Q: How does the whole you getting into the game thing come about?
Well they approached me about it, probably a little over a year ago. When they approached me it made sense, especially because we had started developing the movie. So they thought it would be a good fit. I sat down with all the guys from Midway and the developers, the executives, and they laid out a great game plan that was pretty irresistible. Also, I was a big fan of the game, so it made sense. My first question about the game was how it was going to be different? They said it's going to be different because for the first time, now you can step out of the car and play as Alex Decker. So I thought okay, that's really, really cool.
Q: I was watching some of the footage from the behind-the-scenes stuff. Now you were really hands on in creating the game. What got you so excited to just jump in with both feet like that?
Well, I had been involved with a lot of wrestling games in the past, and I knew that- I remembered the fun I had doing that. So then when they came to me and they said you'd do the voiceovers, you'd do the motion capturing, I was like great. And then I said well how much control can I have over, if the character Alex gets out of the car, how much control could I have over how he kills people with his bare hands, you know, because every cat in a video game's got guns, and that's cool. Right? But it's how can make him lethal? And they were like you can have complete control. So the challenge and the cool part about it was how many ways- was trying to think of how many ways I could actually kill somebody with bare hands. By the way, integrating some old school wrestling moves that I used to do as well.
Q: Were you much of a fan of the original Spy Hunter?
Yeah, like way back in the day, when I was a kid, of course. When the original Spy Hunter came out, not only the arcade game, but then there was a system way back in the day, what was it? [Collequovision]. You know, and then and so I was playing it on that. Then, of course, when it came out for the Playstations and all that, I played that too. It was a good, it's a great change for them, just in terms of being able to get out of the car, because for so many years, the Interceptor was the star and not that the Interceptor, the car itself, isn't the star in this game, but at the very least, when you're done driving the Interceptor, you can get out and go whip some ass.
Q: So what's your favorite motor? The Interceptor? Is it the car, the boat, or the motorcycle?
It's going to have to be the car itself because with all the assault weapons on the car, I mean, but mind you, the cool thing is, I mean when that thing like jumps a cliff and it's getting ready to hit the water, and to see parts of it break off and to see it metamorphasize into a boat right before it hits the water, like phooz, and then it's just gone. That's bad-ass. When I saw that, they showed me that, I was like oh, that's great.
Q: Now, when you were as a kid, did you ever think about creating a video game? Or being in one?
I never thought about- I thought about being in one, but then very first time, I think it was in '99 when I first had my first video game out, which was cool. I mean it's cool, man. You know, it really, really is. There's a lot of cool things that happen, you know what I mean, in life. But it's one of those things that, that's when you're like damn. I'm in a video game. And you get to run around telling everybody, well I'm gonna home and play with myself. They're like really? Yeah.
Q: How much time do you find to play video games, these days, with your schedule?
Crazy. Not that much. So what I do, because I love video games, especially sports games, always into Madden, NBA Live, I set it up in my trailer. So I have one in my trailer. So usually like anywhere I go that I know I'm going to have a set amount of time like on a movie set in my trailer, I'll have a system put in the trailer. At my house, I'll have one put in my house. Even in my bedroom, I have one put in the bedroom, so if I can sneak away for five, ten minutes and play, then I do.
Q: If you could trick out the Interceptor hood style, what would you put on it first?
I will put some spinners on it, but you got to like- I would put some spinners on it, but you got to upgrade them a little bit. So as they spun, like bullets would shoot out. So it's be like [shooting sound]. And then what I'd do, is I'd put a voice on it, like I'd put a voice in the car like it talked to you. But not like Kit from Nightrider. Remember that? Not like that. I would probably have someone like Monique when she's like you better get your ass out of here, now, quit playing. You know, or something like that. I don't know, I'd do some crazy stuff like that.
Q: Like what do you remember about the first time you played it and what systems you played it on.
Oh yeah. Okay, well the first time I played it was a long time ago. Well the first time I played it was in the arcade, and at that time it was all about Spy Hunter and Donkey Kong for me. And then the first thing I remember about it was the cool theme, the Peter Gun theme that I thought was great because it was such a catchy iconic- what was going to be an iconic tune. The Interceptor morphing into the motorcycle, into the boat, I just thought that was cool. That was so cool. Plus you got your money's worth.
Q: Adriane Scoriah said that you got offered a lot of video game deals. What was it that made you say yes to this Spy Hunter video game?
Well, number one, I thought it was a good fit considering that we're still developing the movie. And the biggest reason was, after I sat down, you know, I should say, number one we're developing the movie, and number two, I was a big fan. Like it's got to start with that. So I was extremely enthusiastic about being part of this video game. And what did it for me was after I sat down with the executives and the developers at Midway, and they had shown me some storyboard art and, not only that, but then they showed me some great video montage of a very rough cut of what things could possibly look like, and I was blown away by that. Between the details of the game, the graphics, the special effects that they had, the details of the storylines, was very like storyline driven. It felt very much like a movie. And then not only that, but then a big reason for me was I said well, what's going to make this game special is, you know, the player can get out of the car now for the first time, and you can play as Alex. So I said okay, that would be great. And I said, well, how else can we make it special? And then I said well, you know, if everybody shoots guns in video games and that's fine, and they throw grenades and things like that. I said well how much control could I have over the different ways that the character can, let's say, can kill people with his bare hands? They were like, well you got complete control. Oh fantastic. So we came up with a whole bunch of really, really cool, inventive ways to do away with the opponent, so to speak.
Q: What was your experience like for this game? You know, did the mocap and the voice acting and all that kind of stuff.
