Steve Austin says “Hell, yeah!” to a new career. The long-time WWE champion wrestler and entertainer is now a bona fide actor. And don’t count him out. He’s working as hard on acting as he did on wrestling he says and I believe him. He has the discipline, passion and smarts to reinvent himself at age 45. Monsters and Critics threw it to the mat in a recent conversation with Austin.
Monsters & Critics – You seem very mindful that a lot of your fans are young so you really tell them some good home truths – like no drinking and driving or going overboard.
Steve Austin – In my day I was a very edgy act and I pushed the envelope every which way, language, fighting, but now I’m a different person. That was a part of my life but being Steve Austin, not Stone Cold, is what interests me now.
M&C – You play a prisoner released from jail who wants to right his wrongs. What spoke to you about the role?
SA -It’s about how far a man will go for redemption. He’s out of prison and trying hard. There’s a young person who needs help and I can choose to help or not. The only route I know is underground fighting so I put my freeodm on the line to help this person. The movie has a lot of cool fight scenes and brutal fights and bloodshed, great fights for my core fan base but it’s a story driven by what’s at stake. It’s what you have to do, it’s not gratuitous.
M&C – Have you seen underground fights?
SA – I am aware that underground fighting exists. A lot of the extras for the film are from that background. But it’s not something I researched for the role. What was required didn’t take great knowledge. But looking into the future, I know I will endlessly research roles.
M&C – I understand you retired when you left wrestling a few years back. It didn’t take, did it?
SA – I thought I was going to retire, and I did for 3 or 4 years. But after realising I was too young to retire, there were things I wanted to do and be a productive human being. I had to do something. So I thought of acting and moved to LA. Early on when I did Nash Bridges, I really enjoyed it. I hate it when I’m not busy. I’m just trying to be as good in this world of acting as I was in my other world.
M&C – Was it hard to give up wrestling?
SA – When I left, I knew it was time to do something else. I was feeling like a million bucks years out of the ring. It was time to do something else physically. My body was telling me to get out of wrestling and be free of pain for ten years, then twenty years, like I am now. I’ve left it behind. I loved being in that wonderful part of my life.
M&C – How are you training for this new life as an actor?
SA - I wrestled and became really, really good at it. I had talent and I developed my skills. I’m there now as an actor and believe I have the talent and timing. I’m working on it, on accessing the inner tools and living in the moment and creating a character and preparing for a role. Just now I’m getting the sense of what it takes. Such is life, you don’t know but the more experience you have the better you are. I’m proud of my work in Damages. And now I’m looking into the future.
SA – All my energy focuses on being as good an actor as I can. I hope to grow a fan base based on my merit as an actor, a new fan base. I want to entertain my core fan base of course, too.
M&C – You just finished working on Sylvester Stallone’s big budget actioner The Expendables. That’s pretty high profile.
SA - I’ve got Damages out and I’m doing reshoots on another movie next week so now I finally have some product out there. Sly’s movie The Expendables is out August 13 and now finally, as long as my films are well received and we do some business, I’ll have something to roll out.
M&C – You went from casual labourer to wrestling superstar and now’ you’re on your way in the movies. What has the journey been like?
SA – It has been a great ride. I grew up 100 miles south of Houston, Texas in a small town and I happened to see wrestling on telelvison when I was seven or eight. I feel in love with it that day. After college, I starved for a couple of years paying dues, and learning the ropes and I became Stone Cold Steve Austin. I worked very hard and then I had to cash in my chips, when I had injuries and start another career. It’s challenging because of the places I’ve been. I expect a lot of myself and I don’t want to be second best. I don’t want to be the greatest actor, but I want to be as good as I can be. I have the time to get there as long as the opportunities keep coming.
Damage is out on DVD now and available in shops and via Amazon.Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.