‘Captain America’ & ‘Red Dawn’ Star Kenneth Choi Chats About His Superhero Pals

Captain America: The First Avenger hits theaters this Friday, and Celebuzz had the pleasure of chatting with star Chris Evans as well as his costar Kenneth Choi.

Ken plays a soldier on Chris’ team in Captain America and also stars in the upcoming film Red Dawn alongside Evans’ Avengers pal Chris Hemsworth.

Check out what Ken has to say about his new projects, the two superhero’s, and why he thinks Evans will make one hell of a leading man.

Can you tell us a little bit about your role in Captain America?
My character’s name is Jim Morita. Jim is an army ranger and meets Captain America during the second half of the film. I’m part of the group of soldiers who- in the last half of the movie- kind of helps him fight the bad guy. I’m an ally of Captain Rogers.

Sounds like a lot of your scenes are with Chris, what was it like working with him? 
He is a great actor, and is a good looking guy! The key thing with this kind of character is, Captain America is kind of the easy part. He has to look the part, he has to be the part, it’s kind of an action part, but the first part of [the movie] he is Steve Rogers. That part of his character is where all of the psyche comes in, all of the emotional vulnerability. I happened to see Chris in a movie called London, and it’s a phenomenal movie. He is just totally raw and he has a lot of emotional depth. After I saw that I thought he is definitely one of our up and coming great actors. With that kind of vulnerability he brought a lot to the character of Steve Rogers and Captain America.

CGI is sort of backwards in the film to bulk Chris down, right? 
Yeah, they kind of did the Benjamin Button thing. They took a guy who I think was 5’6” and probably weighed a buck twenty and they put him through all of the motions, they use him as the model for the Steve Roger’s character then they put Chris’ head with CG on top of this guy. I actually met the guy too, we did this scene where he was playing an extra, and everybody kind of knew who he was and so everyone was saying his name and I had no idea who he was so I introduced myself and he was like, “I’m actually Captain America,” and I was like what?! 

Special effects aside, did you have to get in any kind of fighting shape for this role?
I was kind of good to go.  But I got an early draft of the script and in it, it said [Chris Evans] kind of comes across these POWs and they are looking kind of haggard and worn out, so I was trying to drop as much weight as I could when I read it, but at the same time keeping in shape. When I got to set, I’m working with Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, and a bunch of guys who are big, muscular guys so I kind of figured that went out the window as it is a comic book universe- so I tried to bulk up as quickly as I could. We did a lot of stunt choreography which entailed all of the fight choreography, we did a lot of weapons training, a lot of gun training. It was fantastic, it was the best part. We were there for about a week and a half before anybody in my group shot anything, so for that first week and a half it was just stunt rehearsals, fight rehearsals, and gun training. Gun training was everyone’s absolute favorite.

I am also really looking forward to Red Dawn. What kind of character do you play in that film, is it similar at all?
It is kind of similar, I play a soldier as well. This time I play kind of like a special ops soldier who has retired, then he comes out of retirement. It’s a redo of the 80’s Red Dawn. The character that I play, do you remember the Powers Boothe character in the original one? Powers Boothe’s character was the marine they find stranded and he helps them. They brought in Jeffrey Dean Morgan to play that character. I play one of his soldiers. I play a guy named Smith.

Were you a fan of the original movie then (Red Dawn)?
Yeah, I think we watched it in school and it just scared the crap out of me because it was that scene where they break into the school windows. I was freaking out.

Did you have any scenes with Chris Hemsworth? First you hang with Captain America now Thor!
I have to tell you Chris Hemsworth is about as big as it gets. I think he is like 6’4” and at the time he was bulking up for Thor and the size of that guy is- oh my god it’s unbelievable.

Think Thor could take Captain America?
I…..I’m not going to answer that! But I will say [Hemsworth] is a tremendously big guy and he is a very talented actor he has tons of charisma.

Does that have a release date yet?
There is no release date yet, I have heard some hopeful predictions that it may come out at the end of this year but it may come out early next year.

So what’s next for you now?
What’s next for me is we have a few fires burning right now. My team and I are trying to see what’s best for me, whether it’s trying to get a regular role on a television series, maybe another big blockbuster or maybe even trying to go for maybe like a lead in an independent type movie, I have never done like a lead in any type of independent movie.