That was a great experience. You know, it was first class all the way, when you work with those guys and you go down to the studio. Plus it's exciting and it's cool. You know, I had my stunt double there with me to, he's also my cousin who I've known for years. So, he's very familiar with my physical style of fighting. And we put together a whole bunch of great moves and then, of course, I've always thought it was really, really cool too- that was a lot of fun on trying to inject humor where you can, which I thought the character should have, and the game has anyway, which is, which is great.
My main goal was just to be different and be creative than all the other video games out there, because I knew we would match up with the graphics, with how it was, with how hot it was, it was shot with the games like that in that respect. I just wanted it to be really cool and creative, so when you get out and you're able to play as the character, I mean you're putting these moves on people and you're basically killing them with your bare hands, and in ways that I wanted to make sure that people had never seen. So we were able to do that. Then in the voiceovers, I wanted to make sure that we captured humor. I always want to make people smile.
Q: Which [humor] has always been a big thing with you, right?
I think it's vital, especially with a video game like this, and with a lot of the roles I take too - comedy is important. It's import to laugh, but not let people know that you're trying to make them laugh. Situational comedy is always the funniest to me.
Q: Back to the motion capture for just a second - so you're in the very tight outfit. I know I've seen stuff like where they put lights on a person or put things like that to capture the volumne of the motion. Was it like that?
It was totally like that. You put on this special outfit that had these little lights, I don't know, like hundreds of these little lights everywhere. You looked like a walking Christmas tree with all these white lights. And every movement is recorded ... how you move, how you squat, how you run, houw you jump, how you throw a punch, how you fall. You know, how you move, how you look, your jaw when you talk. It's all really, really incredible.
Q: And so you spent, you know, a day with this suit with the lights on, just throwing punches and going around?
Yeah, what we would do is we would, like every movement that you see in the video game, was created by me in this outfit. So what I would do is, when it was time for the character to run, I would run. I would run in a straight line, then I would run laterally, then I would make a quick turn and a cut, then I would squat down. I would act like I'm pulling my gun out of the holster, aim the gun, fire the gun, run away, roll, jump, everything you could possibly think of. It's just like basically, basically shooting a movie, the exact same thing. Then what we would do when it would come time to actually have combat with another character in the movie, I would get the stunt double who, he himself, was completely wired and gigged up and all that in his outfit as well, and we would go over these moves. Again, it was basically like my shooting a movie. Everything was captured on film, only this way, only in this case everything was captured on a computer.
Q: So every move, like if you pick a guy up and throw him against the wall or whatever- I think in the trailer you knock a guy into a, like a beam, like a column or something that's all done with a real person?
We did all that, yup. So I would pick my guy up and he's my stunt double, and he's also my cousin who I've known for years, so, if he got hurt, you know, it's fine. We had to execute all that. Then came time to execute the moves that, in my head, creatively, I wanted to try and execute moves that you had never seen before. So I would think of the most wildest, kind of craziest ways that you could actually inflict punishment on somebody. Clearly, it was in deepest, darkest recessed areas of my brain. Then for those particular moves, I actually got this big, human-sized dummy that I would practice on at first.
Q: So are we going to see stuff like that? Just bear with me for a second. I don't know if you ever played like Dead or Alive or something, where it's martial arts stuff and it's like there's just no way you could do it obviously, but it's really highly exaggerated. People throwing people up, fifty feet in the air and stuff like that. Do any of the moves go over the top?
No. Like none of these are heightened reality. I guess, no nothing, number one, to answer your question, nothing over the top. Very, very real. What I would do is like say for example, there's, there was a host of wrestling moves that I would do back in the day when I was wrestling that would be pretty big, like visually awesome moves. But the key at that time, as you know, was to make sure that I wouldn't hurt, really, really hurt the guy I was in there with. I would protect him as best I could. While now what I do is I think okay, I'm going into this process, I want to take those moves that look visually stunning in the ring that I used to do, and if I were to do them on someone and try to maim them or kill them, how would I do it? So I, you know, so basically I would do those moves, only not protecting that person and landing them literally on their head, and then trying to crush their spine, crush their neck. I mean, it was a lot of fun. So you'll see stuff like that where, when you see it, when I watch the back, they showed me the moves, you get like the big holy shit moment.
Q: Do they have sound effects like that in there? Do you?
Oh of course. You have to have the sound effects, but not over the top, you know, where it's like [crushing sound], not like that. You know, there's, for example, there's a neck break in there which they wanted it to be as realistic as possible, we all did. So, when you actually, when you snap a neck, it's like you hear a lot of, you know, crunch, crunch, crunch.
Q: This character, in particular, is very interesting because you're going to be playing Alex Decker on the big screen, how does familiarity with one medium help the other with the cross media franchise, like Spy Hunter?
Well I think what's important and what's great with what Midway was able to do, was to create a very, very creative and very detailed storyline. Then not only that, but before actually making the movie, I was able to, as you know, uh, do the mocap, do the voice stuff, and it gave me a small window of opportunity to become this character. The things that I thought- in speaking, for example with Jeff Gordon and Adrianne as well, and we talked about the importance of making Alex like very much similar to Harrison Ford's character in Indiana Jones, where the stakes were high, there was always a high level of anticipation in every scene, like what was going to happen, but not only that, he never lost his sense of humor, and I thought that was really important. So I thought that was s how Midway helped me, which is great. I think whenever we do make the movie, I would have already been there, just in terms of the character. I was making sure that Alex, like the big thing with me was always that he was superior physically, which was fine, but he never lost his sense of humor as well.
Q: What can fans expect from the movie once it is filming?
Well I think that they can expect great story, well written. Not overcomplicated. And funny. And great action. Great action. Some of the set pieces that were written already absolutely mind blowing by Stewart Beatty. I'm not too sure if Adrianne told you, but he was writing away. So it's really fantastic.
Q: One thing Adrianne did say was that you understood that the car was kind of one of the main stars of this film. Can you talk a little about the Interceptor and what role it plays in the movie?
