'We were like one big family,' Ma Dong-seok says of 'Eternals' cast

Asia's Tech News Daily

'We were like one big family,' Ma Dong-seok says of 'Eternals' cast

Actors Ma Dong-seok, right, and Angelina Jolie pose during an online press conference for the film, “Eternals.” Courtesy of Walt Disney Company Korea

By Kwak Yeon-soo

Ma Dong-seok, also known by his English name Don Lee, said the “Eternals” cast were like one big family. He plays Gilgamesh, who he described as “the most powerful and strongest character” in “Eternals.”

Ma’s various roles, ranging from a brutal gangster to a homicide detective to an arm wrestler, have paved the way for him to become the first Korean actor to play a superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The 50-year-old actor revealed that he didn’t go through any audition process for “Eternals.”

“After Train to Busan became increasingly popular abroad, I received numerous offers from Hollywood. I got a call from the casting director of Eternals, who offered me the role of Gilgamesh. It turned out that director Chloe Zhao and producer Nate Moore had already seen many of my films and analyzed my character,” he told Korean reporters at a recent online press conference.

“Director Zhao and action designers incorporated my personality and action style, like a big punch or a box, in creating the character. So rather than flashy, acrobatic movements, I tried to keep the movements just plain and powerful.”

'We were like one big family,' Ma Dong-seok says of 'Eternals' cast

Actor Ma Dong-seok, also known by his English name Don Lee, poses at the premiere for the film “Eternals” in Los Angeles, U.S., Oct. 18 (local time). Reuters-Yonhap

Ma went on to praise director Zhao and said he was pleasantly surprised about how she pursues a balance between commercial and artistic values.

“The film retains much of the inventive universe that Zhao created. The harmonious mix of the ensemble cast, or 10 superheroes, is wonderful.”

The upcoming film tells the story of a group of superheroes, named the Eternals, who look to ward off their long-standing enemies, the Deviants.

“The Eternals are a group of superheroes with their own unique personalities and capabilities. However, they become stronger together. I think the core message of the film is that people should learn to accept one another without any prejudice or stereotypes,” he said.

During the press conference, his co-star Angelina Jolie made a surprise appearance to support Ma. “It was a dream to work with him. I was a fan before. When I realized that we were doing a lot of scenes together and becoming a pair in the film, I was unbelievably excited. We are partners, but he is also a protector and he has become a dear friend,” she said.

Making his debut as an actor in 2004 with the film “Dance with the Wind,” Ma rose to stardom for his supporting roles in the 2012 thriller “The Neighbors” and “Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time.”

He has appeared in more than 60 films, including several box-office hits such as “Train to Busan” (2016) and “Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds” (2017).

Born in Korea in 1971, Ma emigrated to the United States with his family when he was 18. After graduating from Columbus State Community College, he worked as a personal trainer for mixed martial artists, including Mark Coleman, before he came to Korea to work as an actor.

“Eternals” will hit local theaters, Nov. 3.

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