origins of these formidable London tailors with The King’s Man: First Mission.
In this prequel, the Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) fights a mysterious brotherhood during the First World War, to which the disturbing Rasputin (Rhys Ifans) belongs in particular. To carry out his mission, the Duke can count on his son Conrad (Harris Dickinson), as well as the faithful Polly (Gemma Arterton) and Shola. Incarnated by Djimon Hounsou, the latter demonstrates unfailing loyalty and connects explosive situations during the movie. Meeting with the actor known for Gladiator and Blood Diamond, who admits to having suffered to meet Matthew Vaughn’s demands.
Meeting with Djimon Hounsou
What convinced you to join the franchise?
Djimon hounsou : First, I would say the director, Matthew Vaughn, and the desire to work with such a talented filmmaker. But also the previous films of the franchise, which had set the tone.
Matthew Vaughn does have a very singular tone. What is it like working with him?
DH : It’s very rewarding. The people we work with can fuel your art. Over time, collaborations with certain directors continue to support you. This is the case here.
You are a very touching team with Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton and Harris Dickinson. How did you develop the complementarity within this team?
DH : I think it was all in the writing. If the writing sounds wrong, everything can go down the drain. So I would say that the writing, the script and the backgrounds of all of these characters have contributed and enriched and helped us in our collaboration and in the way we interact with each other.
The biggest challenge were the action scenes?
DH : Ah yes certainly! Before that, I made a number of action movies but never had such a big challenge in terms of physical demands. Obviously, I wasn’t in the previous two movies and I didn’t know how Matthew Vaughn works. I had no idea he is so picky about the action, and how he elaborates them in detail. So yeah, that movie was painful, there’s no doubt about it, but the result is absolutely gratifying.
What was the hardest scene to shoot? I am thinking of the end but also of the fight against Rasputin.
DH : Yes, the fight against Rasputin was probably the most difficult fight scene I have ever had to shoot. We overcame a lot of challenges for this one but apparently you enjoyed what you saw, right?
Yes, this scene is amazing. In recent years, you have appeared in several franchises. Fast & Furious, Guardians of the Galaxy… In what Kingsman and is the prequel different to you?
DH : It’s very different from anything I have done. There, even though there are two previous films, The king’s man is a standalone film. This gives a glimpse of what may happen next. For the moment, we do not yet know what will happen. But there is so much room in history, you can still play with it.
The King’s Man: First Mission, in theaters on December 29, 2021. See the trailer above.