I think the car is like the co-star, if you will, of the movie, with how it morphs into a motorcycle, into a boat, and it's the most advanced weapons assault vehicle on the planet. And then it's great, and eventually, Alex has this relationship with this car, the only thing that's missing is the car talking.
Q: What are your thoughts on this whole video game to film trend that's going on in Hollywood. There's over forty different projects in the works right now.
I know. Well, of course coming from Doom, which was a video game that we made into a movie, I think that what we found is a lot of times- and it's like with anything though, in the entertainment industry as you move into- in regards to making movies of something that's successful. You know, a lot of times a successful video game doesn't always equate to a successful movie. I think there are some- there were some video game movies out there that were made that were good, some not so good, some that were pretty damn good, and some getting ready to come out that I, that I anticipate will be great. So, let's see how it happens. You know, video games, by the way, they're just so advanced and the story lines are so advanced now, that really make things interesting as a gamer. And then if there's a way that you can capture that on screen and then if you have a great writer, you have a great director, and you've got some great actors on board to portray those characters, then you really, really got a shot at doing something special.
Q: Was there anything that you personally learned from working on the Doom movie that might help translate into the Spy Hunter movie?
It all comes down to the writing. You know, John, it's like you know that. So, I think, and that's not a knock to how Doom was written, because Doom was very straightforward and, by the way, that's the way it should have been. There wasn't a lot of room. We made it for a very specific audience. And, I mean to this day, I was happy with the way the movie turned out. And I was happy the way that was written. Like a Spy Hunter, or like a Halo, where the storylines are really, really strong and have a lot of depth involved and the characters are really well written. I think it's important to make sure that that transcends into the screenplay, and then of course, hopefully, ultimately, onto the screen.
Q: Why do you think more Hollywood talent like yourself, John Woo, Peter Jackson, Vin Diesel are all getting more actively involved in video games today?
Well I think they see the, the possibilities, the positive possibilities, especially with not only the massive success of video games, and the massive loyal following that the gamers give. You know, I think it all comes down to the writing and a lot of these video games are, are really, really cool ideas. And if you can capture that on screen, then you've got a shot at being successful. You know, and that's what everybody strives for anyway, is just a shot and always looking for something that's creative. Always looking for something that's going to move people in some way in any genre, whether it's action, horror, comedy, sci-fi. You know, that's what I think.
Q: Being a gamer, do you see yourself getting more involved on the gaming side of things? You know, Vin Diesel's got his own Tigon Studios. John Woo and Peter Jackson have all got involved in games. Is that something that is of interest to you?
Possibly. You know, and again, well being a gamer, it does. If the material's right and if there's a way to come up with a cool idea conceptually, if we could turn that into a game, that would be great. The funny thing is they're like conceptually we've developed a couple of movies that we actually sat down and go you know what? This would probably make a better video game. So possibly yeah, in the future. Sure.
Q: Would you return to the Spy Hunter character on the game side? I know Adrianne has plans for many movies, but on the game side?
Oh sure, in a second. I think with what I've already seen from the developers and what they've shown me, the footage that they've shown me, the response that the game has gotten. When they've shown it to people out there, sure, I would. Sure, I definitely would. We'll see how the first one turns out, but from what I could see now, all indications are- You know, as long as we can compete too, by the way, which is very, very important. I know that everybody at Midway shares that same sentiment. As long as we can compete with the other games out there because every year, as you know, the story lines become more involved, the characters become more involved and we've got to up the ante. So if there's more creative ways that we can bring humor and ass-kickin', yeah.
Q: What games are you playing now?
I'm the king of Madden. I'm the absolute, unequivocal king of Madden '06. I play it by myself, but I am the king.
Q: Are we going to see like if someone is a fan of your wrestling career, are we going to pick up moves that, from back in the day that we might recognize?
Oh definitely. Yeah, there's a couple of signature moves in there that I put. For example, like the rock bottom was a big finishing move for me, signature move. So we did that. And there's different versions of [suplexes] and things like that that I learned from a lot of Japanese wrestlers, that if they're performed the way they're supposed to be performed, they're highly, highly dangerous. So then I just took it to another level. It's just crazy the stuff we were coming up with. And it was awesome. I saw it all back and I couldn't be happier. It was great.
Q: Is the Spyhunter movie script done?
No. It's constantly being reworked. You know, it's interesting because it's like with this type of movie, you always want to get it right and it's, not only is it a big movie, but it's an important movie to get right considering the climate out there of spy espionage movies. And I think Mission Impossible 3 is going to be coming out. You have new James Bond movies. Things like that, so it's important that if you capture it and you take a swing, it's important that you capture it, you take a swing, and you hopefully hit a home run with it. So, not it's just in contra development, and as you start to- it's like your, for example, your Mission Impossible 3 starts to unfold because they're shooting it, it's like okay, well, then you start to go back to the drawing board and have, and have to recreate certain plot points in your movie, so it doesn't seem like you're too similar or it doesn't seem like you're copying off something great.
You know, and the great thing about Spy Hunter, which I've always loved is, in it's essence this guy hunts spies. For example, it's like okay well if, who's the guy who hunts James Bond? I want to be that guy. So, in its essence, it's that simple. But then as you start to challenge yourself and you bring great writers on board, and you get a great studio behind it and that's when, things become not only challenging, somewhat complicated, very important, that you feel fresh, that the story feels fresh. Very important to me that we find humor in it. Very much like Indiana Jones, you know? Where the stakes were high, but yet, in every scene, Spielberg was making you smile somehow, and Harrison Ford, of course, did in the way he played Indiana. But yeah, all that's vital. Very, very vital.
Q: I hear you got to kick some ass at the motion capture session, man. You know, what'd you put those stunt people through?
