Randy Couture talks The Expendables

Randy Couture’s looking at the next chapter in his life.  He is one of the most successful fighting champs in the ring; a mixed martial artist, Greco-Roman wrestler, three-time heavyweight champion and a two-time light-heavyweight champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.  But at 47, he’s feeling the need to expand other muscles, those creative ones. 

Randy is Toll Booth, a hulking tough guy with a heart of gold in The Expendables, now on Blu Ray and DVD, who fights for justice alongside Sylvester Stallone, Jaso Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and Steve Austin. 

He does a great job and reveals a surprising gift for comic timing.  Monsters and Critics chatted with Couture to celebrate the continuing success of the film.

Congratulations on the huge success of The Expendables.

It was a blast, absolutely wonderful time from start to finish – all the guys came together respect and admiration for Stallone.  A godfather to the crew, certainly in this genre of film he sets the bar.

Will there be more?

I believe there is going to be a sequel shooting in the spring; the script is in final stages of development.  I haven’t seen it.  We’re on contract in March.  I expect it would take a year or more to get it out, I think he gets involved in every aspect of the film and editing.

Is acting your second chapter?

I definitely opened the door for this opportunity to start acting seven years ago when I did Cradle to the Grave.  It piqued an interest I didn’t have before in movies and TV.  Then I got an agent and took acting classes and had a coach.  I’m definitely taking it seriously, and I definitely see that transition happening to carry me through the next 10 – 15 years.

How similar are acting and fighting?

Acting and fighting are total crossovers.  The acting classes that I took in Hollywood were different kind of touchy feely.  You learn top be in the moment and you have to listen to what your partner is saying and look for cues and know what to give back.  It’s very interesting and outside the box. 

Our sport is touchy feely too but in a different way.  There is a certain focus and intensity and you have to listen and be coachable.  I have found ways to relate the characters to my own experiences coaching or an athlete or having being coached find way to relate even though they’re doing things you’d never do like shooting someone.

You play Toll Road – we don’t get to learn that much about him, because that’s not the nature of the genre, but for your own purposes, do you build a background?

The unique thing is that Sly wrote things to fit each of us, from action and back-story I go on a rant about my cauliflower ear and quirks on the tea, love life yang its his stature, shorter, we all have our things that fit us in real life and in the movie, sly did intentionally made it easier to be in character…  my very first meeting he told me how he saw Toll Road and he changed  rewrote and some of it on the set living, breathing thing all the time, got to be on your toes, that made it fun and interesting not monotonous.

Were there injuries?

People were injured but not seriously.  There was a minor ding in one of scenes in the tunnel, there was a particular fight sequence, and one of the fight guys dislocated an elbow.  Sly had an intense fight scene also in the tunnel and he had to have some work done after that.  He broke a vertebra in his neck.  It wasn’t without some peril, but everyone recovered.

What other kinds of roles would you like to play?

That’s certainly I have never.  I did Tiny Tim in The Christmas Carol in public school but I’ve never done stage acting, that kind of theatre.

What is your dream role?

I’d be interested in doing a western.  I’m a big fan and I’m hoping True Grit will make a strong statement and help bring westerns back into the popularity.  I’m a big fan of the spaghetti westerns.  The Outlaw Josey Wales is my favourite. 

There are a ton of good stories.  The Wild Bunch was ground breaking when it came out and I think it would be great to remake that.

You are very popular online; do you read the threads about yourself?

No I don’t read the posts.  I’m on Facebook and Twitter and keep it up to some extent but I don’t go to online forums, I don’t do that stuff.  Not only do I not have the time or energy, it seems they always get into a kind of banter that I don’t care about.

What kind of physical routine do you do- and how often do you do it?

I’ve been doing it so long its part of my lifestyle.  I try to keep it simple, work out on a regular basis, and especially make it more intense and strict for a fight.  But regular normal for me is to get to the gym, do martial arts a form of fitness boxing. 

I keep my diet pretty simple, clean, healthy foods; keep away from processed, sugary crap.  I don’t measure or count.

Do you find people will challenge you to a fistfight in the street?

That’s never happened to me!  I think I’ve heard stories from other guys – you’ll get a comment but it’s usually  tongue in cheek and I would say the situations I’ve heard of involved alcohol and I don’t find myself in those situations very often.

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