If you were a fan of the WWE during the “Attitude Era,” there was one man that clearly embodied this new direction in sports entertainment: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Austin, who worked steadily in the wrestling industry from 1991 up through last year, wasn’t satisfied after almost two decades in the business with just electrifying wrestling audiences. He was ready to take his shot in Hollywood.
“I started off acting while I was still hot in the WWE, doing a run of episodes on ‘Nash Bridges’, and I just had a blast,” explained Austin. “I think that’s right about when I realized I wanted to pursue acting.”
Since his run on “Nash Bridges” some ten years ago, Austin has steadily worked as an actor in Hollywood outside the ring. His latest project, The Stranger, is set to be released on DVD June 1st courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment, and in honor of the occasion Dread Central had the opportunity to talk with Austin about his transition into acting, The Stranger, and the upcoming balls-out action flick The Expendables.
In The Stranger Austin plays a man plagued by amnesia who finds himself as the subject of a manhunt by not only the FBI but the Russian mob, too, who takes matters into own hands to solve the mysteries of his past and putting them to rest. I asked Austin to discuss what made The Stranger a standout project from other action films he had made in the past.
Austin said, “The Stranger was a really cool script to read and a little different than what I usually get asked to do. It gave me the opportunity to speak Spanish and Russian and even allowed me to get a little emotional during flashback scenes between me and my wife. It was a lot more than just a straight-up action flick, and I feel like it was a great way to further transition myself into being an actor.”
“I always felt like I was doing homework for this role. From the time I got offered the part to when we started shooting was really fast so I had to do a lot of preparation in just a short amount of time. I really liked what we got to do with The Stranger,” Austin added.
As the summer movie season is now in full swing, I asked the actor about his experiences working on what is one of my highly anticipated films in the next few months – The Expendables. Starring a who’s who of the action genre, for Austin The Expendables was a dream job.
“I seriously love doing action movies,” explained Austin. “I always have a killer time on set, and it’s funny to me that other people call it work. But being asked to be part of The Expendables was a feeling you could hardly describe. I just remember sitting in Sly’s office and he’s talking to me about the movie, and I just sat there thinking that he could have asked me to do anything in the film and I would have been ecstatic to just be asked.”
“The kind of action in The Expendables isn’t like anything you’ve seen in a while, and I think it’s going to end up being a movie that comes out of nowhere and kills at the box office. Fans are going to love it; everything I’ve seen so far is beyond badass. Fans have no idea what’s in store for them,” Austin added.
Now that Austin is gaining momentum in his acting career, I asked the 2009 WWE Hall of Famer if he ever considers returning to the squared circle.
“There comes a certain point in every wrestler’s career where they realize they need to get their ass out of the ring,” explained Austin. “Professional wrestling will always be my first love, and I will always be grateful for all of my fans and what I was able to accomplish in the ring, but acting is what I am focused on now. I realize that I’m back to being the ‘green’ guy again, but you just have to keep working at getting better, and I think that’s what I’m doing. I am learning something new every day about working in Hollywood, and it’s a whole new game compared to what I was used to with the WWE,” Austin added.
So what’s next for Austin? The actor couldn’t talk specifics, but he’s got quite a few projects that he’s looking at currently and is toying with a return to television.
Austin said, “Right now I’m looking at a few different movie deals that I can’t quite talk about yet, and there’s also some talk of doing TV work as well so you never know where you’ll see me next. But don’t worry, you’ll see me soon.”
To which this writer says, “Hell yeah!”
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