Big time ass whooping. Let me see, what we did was, I thought, to be number one, creative with the game. And I knew that the developers over at Midway with Spy Hunter were going to create a game that's going to not only compete but it's going to kick ass on screen, visually, from the graphics to the storyline, like everything's really on point. And then I thought from my end, my responsibility was to bring a mode of action that you had never seen before. So, of course, I had my, an array of weapons that I used which is cool, and a lot of characters in video games have that. But then I thought how can I creatively maim and bring death upon someone with my own two hands. So what I did was I had my stunt double, who I think you know is my cousin that I have with me in all my movies. We went through an array of moves and tried to create just really cool ways where people would, I wanted the big S-H moment, which is the big holy shit moment when you actually played it. So, and then what I did, I took a lot of the wrestling moves that I used to do, that you're familiar with, I took a lot of the wrestling moves that I used to do from, between the rock bottom to, for example, like the jack knife, like I would do a jack knife. In the game I do a jack knife, but instead of bringing the opponent down twisting and turning on, on his back, like I'd bring him straight down like a death valley driver. And only like directly on his head.
Yeah, so I mean it's the greatest. You know, so I took a lot of those moves that you would find from Japanese wrestlers and instead of protecting the guy, like I would do in wrestling, I would just literally bring them down on their head and try and break their neck and any possible- I mean it's just awesome. So I was able to do that, man, and I had to go out and buy my stunt double a lot of meals after that.
Q: Did you drop the people's elbow from a roof of a car or anything like that?
No, no, no. Didn't do anything like that because the key is like you can- we can put these moves in there, but I think the minute you start dropping like a people's elbow or something like that, then it kind of takes- I didn't want to take the player out of the game.
They're still a way like in combat to do like a rock bottom, but only through something. You know, and there's a way to do all these other moves that looks visually stunning, and plus you're breaking necks. And it, so it makes it really, really cool.
Q: So did they throw you in that spandex suit?
Of course, man! My favorite suit! They threw me in the spandex suit for hours.
Q: Oh man, did they have all the ladies lined up watching that one?
All the ladies watching and they realized why they call me the Rock and there were three dudes who were standing by too, so I don't know what deal was. But it was cool.
Q: That's cool. What's some of like your favorite lines you got to say in the game?
I can't- let me think. Well, for example, there's a line where you know, a guy's pointing a gun at me, and in a very Clint Eastwoodesque way, it's didn't anybody ever tell you it's rude to point? You know, quickly dismantle him and break his neck and stuff like that. You know, the voiceovers are really, really cool because I think, you know, what's great about the voiceovers is it's the opportunity to inject humor, in an otherwise very serious situation. You know, you're talking about spies and espionage and people trying to kill you and you trying to kill the bad guys. So very serious in its tone. The great thing about the voiceovers, again, is you inject humor where you can, but not too over the top comedy where you allow the player to know that, oh, I'm trying to make you laugh. You know what I mean? It's very situational, which was great. So that's what I love about the voiceover. And there's a lot of cool, funny lines in there. Gets a lot of laughs.
Q: But for Spy Hunter, what's the basic story? Like who are you playing? I guess it's based off the movie, like what's your character's name?
My character's name is Alex Decker. He is the, in his essence, the hunter of spies, bad spies. Turncoat spies if you will. And he searches the globe for these people and he's on a mission. And without getting overcomplicated with the storyline, he has the world's greatest weapon, and it happens to be the Interceptor, that, as you know, morphs into a boat, into a motorcycle. I mean that thing is bad-ass. When they showed me the footage of what, a very rough cut by the way, of what it was going to look like, I mean that thing was, it was on a cliff and it hit that, like it raced off the cliff as the Interceptor, and right as it was about to hit water, that theme kind of kicked in, the musical score, and then it started to morph and pieces started to fall off, and it just turned right into a boat as soon a it hit water. Boom! Bad-ass. As soon as it hit the land again, whoosh, right into a motorcycle. It was awesome.
Q: Are all your new movies roles part of video games? You had Doom, now you got Spy Hunter.
I know. I know. No, it just kind of worked out that way. You know, with Spy Hunter actually fell into my lap prior to Doom, but between, you know, when you hire new writers, and it's such a big project, it requires time and patience and creative writing. So you don't want to rush anything. We certainly didn't. So, and then Doom, came up and I was excited about that. I had played the game before, and not only that, but then it's like okay, now I can be part of a genre that I'd never been, made a movie, which was the video game- not necessarily video game genre as much as what it's like the sci-fi horror genre.
Q: What's your favorite role, since you made this switch to movie, like what's the favorite thing you've done so far?
The fav- well let me see. I had a lot of fun with the character I played in Be Cool. I also had a lot of fun with the rundown. But to date, my favorite role so far is a movie that hasn't been out yet. It's called Grid Iron Gang.
It'll be out in September, which I'll probably do something with the ESPN magazine again too as well. But yeah, it's just an amazing true story about hope. Hope for kids who lost their hope long ago. I'll just say that. And also, you know, [inaudible] I mean there's a lot of things that are getting ready to come out that I'm really excited about.
Q: So when you see all the build up for Wrestlemania, man, I mean does it make you kind of get the itch to go back?
Not necessarily. It doesn't give me the itch to go back, you know, I get excited for those guys because I know what's going to happen, and I know the type of event that Wrestlemania is. So I get excited for my boys, you know, a lot of the, between [Curt Angle] and John [Seena] and you know, all those cats. Ray [Mystereo] who are there now, I know the night that that is. So it's a great opportunity for those guys to shine, so I look forward to it. I don't have an itch to go back as much as I do just when I watch the show, I get how can I say it? I get kind of like antsy and frustrated like a lot of things that I see, I'm like damn, I wish they would of said this. I wish they would have done this. Uh, I wish this dude would have said this in response to that.
