Gilgamesh Actor Don Lee on His Bond with Angelina Jolie

Debuting in the US, Don Lee plays a strong role as Chloé Zhao the eternal. The Korean-American actor, also known as Ma Dong-seok, plays Gilgamesh, the strongest in Eternals and arguably the most selfless. He is also quite gifted in hand-to-hand combat, which allows Lee to make good use of his boxing background.

The actor first gained worldwide fame in the zombie thriller in 2016 Train to Busan, and Hollywood has been knocking on Lee’s door since the Korean film premiered at Cannes. In 2019, the stars finally align with a the eternal role that requires Lee’s character to protect the Eternal warrior, Angelina Jolie’s Thena.

“I was a fan of Angelina before this movie, and once we both met, it felt like we were old friends who finally met after being apart in different parts of the world. gender,” Lee said The Hollywood Reporter. “Throughout the movie, our characters protected and cared for each other, but we also protected and cared for each other in real life.”

In a recent conversation with CHEAPLee and his Korean interpreter, Jenny Park, discussed his most memorable moments on set, as well as his character’s CG children’s costumes.

Don, can you tell me a little bit about your casting process?

Over the past five years, I received a lot of casting offers from Hollywood, but at that time, I had to produce and act for many different roles. [South Korean] film. And so the timing wasn’t right for me. But a couple of years ago, Sarah Finn, the casting director for Marvel, reached out to me to find the character Gilgamesh, and listen to her – and also talk to Chloé [Zhao] and [producer] Nate Moore on a video call – I was attracted to the character of Gilgamesh. Personally, I’m also a Marvel fan, so that’s how I became a part of the eternal.

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Don Lee as Gilgamesh in the eternal
Courtesy of Marvel Studios

How did you prepare for the role?

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I was not specially prepared for this movie. I always prepare every day because I have been boxing since I was 14 years old. And because I’ve done a lot of stunts in my previous action movies, I’m always prepared for whatever might come my way. And for the character that Chloé gave me, Gilgamesh, I was able to adapt to that character easily because Chloé related it to my own personality and my past characters. One thing that I prepared during filming was the language because acting in Korean and acting in English are a bit different. So, I had to study continuously throughout the movie to be able to pick up difficult words for the historical context. Talking in English and actually acting in English is different, and that’s the part that I need to focus on.

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Gilgamesh (Lee) and Thena (Jolie) in the eternal
Courtesy of Marvel Studios

How did you react when you first learned that your character would spend most of the time protecting Angelina Jolie’s Thena?

I was a fan of Angelina before this movie, and once we both met, it felt like we were old friends who finally met after being apart in different parts of the world. . We were very comfortable with each other, as if we were reunited like old friends. Throughout the movie, our characters protect and care for each other, but we also protect and care for each other in real life.

Gilgamesh cooks for the Eternals at a certain point in the movie. If you had to cook for the Eternals too, what would you cook for them?

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I would say Korean barbecue. I cooked a cake in the movie, but I cook Korean barbecue for them in real life. I actually took the cast to a Korean restaurant once in London, and they loved it.

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From left: Karun (Harish Patel), Gilgamesh (Don Lee) and Sersi (Gemma Chan) in the eternal
Courtesy of Sophie Mutevelian / Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios has released a hero poster yours as Gilgamesh. What do you see yourself in that context?

As an actor, being a superhero in a movie is a dream come true. I’m honored to be a part of one of Marvel’s biggest franchises, and I’m honored to be such a powerful character in the franchise. the eternal. So seeing that poster made me feel that I could have completely become a superhero as an actor.

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Don Lee, Richard Madden (Ikaris) and director Chloé Zhao on set the eternal.
Courtesy of Sophie Mutevelian / Marvel Studios

After 30 years, when you tell your family stories about your time making the eternalWhat date will you tell them about first?

All in all, every moment and every day is so meaningful and memorable, especially because there’s a huge, diverse cast and an Oscar-winning director like Chloé. But one thing that I will always remember is the action scene that I filmed myself in six weeks. The process was hard and very difficult, but when I finally finished filming, the whole crew gave me a round of applause. The warmth, support, and love I felt from the crew was so memorable that I will tell everyone about it later in life.

Out of curiosity, did your co-stars ask for a selfie with you in baby clothes?

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(Laugh.) It’s really CG!

You are kidding!

(Laugh.) Yes, it’s CG. So sadly, no selfies.

***

Interview has been edited for length and clarity.

the eternal Currently showing exclusively in cinemas.

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