In “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” WWE Superstar Sheamus portrays Rocksteady – a petty criminal who becomes a hulking, mutated rhinoceros. WWE.com spoke with The Celtic Warrior about his love for the Turtles, the pressure of playing an iconic henchman and which character he’d love to play next.
WWE.COM: What was your first exposure to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
SHEAMUS: My first exposure was in the late 1980s, when the cartoon first came out. I remember everybody was talking about “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and just thinking to myself, “What is that?” I was interested because I just liked the concept of it, but I didn’t know how it would even work. I checked it out and, like everybody else, I was hooked. I watched the cartoons, read the comics and I really loved the old video game.
WWE.COM: Were the Turtles as popular in Ireland as they were in the U.S.?
SHEAMUS: It was definitely popular — it was massive. There were T-shirts everywhere, toys everywhere — if you were out on the playground and didn’t know about the Ninja Turtles, you must have lived under a rock!
WWE.COM: Everyone had their favorite Ninja Turtles character. Who was yours?
SHEAMUS: My favorite Turtle was Michelangelo, but I really did love Bebop and Rocksteady. I know how that sounds and people will say, “Oh that’s just because you’re playing Rocksteady,” but they were great! They would come on the screen and you knew something was going to happen. There was going to be some kind of chaos or mayhem, or a great fight scene with the Turtles was coming. You also knew they were going to cause Shredder some kind of headache. It was just fun every time they appeared, and they always provided great comic relief.
WWE.COM: How did you end up getting the role of Rocksteady?
SHEAMUS: I ended up getting a call from WWE letting me know about the auditions. I didn’t hear anything for a while and I just thought, “It’s such a massive role, I’ll be amazed if I get it,” but I had to give it a go. My expectations weren’t too high, but I eventually met with one of the producers, talked about my desire for the role and the plan around it, and then I was offered the role.
WWE.COM: Bebop and Rocksteady are two of the most iconic henchmen of any franchise. Did you feel any pressure about living up to fan expectations?
SHEAMUS: Loads of pressure! I can’t tell you how much pressure I felt to do this right. Naturally, with any role like this, you want to take your interpretation of it and add that to the character. There was definitely a lot of pressure, but walking away from the premiere after seeing the movie, I was very happy.
WWE.COM: A lot of fans have said your pre-mutated look in the movie is perfect for the role and close to how Rocksteady looked in the cartoons and comics. When you returned from injury in 2015, you had the Mohawk and the thicker beard. Was this look at all influenced by your role in the film?
SHEAMUS: Not at all. I’ve talked to a lot of Superstars like Chris Jericho about it, too. It’s always good to change and keep things fresh, whether it’s a hairstyle or wardrobe. After my first injury, I came back looking the same, but after the second one I really wanted to switch it up. Some people hated it, but it was very cool to get that kind of reaction.
WWE.COM: Did you do motion capture for the computer-animated, mutated version of Rocksteady?
SHEAMUS: Yeah, I did all of that. The mutated versions still have the mannerisms of me and [Bebop actor] Gary Anthony Williams.
WWE.COM: You and Gary Anthony Williams seemed to really hit it off and have the kind of chemistry fans would hope to see from Bebop and Rocksteady. Did it help with the role that you guys played off each other well?
SHEAMUS: We bonded from day one and became great friends. It was really so much fun to get back together on the red carpet at the premiere and have a laugh. We did the film and a lot of the press together. When you do movies like this, you strike up friendships with a lot of people, and Gary really became a great friend of mine in the process.
WWE.COM: A lot of your fellow WWE Superstars are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans. How did they react when you got the part?
SHEAMUS: Zack Ryder has been really excited. He’s been great and very supportive. He’s really the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. He’s always
Zack Ryder's a huge Turtles fan,
and so is Rusev, believe it or not."
texting me pictures of the latest action figures or the latest trailers, he’s been very happy for me. He’s a huge Turtles fan, and so is Rusev, believe it or not.
WWE.COM: About a year or so ago, you were heavily rumored to play Darth Vader in the new “Star Wars” franchise. That didn’t pan out, but are there any other iconic characters you’d want to portray?
SHEAMUS: I’d love to play Venom. I’m a huge Spider-Man fan, and Venom was the character that drew me into the comics. He’s bigger and badder than Spider-Man and, his powers are better. I just think Eddie Brock is an awesome character.
WWE.COM: So chances are we’ll be seeing you in the movies a lot more?
SHEAMUS: Of course! Who wouldn’t want to be involved in a movie? It was an unbelievable experience and something we dream about as kids. It’s really a dream come true being a WWE Superstar and being in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” These are just larger-than-life franchises and great to be a part of.
See Sheamus as Rocksteady in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” in theaters June 3.
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