Q: But back to Spy Hunter, I was wondering, what's your character in the Spy Hunter game get to do that you wish you could do in real life, man?
Good question. In real life, let me think. I wish I had that car. In real life I wish I had that car that just had these amazing weapons on it. Because there's nothing worse than L.A. traffic. I get out on that 405 man, if I could blow all those sons of bitches off that road just to get to where I need to go, which is probably a pizza joint.
Q: Why did you have such faith in this thing that you were willing to get involved, not knowing what the script was going to be, not knowing who the director was going to be, basically just knowing that it was based on this game that you used to play when you were six?
Well, at that time, I had faith in the studio, in Universal Studios and I had faith in the writer that we were, that we were hiring to write. That, that's what I had faith in. And since then, we've brought on, we've had some great drafts. We brought on Steward Beatty who wrote Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as Collateral, so his ability to write is really terrific. So, and since then we've had John Woo was attached to direct. He had to get off because he had to go do another movie, which is totally understandable. But now we're still just developing the movie and so that's what I had faith in. I had faith in the studio and, and the writers.
Q: Now did you, because you got to come on early, did you get to say like- did you have any involvement in like, you know, who is going to direct it? Who is going to be cast in it?
Yeah, that's all part of that process that I always get involved in, that I think it's vital for an actor to get involved, especially as the lead actor in a movie. I think it's vital that you participate. Plus, it's a very big collaborative effort with me. I'm a collaborative type of guy. I love that, so it's important. So you know, what'll happen is the studio will come to me with a list of directors who they feel can do a great job. We'll go through it, I'll meet with every single one of them, sit down, if it takes one meeting, two meetings, three meetings, fine. Whatever the case may be. When it comes time to cast for the casting, I'll meet with all the actors. I'll sit down, I'll read with them, I usually do that with every movie. It's vital to see what kind of vibe you have, what kind of energy flows. You know, a lot of times like two people you think on paper might work out well. As soon as they get in the room together it's like, it's not jiving for some reason.
Q: Now were you a fan of the original game?
I was. A big fan of the original game. And when they came to me with the idea, of course we were still in the development of the movie. So Midway came to us with the idea about me being involved with this. So my first question was well how, how is this game going to be different? And how can it compete? And they said well it's going to be different. For the first time, the fans of the video game Spy Hunter are going to be, they're going to be able to get out of the car and actually become this character who's been driving this car all this time.
So I thought, oh great, okay. And then I thought, okay, well how else can we compete because, the video game market out there is just so ultra competitive and once you get out, you know, everybody has every type of gun that they use, which is cool, and that's great, when you want to shoot bad guys and things like that. I said, but how can we be creative and, um, how can we maim and bring death to the opponents creatively with my bare hand?
Well, you've got an open book. Let's just write it. So I sat down with the developers, I got a great stunt double, and we just came up with some really bad-ass moves. I was looking for what I call like the, the H.S. moment, you know, where you play it and once the move is executed, you're like holy shit!!
Q: What are your next two movies about?
Grid Iron Gang is just one of those special movies, it really is. Every once in a while a movie comes along that's not your big $150 million dollar War of the Worlds budget type of movie. It's a movie about hope for kids that lost their hope long ago. Quick story about it is it's a true story. It took place about fourteen years ago in a prison for kids up in the mountains in Santa Monica, or actually in Malibu. And it was a probation officer who knew that the system was a failing system. Technically, 75% of the kids who are in prison, when they get out, 75% end up back in jail or they die in the streets. So the system was failing. He was sick of how it was being- how it was not correcting kids in the way that it was meant to. So he decides to start a football team and, you know, by the way, these kids are Bloods, Crips, SA, never played football before, didn't give a shit about anything, didn't respect authority, certainly didn't respect themselves. And then he made a promise to them. He said, listen, even though you've never played football, even though you all hate each other, if you trust me, uh, it's August now, come December after the season, no one will ever call you losers again, even though you're locked up. So, they thought he was completely full of shit. It's based off of a Emmy Award winning documentary that I saw, that was hosted by Louis Gossett Junior. And it was incredibly moving and I was lucky to have gotten the role and played this guy, who was in the south quarter. So anyway, what happens, Paul, is they go on, they get their ass kicked the very first game. First of all, the problem was no high schools wanted to play them 'cause they said why, why, why would we play criminals? They're in prison. They don't deserve to play. They found a Christian school out in Agorah to play them, get them a whole schedule, they get beat the first game, beat the second game, they tie the third game, then they all realize, they said look, we just don't want to be losers any more. And they go on to have this incredible season, they go on to the championship game. He becomes coach of the year. He's never ever coached before. It's incredible. So. It one of those movies that just moves you. Really, really moves you.
Um, anyway, so that, and what Southland Tales' about, Southland Tales is written and directed by Richard Kelly who had written and directed Donny Darko. He's a really, really, it's just a great interesting director and writer, wrote Domino. Anyway, I play a paranoid schizophrenic who, well first I should tell you, I play a Hollywood actor who becomes a paranoid schizophrenic, that's a stretch. And I can foresee the future. It's really, really complicated. But it's awesome. It's myself, Sam Rochelle Geller, Sean William Scott, it's a pretty big cast. I've admitted it to the Can- [Can Film] Festival.
Q: I bet when you were wrestling, you probably never thought you'd get to go to the Cannes Film Festival.
Not so much. No. I knew that I wanted to become an actor, I just didn't- the only medium I knew was television, because we were doing four hours of television. And I would write all these crazy long monologues that were always just funny. And that was a constant battle that I had back then, which was, you know, like why are you always trying to be funny? I said well, you just can't always just be yelling all the time in wrestling. Even though they do. But no, never thought I would, and it's, it would be great, and it's great. So things are great buddy, you know?
