Bokeem Woodbine Says ‘I’m Really Happy I Took This Gig’ After Episode 7

Bokeem Woodbine Says ‘I’m Really Happy I Took This Gig’ After Episode 7

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Halo Season 1 Episode 7 “Inheritance.”]

Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) enlisted Soren (Bokeem Woodbine), who’d left the Spartan program when they were younger, to protect Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha), and in the latest Halo episode, he definitely does just that.

Upon hearing that the bounty for Kwan has been tripled, Soren sets out to find her before Vinsher (Burn Gorman) and his men can — and ends up in a dangerous situation as a result. But fast thinking and trusting one another leads to Soren and Kwan coming out on top (and Vinsher dead) before parting ways.

Woodbine takes us inside the episode.

Let’s talk about Soren’s decision to go back for Kwan. Given his promise to John, it was always inevitable, right? But what would you say led to him going when he did in this episode?

Bokeem Woodbine: I think his wife held a mirror up to him and that motivated him to make the decision to go to Kwan.

He’s ready to give up his life for her, right? We see that in this episode, but there is a difference between promising to keep someone safe, operating like you would give your life for another, and actually being in a position where you might.

The thing about him is when he gave his word, he meant it and he’s no saint. [Laughs] They call him a pirate for a reason. But his word is something that he honors.

Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Speaking of him not being a saint, in this episode, his partner and that move with his foot! Soren says it’ll teach him to think before every step he takes and that the others will learn who’s in charge. How much of who Soren is that led to those actions is a result of his time with the UNSC and how much is it who he had to become after leaving?

I think it’s the latter more so. He left at an age where, when you’re on your own in an unknown environment, more often than not, you’ll have to prove yourself. And when you are set apart from others, because of a malady, be it physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, you have an even heavier burden to carry. So he did what he had to do to survive, and it has informed his decision making for the rest of his days.

Is there anything that could make him want to return to the UNSC?

Highly, highly doubtful.

Maybe something involving his family?

That would be an unexpected scenario indeed.

Bokeem Woodbine as Soren in Halo

Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Talk about filming the fight scenes in this episode. Those were pretty intense.

We worked with really, really talented people that wanted to explore the possibilities of hand-to-hand combat, using ballistic weapons and using edged weapons in a scenario where somebody has to dispatch multiple attackers. I’m just grateful that they were as patient and hardworking and brought as much joy to it as they did. We had a great time and it was very challenging because of the limited mobility in the wardrobe and the extreme heat that we had to contend with. For whatever reason, the actor gods, they always make things more challenging. They decided to give us 99, 100, 102 degree temperatures on a lot of those days. It was really a challenge and it was really a lot of fun at the same time.

The wardrobe alone makes it look like it’s hard to move and do the things that you had to do.

Yeah. I’m so glad that they were patient with me and also when you work with people who love what they do, it can be motivating. And I found strength on some of those challenging days just from their upbeatness, I guess you’d say.

At the end of the episode, Soren and Kwan part ways. So what’s next for him? What’s his plan?

I would love to divulge that. However, I got a Spartan mind wipe recently and I’m incapable of remembering these kind of details.

Bokeem Woodbine as Soren in Halo

Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Kwan tells him that they’ll see each other again, and while he says he hopes not, obviously they will. Is there anything you can tease about that or how their dynamic might be different going forward given what they just went through?

You never know which way the wind’s gonna blow on the Halo show.

Do you think he has a new respect for her after what they just did?

Absolutely. He definitely has found a new respect and admiration for her, no question at all.

Do you think at this point, it’s also about him wanting to protect her as much as it is about that promise to John?

I know that it starts out as a promise to John, but sometimes people that you least expect can find a way under the armor.

Bokeem Woodbine as Soren, Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief, Yerin Ha as Kwan Ha in Halo

Adrienn Szabo/Paramount+

Speaking of that promise, I’ve really enjoyed Soren and John’s dynamic. It’s so interesting.

Oh, thanks for saying that. It’s always great working with Pablo because he’s so sincere and it’s always a great time. It’s a lot of fun on set with Pablo and/or with Yerin.

It’s also interesting because John’s still in that world that Soren escaped.

Yeah, absolutely. That always struck me as very interesting as well. And Master Chief is so inscrutable you don’t really know what he’s thinking. But that’s what always gave me pause. I know my motivations, my instincts lead me to acquire things and to enjoy life. That’s what I’m about. But I wonder, what is Master Chief thinking?

What’s been your favorite scene to film?

There are several moments during Episode 7. There wasn’t just a single scene, but there were several moments during Episode 7 that made me feel a great sense of self-gratification and a general sense of gratitude about being a part of the show. It felt like, “Wow, I’m really happy I took this gig.”

We see you in all these different scenarios in this episode: old life, family, what’s going on with Kwan…

Yeah, it was all on the page and we had a great director in Jessica Lowrey and she took a very keen interest in exploring Soren’s life off the battlefield, which I didn’t necessarily perceive as being that interesting from reading this script. But talking with her and hearing her perspective on that made me look at it differently and she helped me formulate an approach to it that probably otherwise wouldn’t have. And I’m glad I did.

At this point in the season who would you say that Soren trusts?

Kessler [Tylan Bailey], his little boy.

Anyone that he has to count on to have his back in the middle of a fight?

[Laughs] Not necessarily.

Halo, Thursdays, Paramount+


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