What did you enjoy the most when making Bounty Hunters?
I guess it was getting the opportunity to do something new. Since retiring from wrestling I am always looking for any project that challenges me and gives me some personal satisfaction. That’s why I did Bounty Hunters. To do a movie was very cool and this movie presented me with the chance to do my own stunts, tackle a new fighting art and generally adapt to the art of filmmaking. I loved it, I loved the process and working with some really cool people. It was so awesome to see the fight scenes play out on the big screen.
What makes Bounty Hunters stand out from other action films?
You know in my opinion it’s the fight scenes. They are really just awesome moments and I think they showed so well because the fight coordinator gave us all our unique fighting styles. We all stayed true to our fighting styles and that’s what made it so unique. A story is being told in each fight scene.
The fact that myself and my arch nemesis Ruby (Andrea James Lui) came from two distinct fighting backgrounds I think that translated really well on screen. That’s what I am really proud of. The two of us stepped outside the box and committed to create some pretty great fight scenes with no limitations and we hoped it showed.
Did your wrestling background give the fight scenes an added sense of realism?
There’s something about the way approached some of the moves in the fight scenes that made what we were doing look real. Working with Andrea was just so awesome because I just knew that we could both bring it. Stunt work for me was a bit strange especially when we were putting the scenes together and having to adapt to punch past the person and not make the kind of contact I’m used to making in WWE.
You know that’s very different to what we do in wrestling. At first we approached each scene from a traditional movie making standpoint as in how stunt work, like taking into account the depth perception of the camera. When Patrick McBrearty [director] said do what you’re comfortable doing, he kind of gave us the green light and that’s when the fight scenes started to take on a different feel.
The fact that Andrea and I were both down with doing that I feel that’s what gave everything that added element of realism. The fact we had such creative freedom from Patrick was great. Kudos to him for trusting us. I was really able to apply what I learned in wrestling and especially during the ambulance fight scene we did. This wasn’t a set, it was a real ambulance with very limited space. It was just me and Andrea where we just had to commit to the scene and use the most of the space that we had. From that, I believe we managed to create a very organic and memorable moment for our characters.
Did any of the male cast feel threatened by your wrestling background?
No, I don’t think so. A few of the cast come from a fighting background and the man you see in the gym scene, Marc-Andre Boulanger (aka Franky the Mobster), is actually a wrestler, so we were comfortable doing what we do best. I had the opportunity to work with one of my former trainers, Rob Fuego who has the Squared Circle training school here in Toronto. He came on board to help with the fight scenes we did.
We surprised a lot of the movie people because they weren’t expecting some of the wrestling moves we integrated into that scene, and mostly because we mapped it out the day of shooting. As a wrestler much of the fights are improvised and it can change depending on who your opponent is, where your match is occurring and of course a lot of the times, the crowed is what dictates the direction of the match.
What is your favourite action movie?
I would say mine would be the Die Hard. It’s a classic action film at its best. It is very clichéd at moments which kind of what makes it great. It has all the elements of amazing action scenes but also has a great story. As far as straight action, I’m a huge fan of the Kill Bill series as well.
Who is your favourite action movie star?
An untraditional pick, I’d have to say is Bruce Lee. And someone as of late who has popped up on my radar is Jason Statham. He’s pretty awesome to watch and he is the unsung hero in the action world.
Were you a fan of The Expendables?
Yeah. It was neat to see everyone in one movie, but to be honest, I was expecting so much more. I was hoping that there would’ve been more focus on each individual and what they were known for. I wanted to see each of them shine in their own moments, showcasing each of them in their unique styles. Well, there is always Expendables 2.
How did you find the transition from wrestling into the movie world?
It was interesting because I think I always played a bit of a character in wrestling anyway. To be honest and to be fair my character in Bounty Hunters, is pretty close to Trish Stratus anyway. So, I will fully admit that my first feature acting role wasn’t much of a stretch for me.
But it was a challenge to do what I do and adapt this on a different medium. Something I realised when I left WWE or even when I did outside projects during my time there, was the how valuable the training we got as performers and as producers. In wrestling we essentially are producing our own scenes within the show and so we learned how to tell and build a story as told through our matches. It’s a real art that wrestlers nail down where we need to try and evoke emotion from a crowd of 20,000 people. Your reaction to something that happens needs to be able to connect with the
Do you have any plans on a return to the WWE?
It was always neat to push your limits of what you can do as a performer. So with every new storyline and person I wrestled it always gave me the chance to challenge myself. You can do what you do out there but it is vital to have the chemistry with the other person in the ring.
When Mickie James came on the scene I was on a roll. I had just worked with Jazz, so it was great because I was able to create even more unique moments with another performer. Back in 2001 the women’s division had so much variety of great wrestlers like Victoria, Lita and Ivory. So no matter who Vince [McMahon] threw in the ring we were always going to create great moments.
This is why it’s hard for me to close the door on wrestling and I will always say I will keep that door open because you never know. Who knows what could happen? I could maybe have that match with Beth Pheonix or even Kharma maybe. I’ve always said I’ll go back if I can create an exciting moment where I can be challenged as a performer. It’s always a possibility.
What are your future aspirations?
Just like with wrestling, the goal I have set for my acting career is to constantly challenge myself. I really enjoyed the experience of movie making, I guess because I love to tell stories. You could say I played it safe, the fact that my first foray into film was with a role that was within my comfort zone. Maybe the next role I explore I will step outside my comfort zone and showcase a different side, we’ll see.