It does sound to me, I mean one of the things that strikes- there's a couple things that strike me about you, but one thing that strikes me about you is you could very easily just be action movie guy, and it seems like, like you like doing action movies, but at the same time you like doing sort of other things. Like when you were in Be Cool, like, you know.
It's important. It's important to me. Number one, it's important to me to be challenged. I challenge myself. It would be easy just to do action movies all the time. Um, then it gets boring. That's boring to me, and I think it's boring to the audience. I love comedy and you know, in the right situations, if the material's right. I take it, I'll take it in a second. You know, I wanted to challenge myself with Richard Kelly. I wanted to challenge myself, by the way with Grid Iron Gang, where you play a real guy.
Q: Start with, when you were growing up, what were your favorite TV shows?
Okay. So Family Ties, the Jeffersons, The Facts of Life, ooh, oh Blair. Remember Blair? Whoo.
Q: Okay. What show did you love either as a kid or when you got a little bit older, do you think that got cancelled like well before its time?
Good question. I can tell you a show now that I'm pissed that got cancelled is Arrested Development. I loved that show. I can't believe it still hadn't really found its audience, at least a network.
Q: So the flip side of that is, what show that you did like, do you think like just went on too long? Like it jumped the shark so to speak?
I think Good Times went on a little bit too long. Once James died, it just kept going on. It's like oh man, come on.
Q: What are some of your new favorite shows?
Oh my new favorites? It'd have to be, that's easy. Well my all-time favorite show, for years now, is America's Most Wanted. I love that show. I had a chance to meet the host, John, it was great to meet him. That show, I love 24, I love Forensic Files, I love [Panatella's] Bullshit, a Showtime show. I got to say, Grays Anatomy. I can't get myself to say Dr. McDreamy too many times. But no, I love all those characters. They're great.
Q: Have you ever been invited to a party or something and you were just like no, I'm not going. I have to stay home and watch whatever show?
DJ: I remember being invited to the, I think it was the Golden Globes party and I was, I remember I specifically had to something, some sort of interview, like there on the red carpet or something, and then I had to miss it because the playoffs were happening, and I think the Raiders were in the playoffs at that time, and somebody else awful.
Q: What TV shows have you bought on DVD.
Extreme Makeover, Home Edition. The Family Guy, that's another one of my favorites. Arrested Development. Oh my God, The Office, the English version, have you see that?
Q: Do you have a favorite TV character?
it's a tossup between Sean Hays' character on Will and Grace, and the guy on Arrested Development, he was actually going to be cast in a movie that I was going to do. His name is Will Arnett
Q: Now when you sit down to watch TV, what kind of snacks do you like to have?
Right now. I got my kettle corn, microwaveable kettle corn, and all I got to do is look in my fridge. And I got these protein wafer bars, they're called Power Crunch. Throw a bunch of those big daddies down. And a nice shot of SoCo never hurt.
Q: Do you have a favorite sports show?
A favorite sports show would have to be In Their Own Words on the NFL network. And if you're unfamiliar with that, In Your Own Words is typically they get coaches, great coaches, and it's like a thirty minute to an hour show- I think it's thirty minutes, might even be an hour. And they chronicle their life and everything that they've gone through and it's in their own words because they sit down and they talk about what they've been through, and they talk about the decisions they've made and why. The one thing you get out of that show is number one, there's, they're great coaches and I'm a big sports fan, a big football fan. So, I would say that show. That, and Best Damn Sports Show.
Q: Do you have any fond memories of playing Spy Hunter as a kid?
Yeah, for sure. The very first time I played it was, I remember there was a crowd of people around the video game, a video game at the arcade. And there were actually two that were really popular at that time. One was Donkey Kong. The other was Spy Hunter. So, I loved playing Spy Hunter. What really got me with Spy Hunter was aside from the fact that it was almost like really getting your money's worth because you got to play as the car, as the boat, as the motorcycle.
But that cool theme, at that time, that Peter Gun thing, and at that time I didn't know that it was going to become this iconic theme. At that time it was just like a cool song.
Q: Now in the Spy Hunter game, your character, Alex Decker, he actually gets out of the car for the first time. Now, do you think this makes Spy Hunter the next Knight Rider?
Okay, well let me tell you something. Comparing Michael Knight to Alex Decker is like comparing wine to vinegar. Alex doesn't care about really, you know, wearing the coolest jeans or the coolest jacket. He just has one mission, which is to hunt down spies and to kick ass like there's no tomorrow.
Q: Talk a little bit about the Interceptor. How would you pimp out your car like the Interceptor?
That's a good question. What I would do is I would have to call my boy exhibit. We would get together and I would put number one, I will put spinners on, like the wheels. Spinners. And as they spun, as you stopped at a red light, the spinners just shot bullets so it's like do-do-do-do-do as it was spinning. Then what I would do is I would have to get like, let me see what I would do. Then after that I would have to put the Monique voice in there. You gotta put Monique voice in there, you know what I mean? And if there's like somebody like crossing the street, you know, the funny thing, I live in Florida and I live in L.A. And I always find myself in Florida stopping for people at the crosswalk. Where in Florida, you don't have to do that. But here in California you have to. But I'd put the Monique voice in there so when we stop and if they're not crossing the street fast enough, then Monique is like get your f**king ass going bitch.
Q: What's the most beat-up car you've ever owned?
I can tell you right now. It was a 1979 blue, I should say, sky blue Thunderbird, that I bought on music row in Nashville, Tennessee when I was 15 years old from a crackhead.
Q: Have you pulled any Spy Hunteresque moves while you've been driving, ever?
