Hiroyuki Sanada is one of the established stars set to feature in Mortal Kombat. An accomplished Japanese actor of screen and stage, he was well prepared to take on the fighting role of Scorpion, but as he revealed in an EW interview, there were still some challenges involved. Read on:

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Sanada admitted he wasn't particularly familiar with Scorpion or the Mortal Kombat games prior to taking the role. That didn't stop him enjoying the character's trademark catchphrases though, which set the cast & crew on a roar: "When I performed that signature move with the words in the rehearsal on set for the first time, I had a great reaction..."

Shouting "come here" was just part of his research into the character, which he understood would be scrutinized by fans who "know his weapons and style". While familiarizing himself with the character's history and moves, Sanada also made efforts to infuse his behaviour with genuine Japanese flourish.

"I discussed the fighting style with the choreographer and the stunt team and just jumped into rehearsal," he says. "I tried to create an original style. Since Hanzo Hasashi is a character of Japanese descent, I tried to make authentic movements."

Sanada will play two incarnations of the character, beginning with a ten-minute opening scene, previously revealed by EW, set in feudal Japan. Featured extensively in the red band trailer, it pits Hanzo Hasashi against assassins from the Lin Kuei, presumably leading to his death at the hands of Joe Taslim, who plays Bi-Han - Sub-Zero.

The deviation from established video game canon, which presents the murder as recent history, is similar to the Mortal Kombat: Legacy webseries.

Both of the iconic characters will return hundreds of years later to carry on their vengeful feud in the present day. Scorpion's transformation was one of the aspects that attracted Sanada to the role. He described it as "very tasty" to go from "family man to fighting machine". A blend of "family drama with exceedingly brutal fighting" that also piqued his interest.

"Each fight has a reason with the emotion," he says. "The audience can understand why he's fighting, what he's thinking during the fight."

The 60 year old actor boasted that Scorpion wasn't as physically demanding as some of his samurai roles in the 1980s, but demanded more than some of his well known recent movies, such as The Wolverine, Avengers: Endgame, and 47 Ronin.

EW also revealed a first-look at Hiroyuki Sanada surrounded by flame as the infernal Scorpion. The striking image appeared in the red band trailer, and was also one of the screenshots released to MK Online by Warner Brothers.

Mortal Kombat is officially released to limited theatres and HBO Max on April 16th. Download the MKO App via App Store or Google Play to subscribe to the release day event and share your comments below. Find & discuss more movie news in the Media & Merchandise forum!