Austin, Stone Cold Steve (Hunt to Kill)
Whenever we’re presented the chance to speak with wrestler-turned-actor Stone Cold Steve Austin, we here at Dread Central jump at the opportunity since he’s one of our all-time favorite ass-kickers. And even though Hunt to Kill isn’t necessarily horror, it is an action-packed thriller with great kills, dark characters and some seriously badass fight sequences that would interest anyone who relishes a good, gritty action flick.
For Austin, the role of Jim Rhodes (a Border Patrolman working near the Canadian Border who has a keen sense of the wilderness) came very naturally to him.
“I love being in the outdoors to begin with so I was really in my element with Hunt to Kill,” explained Austin. “All the deer hunting and Jim using the bow was me throwing in my creative two cents to my character. Honestly, I’m very much like the guy Jim is so I was definitely in my comfort zone. What’s cool is that I can tell that some of my acting ‘greenness’ is finally wearing off now, and I think the proof is on the screen. It was a great experience for me.”
Austin’s character Jim in Hunt to Kill isn’t just another guy running around the woods either. He’s a divorcee who’s struggling to understand his teenage daughter (Marie Avgeropolous) and with the loss of his Border Patrol partner (Eric Roberts). These struggles his character deals with during the film mirror Austin’s life very closely. “A lot of the emotional stuff that Jim is dealing with are things I can relate to after spending so many years on the road, being away from my family. You have to work hard to make those connections in real life so there is a lot of Steve in this movie.”
For Hunt to Kill Austin was reunited with two of his cast members from this summer’s blockbuster hit, The Expendables - Roberts and Gary Daniels. Both came on board the project because of the friendships they struck with Austin while filming the balls-to-the-wall action flick in 2009.
Austin said, “I actually called Eric myself and got him involved with Hunt to Kill, and we immediately were right back to clicking again like we did on The Expendables. He’s such a great guy and always fun to be around on set so I was glad he could be a part of it. With Gary, we originally had an MMA fighter to play his role, but scheduling wasn’t working out and I remembered how much ass he kicked on The Expendables so he was another guy I called to get involved with this movie. And it was a blast working with both of them again.”
Just because Austin and Daniels are friendly in real life doesn’t mean they both didn’t enjoy kicking the proverbial tar out of each other during their big showdown in the third act of Hunt to Kill. “We shot the fight scene in two days and didn’t have a whole lot of time to waste so we really had to get it right. What I loved was that when they were filming, the director backed the cameras off so you can really see the fight sequence, which doesn’t happen a lot these days. Keoni (Waxman, the director) gave us the room to really move around and get down and dirty as our characters were beating the hell out of each other.”
Everyone who loves action movies knows that the hero always needs a great nemesis to have the ultimate showdown with, and that’s where actor Gil Bellows comes in. Bellows, who’s known for his roles in the TV series “Ally McBeal” as well as the classic film The Shawshank Redemption, portrayed the ruthless Banks, who will stop at nothing to retrieve stolen bank bonds from a robbery gone wrong.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Gil’s since I saw The Shawshank Redemption, and I absolutely loved what Gil brought to the table for Banks. He had such a great energy on set and gave a lot of depth to this really despicable role. I really enjoy working on projects that go that dark, and he was really great to play against,” said Austin.
And even though Austin has now had three features released this year alone, which is pretty unusual for many actors working in Hollywood these days, it doesn’t mean he’s ready to slow down anytime soon and looks towards future projects as a chance to keep improving his craft as he continues working steadily.
Austin said, “I am so happy to be busy, especially with the economy being the way it is. Acting is a learning process so you need to be busy to get better. After working with a guy like Sly, it gives you a new perspective on the filmmaking process so you take what you learn and move forward and work harder to get better and better at your craft.”
“I’m about to leave for Vancouver to shoot a SWAT movie with Michael Jai White. I play a SWAT Team Leader so I spent a few days with the Los Angeles SWAT Team, riding around and hanging out with them, just so I could get into the head of my character and see what those guys are like in the field. It was a blast for me to get to do something like that because preparation is always important,” Austin added.
Hunt to Kill comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 9th from Anchor Bay Entertainment. Dread Central would like to give Steve a very enthusiastic “Hell Yeah” for taking the time to speak with us despite his busy schedule.
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