I'd like to pull a Spy Hunteresque move when I'm stuck in L.A. traffic, you know what I mean? Like a pit stop, blowing those sons of bitches right off the road. And the funny thing is it's like in L.A. you start to realize it's like 11:00 in the morning, 12:20 in the afternoon, packed on the highway. Packed! Like bumper to bumper and you're thinking what the f**k is going on? Why are these people not at work? And then you realize oh, well, everybody- they're actors.
Q: Now, you had mentioned the Peter Gun song before, what do you listen to when you're behind the wheel?
Oh man. Usually everything. I mean I'm one of those, I drive people crazy when I'm driving because I'm constantly flipping. So on XM satellite, like I flip between Bluesville to Hank's Place, to uh, the comedy, the comedy station that they have, to- and what's great is I drive caddy's and Mercedes, and on the Mercedes, Mercedes has- they don't have XM, they have Cirrus Satellite. What's great about Cirrus Satellite is, they have your blues, they have your old school country if you want that, your hip hop, which is cool, but they also have reggae and they also have a station dedicated to Elvis.
Q: I wanted to know what is it about Miami football that creates this aura of dominance? Like where does that swagger that they have come from?
Well, Hank Williams Jr. said it's a family tradition. And that's what you have at the University of Miami. When you first get there, it's instilled in you right away, two things, one, is to graduate. Number two, is to win the national championship. It's not to have the winning season. It's not to go 50-50, it's not to win the conference, it's not to win the bowl game, it's to win the national championship. And when I was down there and that was passed onto us, we passed it on to the guys after us. Those guys, your Vilmas, your Shockeys of the world, passed it on to the guys once they left. You have one goal in mind. Not only is it to win the national championship, but your thought process is that no one will ever outwork you or outplay you. Simple. And in that process, you start to realize things like there's things in your workout habits, your tendencies, the commitments that you make, the sacrifices that you make. You know, and you don't, you know, there's a saying, there's also a saying that we have down there called it's a [Cane] Thing and you really wouldn't understand. You don't understand and I didn't understand till I got down there what it meant. Now every school has pride, as well they should. But down in Miami, we took pride in beating the school before we even stepped on the field. Now whether that meant talking shit-
Oh, we prided ourselves on that [talking shit], which it was out of that that I was able to spawn the character of the Rock, from down there in Miami. All those days of trash talk. Yeah, and I just remember that from little things, idiosyncratic tendencies. Like you don't, when you run, you never ever bend over. You know, little things like that. What else?
John: I was just going to ask, are there any lessons that you've learned from your coaches at Miami that you've gone on to use in your wrestling career and now in your acting career?
Q: Are there any lessons that you've learned from your coaches at Miami that you've gone on to use in your wrestling career and now in your acting career?
I was under Coach Erickson. I had a great defensive line coach in Bob Carmella, which is still in the NFL now. Rick Petrie was another great coach who I had. But, you know, it's, what it is John, it's the mentality of committing yourself to a goal and sacrificing so many things. And not only sacrificing so many things to attain that goal, to achieve that goal, failing, dealing with that. You know, because once we knew we were not winning the national championship, season's over. And that happened to us, we won the national title once, played for it again another three times. But no, it was, it's again learning to deal with that failure. Going back to the drawing board. Having pride, being like the number one defense in the league and stuff like that. So, I would say that. What I took from Miami would have to be committing myself to a goal. Sacrificing. And doing whatever it took to get the job done. And I took that with me, by the way, I took that in wrestling, the exact same thing of- even though a world of showmanship and entertainment, while still committing myself to be the greatest entertainer. Failing a couple of times took, as well, not knowing where my career was going to go, being very, very unsure.
Q: And do you keep in touch with many of the Miami alumni?
Sure. Rick Lewis and Warren Sapp. Both those guys, you know, and I played with those guys. We were like in the trenches together. And you learn a lot from those guys too. You know? We learned a lot from each other. But it's almost- it's one of the things, it's life lessons that you learn once, and you realize them more once you're gone, because when you're there and you're in the fire, and it's happening, and you're in the moment, you're really not thinking about that. But once you leave, like I have, they're still in the game, which is great. Now that I've gotten out and I've had a chance to do a lot of things, you start to realize, that's what I took from those guys. It's funny, because a lot of times, like I can remember probably about thirteen or fourteen things that I learned from my professors.
Q: How was it to have Warren take your position from you? Was that something that just had to be done, or?
Well I'm sure it had to be done on his end because he wasn't- his mentality was well, nothing's holding me back. My mentality was the exact same, well nobody's going to take what's mine. I worked hard for this. But the truth is, John, is you know, once, we still, I accepted my role once he beat me out for my position. And I knew then that I would watch him play. I, I had what Coach Carmello was called great upper body violence, which is a cool-ass term. I love that. So, but when I played with Warren and watching Warren, like I clearly saw then an amazing player, as I did with Ray Lewis. So I knew, I realized my role and the best thing I could do was just learn as much as I possibly could from Warren. And so we all had the same work habits, you know what I mean? Like we would work, we'd bust our ass together. It's like we would live and die together, that's what we would do. So it was great playing with him. And even then, like it was really remarkable to see.
Q: All right, you pretty much said the Interceptor could kick from Nightrider's ass. Can the Interceptor beat Robocop?
Ooh. Hands down. Whoop Robocop's ass.
Q: And the last one they wanted me to ask, all right it's Interceptor, you and the Interceptor versus the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park, who wins?
I got to give it to the Interceptor, only because he's accompanied by myself.
Q: What's your favorite move in the game?
Favorite move? Well there's like three or four of my favorite moves in the game that we practiced, practiced, and then actually did it in the motion capturing session where, instead of, you know, there's like certain moves that you could do where it's like over the head, I'd life the person over the head, and in one motion, it's hard for me to describe, but it's like bringing someone down full force with all their weight right on top of their head, and you're behind the, you're behind- you're making sure that there's enough force-
Let me see, there's like crazy moves that have no name. And what I would do was, what I did, I thought back to the days that I was wrestling. In wrestling there was some really, really dangerous moves if they're not performed correctly. If they're not performed- in order to get the most out of it visually for the fans, but then also want to make sure that you protect your opponent. And you don't actually hurt them. Well then I thought, how can I take variations of these moves and actually kill somebody?
I remember the crazy-ass van that would pull up and you'd go inside and get your weapons and you'd come out like fully loaded with- you know, you'd come out with oil slicks and missiles or whatever would- so I mean are there pretty cool power ups in this game?
Really, really cool. You know, and yeah, it's obviously advanced like more than the smoke screen, oil slick things like that. I mean, just, not only graphically, but yeah, between the machine guns, the lasers, everything that the ability that the Interceptor has, that the boat Interceptor has, that the motorcycle Interceptor has, the biggest power up of the game is when Big Daddie Rock gets out and starts whooping ass all over the place. That's the biggest.
Q: Are you a good driver?
I'm the best driver on the road.
Q: What do you drive?
Like Roger Miller, I'm king of the road. Like just the cars I drive? well let me tell you. These are my toys. I got an awesome Mercedes that I just had made, custom Mercedes, you'd never find anything like it on the road. It's awesome. Um, black, 500, redid the body, great wheels on there. Uh, it talks to me, tells me how fine I am. It tells me hey, like, you need to brush your teeth. Um, I got that, and I got a, I'm a big truck guy too. I just, I love trucks so, F250, between that, Escalade truck, whole bunch of, whole bunch of trucks. I love trucks.
Q: Between you and Vin Diesel, who would win in a fight?
Let me tell you something right now, I would knock his ass into next week, and then I'd whip his ass for leaving.
Q: Because you know, I had some friends who grew up in Hawaii and just love the fact that you come from family of wrestlers and that your grandma was a promoter as well. And I just wondered if you could share an anecdote or two of what that was like.
Well, it was a, it was everything, Harold, that life is at that time. It was fantastic. It was awful. It was struggling, it was rewarding. It was so many, many things. At that time, I did, as you know, I do come from a long line of wrestlers, professional wrestlers. And my grandmother, when my grandfather passed away in 1982, he was running the wrestling promotion in Hawaii. His dying wish was that she continue with the business, and kept it going. So she then became the first woman promoter in professional wrestling. So she kept the business going, but at that time, there wasn't a million dollar contract. There wasn't a lot of money to be made. You know, the wrestling business at that time, and essentially for us, was like very hippsiesque lifestyle. So it was tough. It was really, really tough in Hawaii. It was tough, kind of all over. Like, you know, like the movie, things are tough all over. But again, it was, it was everything that life is to us today. It was awesome, it was the shits. It was wonderful and beautiful, and it was tough too as well.
Q: That's great. Yeah, no I hear you. There's been sometimes when you look back, you know, that struggle makes everything that you have now, it certainly, you know, even more worthwhile.
I, that's a great point buddy. I wouldn't change anything. It's part of my constitution and all the struggles that she had gone through and, you know, it's like between her and my mom. You know, and I'm, very fortunate in the sense that, that I've always been surrounded by just very, very strong women. So the amount of respect I have for women, period. So I'm fortunate. And I'm fortunate that my grandmother's still with us. Uh, and between my mom and as much as she struggled, so, and now, you know, between surround- I've got a house full of estrogen, man.
Q: They asked me to ask you a couple of questions at VH1 about movies and one of the things they're doing is like a special horror thing. And so do you have a favorite horror movie?
I love horror movies. I'm a big horror junkie. Favorite horror movie of all time would have to be the original Amityville Horror. And probably, you know, between the original Amityville Horror and The Shining. I was going to say the Omen too. Yeah, the Omen's up there. Exorcist of course, is just a classic and it's in a class all by itself.
Q: Well, of your movies, which would you consider, I mean you probably get it all the time, but which would you consider your favorite so far?
My favorite so far, um, I love the, I love- well I loved Be Cool. I loved that. I loved working with that cast and that cast of characters and you know, being with Vince [Vaughn] every day, and Travolta and those guys. And not only that, but creating that character from scratch of Elliott [Wear], you know, is just a struggling actor in Hollywood who wants to make it, who can see his dream so crystal clear, but yet not having what he deemed, you know, appropriate opportunities. And the fact that he was gay and hearing you know, and being chastised for it at times, but yet at some times thinking that you know, these guys are going to get their come uppens. So I loved that role and my favorite so far hasn't come out yet. My favorite will be in September. I got a movie coming out called Grid Iron Gang. It's really special, and it's a true story. Full on true story by the way, like there were no plots or storylines that we took liberty with. It was, it's based off of an Emmy Award winning documentary that was shot about thirteen years ago and it's a true, it takes place inside of a prison for kids, here in Los Angeles, and how I like to describe it is just saying it's a movie about hope for kids who lost their hope long ago.
Q: Well that's great. And I mean that's especially cool, I mean, I haven't seen the script or anything, but especially cool because you wanted to be at one point a football player yourself.
I did. You know, it's funny. Not only did I want to be a pro football player, and I always tell people I'm an actor and also a failed professional football player. But I also wanted to work in law enforcement. That was my- I majored in criminology. So, I was able to play a probation officer who's still alive today, who really gave a shit about kids. He truly did. And had no idea he was doing something that special. That he was going to turn lives around. So, in between that and then the football aspect of the story was great for me. Great. It's one of those things where you come to work and you're just like, you know, this is great.
Q: And my last, and it's a very short question, will you play Spy Hunter the game when it comes out?
Oh, of course. Absolutely. Yeah. And then I, then I'm able to go- I can run tell everybody I'm going home to play with myself. So of course, I anticipate a great game, so I'm going play it for sure.