Wednesday, May 5, 2010 Interview: Steve Austin Leaves 'Stone Cold' Alter Ego Behind In 'The Condemned'

Source: Movies
Originally Posted on: Apr 27 2007 6:02 AM EDT
Steve Austin Leaves 'Stone Cold' Alter Ego Behind In 'The Condemned'
The ex-wrestler talks about his first starring role — and why he doesn't 'want to be called the action guy.'
By Shawn Adler

LOS ANGELES — Whatever you do, don't tell Steve Austin that he's made to be an action star. The man formerly known as "Stone Cold" could beat you six ways till Sunday, but these days he's more proud of delivering dialogue than he is of fighting.

Call it Austin 3:17 — the belief the former wrestler has that the best surprises are yet to come. Austin recently sat down with MTV News at the Wizard World comics convention to discuss, among other things, how he learned all that tricky dialogue for his first starring role — as Jack Conrad in "The Condemned," which opened Friday (April 27).

MTV: These are the first press notes we've ever read that come with the characters' rap sheets.

Steve Austin: Ha! Really?

MTV: Yeah. Your character — he seems like another one of those bad-guy heroes we all root for.

Austin: [Thumbing through notes.] Well, Jack Conrad is probably the cat with the cleanest background. [He laughs.] I would say my character is something of a reluctant hero. This guy is basically a former military guy doing black-ops work for the government who goes to El Salvador, does his mission but ends up getting caught in the process. He's purchased from this prison by a [TV] producer and forced to fight for his life. He's not into it. That's not his gig. He just wants to go home. So he's the hero of the movie, but reluctantly so.

MTV: He's like a throwback in that respect. Are the great antiheroes coming back?

Austin: I don't know if it's gonna come back around. For me, I think it's going to be interesting to see what happens when this movie comes out. I'm very proud of my performance and very proud of this movie, but we'll see what the people think at the box office. That said, I hope to do many movies like this, many movies that are more like the Charles Bronson stuff — edgy, gritty, kind of tense.

Does that mean you want to be the next great action star?

Austin: People assume because you're 6-foot-1, 250 pounds, [that's all I want], but I want to be more than that. I don't want to get labeled. Now, if I made 50 action/adventure movies and they were all blockbusters, yeah, I'd love to do that. But I don't want to be called the action guy because that's not what I'm trying to be. I just want to be a guy that gets good scripts and works with well-known directors and actors. [I want to] keep on learning. In my old profession, I wanted to work with guys I highly respected. I only want to do the same thing in film.

MTV: Speaking of your old job, do you find acting to be a natural transition?

Austin: It's a different transition. I think what's going to surprise a lot of people about my performance in the movie is that they're used to seeing me for the last 10 years as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. There are different levels to that character, but basically he's a loud, in-your-face guy. Very forceful. At the end of the wrestling shows, say "Monday Night RAW," you don't roll credits, so you're always known as that person, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. But if you go to "The Condemned" expecting to see "Stone Cold." Steve Austin as Jack Conrad, you're [going to be disappointed]. You're going to see a 180. This is Steve Austin playing a guy named Jack Conrad. I think a lot of times when people meet me, they end up realizing that they would probably laugh a lot if we were hanging out, just shooting the sh--. I'm actually pretty quiet. You're not going to get that from "Stone Cold". But from Steve Austin the person, that's what you get.

MTV: Was it important for you to find a character that was such a 180 from your wrestling persona?

Austin: No, it wasn't at all. That being said, the thing that was good for me in this movie was that I didn't bite off more than I could chew. I didn't pick something that was gonna weigh me down, or something that I couldn't handle. It was a natural fit. It's an action/adventure-type movie, but I'm not carrying the entire load. I enjoyed playing the bad guy my whole career, but you'd have to find a real unusual movie to get one that was cut out for "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. He's a completely over-the-top guy.

MTV: What's the one thing, then, that Steve Austin is most proud of in this movie?

Austin: Just delivering dialogue. We just did a thing in Vegas where we showed a clip from the movie, and it was a fight scene. It's an excellent fight scene, and it took us two days to film it. Brutal. But when they showed that clip, I was cringing because the movie has so much more to offer than just the fight scenes. What I was really known for in my career as a professional wrestler with WWE was getting on a live mic, on live TV, ad-libbing and saying whatever came into my mind. This was different because I got to deliver dialogue. Am I dialogue-heavy? No. But I learned that it was more than just words on a piece of paper, more than just words to memorize. There's stuff that you read between the lines: What's this cat going through, why does he makes these decisions he makes? Acting is an entertaining ride.

No comments: