Tuesday, June 1, 2010

IGN.com Interview With Steve Austin

Source: IGN.com

Stone Cold Is...The Stranger!
IGN talks to the WWE legend about his new thriller out on DVD, working with Stallone on The Expendables, TNA vs WWE and Twitter sharks!
by Matt Fowler

You know him.


You love him.


Well now you can own him on DVD!

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin, the "Texas Rattlesnake" himself, has a new thriller hitting DVD and Blu-Ray shelves today. In it, Austin plays a violent amnesiac on the run from the law who's trying to piece together his tragic past. IGN had a chance to speak with the WWE Hall of Famer about The Stranger, working with Stallone on The Expendables, WWE vs. TNA, Twitter sharks and the good ol' USWA!

IGN: So there's a scene in The Stranger where your character wears a disguise. And part of that disguise was a long-haired wig. I haven't seen you with hair since your "Stunning" Steve days. What was that like for you?

Steve Austin: [laughs] You know, that was one of my favorite scenes actually. To get a chance to feel what it was like to have hair again. You know I've always wanted, on a movie, to go to the hair department. Not the make-up department because I go there all the time, but the hair department. Most people are used to me being a bald guy, which I am. I kind of lost my hair at the age of 24, but that being said I enjoyed that part of the film. It was an interesting movie and an interesting script. It was little bit different of a vehicle than I've been in lately and it was a challenging role. That's why I decided to take that movie on.

IGN: In your last film that came out on DVD, Damage, you were sort of part of a trio -- with Walton Goggins and Laura Vandervoort. In The Stranger you were alone for a lot of the movie, off on amnesiac adventures. What was it like having to play out so many different scenarios?

Austin: Obviously it presented a lot of challenges they I hadn't undertaken before. It was all a work in progress and you know you're kind of flying by the seat of your pants any time you're doing something that you've never done before. You try to prep as much as you can but I was in uncharted waters for a person such as myself. It was a lot of fun though. Then again when you're playing a guy with amnesia and you're getting into these different personalities, or fugue sates...I don't know. It was a fun process, but wit this movie done now and out of the way I'm just looking forward to applying what I learned from this movie, and the last few movies that I've done, and becoming better at what I do. I just want to be the best actor that I can be.

IGN: And what was it like playing a man who had no idea who he was? Most of the time you can create a backstory for a character but in this case it wouldn't work.

Austin: [laughs] That was the thing I was always talking to [director] Rob Lieberman about. You have to just go forward and rely on your instincts. What instincts did I have to draw from? I can't really say. But it was just one of those things where you proceed accordingly and try to do the best you can do, man.

IGN: You had to speak a couple different languages in The Stranger. Spanish and Russian. Was that an easy thing to pick up?

Austin: [laughs] There was interesting an interview that Matt Damon did about achieving his accent for Invictus and he got to work with a dialect coach for several months and, you know, the guy's an incredible actor and for this movie it was always kind of up in the air: are we going to have him speak Spanish and Russian or are we going to just have him do the English? Because everything got put on the front burner with this movie and so we decided, "Okay, he's going to speak Spanish and Russian." And there I was, cramming with a tape recorder and phonetics sheet three days before each scene to try to pull that off the best that we could with the time that we had. And when you're trying to learn a language and you don't know what the words mean you're just imitating noises. That was another "learn as you go" procedure and if anything this movie taught me more about homework, research and prep than anything else I've done.

IGN: We're going to get to see you this August in Sylvester Stallone's Expendables. What was it like working with Stallone?

Austin: Man, I had a blast working with that guy. And, you know, I'm a huge Sly fan going back to ... hell, when was it? ... 1976 when Rocky came out. And of course I saw Paradise Alley and Lords of Flatbush and all that stuff. But I've followed his career forever. I got a meeting in Beverly Hills with him in his office and we hit it off like we'd known each other for ten years. He offered me the part and I accepted. I play a guy in The Expendables named Dan Payne and it's not like I'm dialogue-heavy in the movie but that's okay. Eric Roberts plays my boss and I'm just there to supply some muscle and intimidation under his direction. And me and that guy hit it off right away. He took me under his wing and I asked him a million questions about acting and we'd just sit there when we weren't on camera, telling dirty jokes and I just picked his brain for three months. It was a blast.

IGN: You just did another film with Eric Roberts, didn't you?

Austin: Yeah, I just finished another movie with him in Vancouver about five months ago called Hunt To Kill. There was a part in there that we could have used Eric for so I called him up out of the blue and I didn't know if he'd do it or not and he said "Steve, I'll do anything for you." And he came up there and he did that movie with me and I'd love to work with him again. We turned out to be very good friends. It started on The Expendables and now we trade phone calls once every two weeks. That guy has been a total sweetheart to me.

IGN: What are some of your favorite action movies?

Austin: Probably a lot of the stuff that Stallone did. A lot of the stuff that Arnold did. I liked a lot of Seagal movies from back in the day. Old Van Damm movies. And I don't know if they'd necessarily be called action movies, but a ot of Steve McQueen stuff. Paul Newman too. I wouldn't called Cool Hand Luke an action movie but movies like that really influenced me. Another movie I like which again I wouldn't call an action movie was The Shawshank Redemption.

IGN: Do you still keep up with the WWE? Do you watch RAW or Smackdown?

Austin: I watch every now and then when I can. I don't follow it as much as I used to. Technically I'm still with the company. I'm totally independent but technically I'm still with the company and have a great relationship with them but I'm just because I'm trying to focus on the things that I've got going I really don't get to watch that much TV at all. Which is interesting when I go to some meetings to discuss TV projects and they ask me "what do you like to watch on TV?" And I have to tell them that I don't really watch a whole lot of TV. I don't watch the WWE as much as I'd like to, but I don't really watch TV in general.

IGN: Did you happen to catch any of TNA when they put themselves up against RAW?

Austin: Oh, that was brutal. Just brutal. I've always wished TNA all the luck in the world. I mean, they'll never be able to compete on a level platform with the WWE but I still just want the company to do well because I have a lot of friends over there. It's a good place for guys to work. It's a little bit different of a product. I think they need to differentiate the product even more from what the WWE is because they'll never be able to compete with that. But, that being said, they've got some interesting storylines and some interesting talent over there. It's an alternative.

IGN: Is the WWE just too big to take on?

Austin: The WWE is like the NFL. It's a powerhouse. It's been around so long. Their history is so strong. Their intellectual property...everything about the WWE is strong. There'll never be anything that's able to top it. You never want to say "never" but there's never going to be a wrestling company that tops WWE. Never.

IGN: You're one of the celebrities who have taken to Twitter. What is it about Twitter that you enjoy the most?

Austin: Back in the day, I enjoyed writing. In English class. Me of all people. A lot of people wouldn't think that. Man, I just get on there though and come up with the most ridiculous stories I can think of and, you know, I'll talk about my movies when they come out too. I have a website in the works, which will be up shortly. But Twitter is just a grass-roots way to stay in touch with my fanbase and I just enjoy it. I'm able to interact with them. I answer questions. And I just make up the most ridiculous tales I can come up with an post them. I have a lot of fun with it. I try not to use it to talk about any political things that are going on although I have dropped a few here and there. It's just a way to stay in touch with my fans. And actually, I just jumped on the Twitter ship long after it was created, but it's something I've really enjoyed. I use it as a creative outlet. It might have been a month or two ago but I posted a work out where I wrote that I was swimming in the pacific ocean and after the 16th mile a shark bit my leg off I just continued from there. Every 140 characters I just would continue the story. From that one story about a bulls*** workout I turned it into this whole epic story with sharks. Me fighting sharks. Sharks stealing my TV. And then it turned into a genetic experiment where I was trying to create a bigger chicken. Because I eat a lot of chicken on my diet. It all wound up with me crossing DNA together and coming up with a Chickensaurus I just make this stuff up on the fly. Half the people think I'm drunk and half the people think I'm f***ed up. Of which I am neither.

IGN: Yo do realize now that you're going to have to do a move where you battle sharks. And probably a Chickensaurus.

Austin: Hey, man. I'd love to do that. It would be an action-movie with some comedy in it. Which would be great because I've been wanting to do some comedy stuff anyway. I was really successful being a touch guy in the WWE and beating people up for a living and I had a damn good time doing it. But most of the time, even though I do take the things that I do and the movies that I make seriously, I like to laugh with people and at myself. I'm more of a comedian than I am a tough guy.

IGN: Well, we certainly enjoyed you on Chuck earlier this year.

Austin: I'd like to do more stuff like that. I had a great time doing that show and going back to what I was saying earlier: I don't watch a lot of TV. I'd never seen Chuck before. And then all of a sudden I'm on the set. That thing happened overnight. The script fell into my hands and then there I was working with Zach Levi and that dude is super-talented. And I enjoyed the experience. I would love to do more stuff like that.

IGN: I have to tell you...I started watching you way back in the USWA. They'd show it on ESPN.

Austin: You're kidding. Where did you grow up?

IGN: I grew up in New York City. So I would go to Madison Square Garden to watch the WWF, but if I wanted to see something different I'd have to watch cable. And ESPN had the USWA with you and Bill Dundee and Bull Pain.

Austin: You know, some of my favorite stuff growing up - I grew up a hundred miles south of Houston, Texas in a little town called Edna - and I was changing channels on TV one day and I found wrestling and it was Paul Boesch's Houston Wrestling over at the Houston Coliseum. And you know, back then wrestling a as real, right? And it was a smoke-filled arena and there was one light bulb over the ring and you could barely see the front row in the crowd. It was a badass atmosphere and I fell in love with it. And then we started getting Mid-South and Power Pro wrestling from Bills Watts? Did you ever see any of that?

IGN: I saw Mid-South. Oh yeah

Austin: Man, that was some good s***, with Jim Ross calling the action and Michael "PS" Hayes was doing a lot of the color commentary and Missy Hyatt and Dark Journey were feuding. Missy Hyatt had the loaded gucci bag - one of the most devastating weapons, or foreign objects, in all of wrestling. That was some good s***. These days, in my garage I have two cardio machines and a flat screen TV. I still watch wrestling. I love it. I'll always love it. I'm still hooked on it, I'm just not in it anymore. If want to watch really badass wrestling - I don't have a lot of Mid-South or Power Pro stuff - but I do have a lot of mid 80s NWA. So when I really want to watch something good I'll crank up my metal, or I'll have it at a low volume when Jim Ross is calling the action, and I'll just have a ball. That's when you had the best talent. The best hands. Everyone on the card could work their ass off. And you could tell that the guys were calling it in the ring. It wasn't like today. They had time. No one was rushing. And not every match had "carte blanche" to use the stairs, the ringpost, you had to learn how to work.

And that was one of the things I enjoyed the most when I first started off in the USWA - if you remember back then, Fritz Von Erich had just sold the territory, World Class which was badass, to Jerry Jarrett and it was turned into USWA and Eric Embry was the head booker and head babyface. I broke in there and after two months of them beating the hell out of me I asked Jerry when he thought I could start working full time and he said "Hell, Steve I think you're ready now. I'll send you to Tennessee in two weeks." Man, I quit my job and two weeks later I was driving my 1988 Hyundai Excel to Memphis to the Mid-South Coliseum. And long story short, I start working there and the good thing about the USWA was that we worked the same exact towns every single week over and over. Man, you talk about having to learn to work your ass off because you've always got to be thinking. You've always got to change it up in the ring. It's not like it is nowadays when you're working with the same guy and you can work town after town and not have the same fans there. You can do the same match every night. Use the same pops. Rely on yesterday's match and you lose your chops.

The Stranger, starring Stone Cold Steve Austin, Adam Beach and Erica Cerra is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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