"The Marine 2": Meet the characters and cast
Superstar Ted DiBiase as Joe Linwood
For the title role in The Marine 2, filmmakers turned to WWE Superstar Ted DiBiase, a two-time World Tag Team Champion with partner, Cody Rhodes, and part of the WWE's The Legacy, a trio of multi-generational Superstars which includes Rhodes and Randy Orton. DiBiase, the son of the legendary WWE star, the "Million Dollar Man," Ted DiBiase Sr., says the opportunity to perform in the film was beyond his wildest dreams.
"I'm so blessed and lucky and so grateful to the WWE for the chances they have given me," said DiBiase. "I just want to make the most of the opportunity and that's what I am trying to do. Making movies and wrestling…man, it's a dream. I pinch myself every day -- only now, with [a few of] my ribs broken from stunt work, I don't need to pinch myself. I know from the pain, it's real."
It was important for DiBiase to do the stunts himself. "I want it to look as realistic as it can," he said. "That's the biggest part, I want it to look legit. And I guess there's a little bit of pride there: I don't want to go back and the guys are watching the DVD and say, "Awww, that wasn't you.'"
According to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, DiBiase "pretty much came out of nowhere" to grab the lead in the sequel to The Marine.
"He was a newcomer who worked his way up and was now in the show, as they say," McMahon said. "Ted not only looks like a marine, but he really pops off the screen. He has a great presence -- very articulate, very intelligent and a really good guy and that comes across in the film. He has a certain natural swagger about the way he walks; he's not arrogant, but very self-assured. He brings a lot from the WWE world into the film with his general presence."
Barnett said DiBiase "jumped off the screen" when they tested him, bringing a "tremendous work ethic" and a "natural talent."
"You expect our guys to do the action stuff, that comes naturally, that's what they do 52 weeks a year," said Barnett. "But Ted had a real ability to get into the drama of the script. It's his understanding of the character that translates to a real persona on film. He can bring a stillness as a performer which jumps right off the screen. That's star quality."
DiBiase -- Natural action star
Since joining WWE in May 2008, DiBiase's personality and proven ability to perform have made him one of its fastest-rising Superstars. On screen, that combination of charisma and confidence translate into an easy-going, natural presence, which made several of his co-stars skeptical that this could possibly be his film debut.
"I kept insisting that there is no way this is his first movie," said actress Kelly Jones, who portrays the resort's general manager, Cynthia. "I just couldn't believe it. He was undaunted, a complete natural."
Lowenstein recalled the first day of production. "We were shooting a big action sequence and after a couple of takes, the producers all looked at one another and said, ‘Damn, Ted's good. This is great,'" he said.
"And when we got to the dramatic scenes, he was spot on again. He hits the marks, knows his lines, and can do stunts with a precision most actors don't have. He has an interesting face that easily reveals emotions and you really believe him. I can see him becoming a big action star."
DiBiase's on-camera experience as a Raw Superstar has helped him with the role.
"Ted DiBiase is incredibly cool," said Reine. "He really goes from instinct. He has a self-awareness which makes for a very interesting character for this movie. He is also a really hard worker and he picks up every direction I give him really well and executes it incredibly. He wants to do all his stunts, which is always cool. It gives the director more freedom not to have to use a double. Ted moves like a star. He has everything in him to become a big movie star."
"Normally, we have to bring someone's presence down a bit on film because you're so close with the camera and a small raise of an eyebrow is a big deal on a giant screen," said McMahon. "But Ted's a natural performer and a natural also translates to film work."
The discipline, training and physical preparation required to succeed in the WWE have given DiBiase an uncanny ability to pick up moves and stunt sequences quickly, saving rehearsal time and allowing the filmmakers to shoot the scenes from any direction they wanted.
"Ted is absolutely amazing when it comes to remembering moves and stunt sequences," said Dickey Beer, the film's 2nd Unit Director. "He remembers everything -- every strike, which side, where. One day, for two-and-a-half hours, we went through what he could do and what all the guys could do for a fight scene and then Ted was busy shooting other sequences. When we finally got to the scene, days later, we walked through it and he remembered everything. We had no rehearsal, we just shot it. He's really that good."
For stunt coordinator and fight choreographer Seng, DiBiase's ability to pick up new moves was not just impressive, it was highly unusual.
"Every single move I showed him he learned in five minutes -- some other moves didn't even take five minutes," said Seng. "Ted learned some moves in only minutes or a few hours, moves that can take weeks or months to master. And he can take the kicking and punching because we try to do the real hit as much as we can and he can take it."
Once a Warrior: Damo
To portray Damo, the leader of the insurgent group, the filmmakers chose acclaimed actor Temuera Morrison, a New Zealand native who came to international prominence for his role in the award-winning Lee Tamahori film, Once Were Warriors. Morrison, who is also well known to film fans for his role as Jango Fett in the Star Wars series of films, says he is accustomed to playing the villain.
"When you've got a face like mine, you don't really get to walk into the sunset with the girl at the end of the movie," Morrison said. "I'm always getting shot."
Morrison saw the character of Damo as being more frightening, the less he did. "He's calm, collected, but at any moment, he can explode," said Morrison. "He's got an internal energy that's bubbling away, but he's always on top of it. He's like a coil that could expand at any moment. I think doing less is more powerful, keeping it minimal with the threat of an explosive moment always there."
Reine said that casting Morrison changed the dynamic between the film's main characters.
"I think Temuera Morrison is an incredible actor and when he came on board, Damo, the villain became a different kind of character: Way more depth, way more feeling and emotions in him," said Reine. "His presence and acting is very powerful."
"Temuera is a really strong actor and you always need a really strong antagonist to play against your hero," said Lake. "Because of where it was set in Southeast Asia, we needed to have someone of an Island or Asian ethnicity, so having Temuera, who is Maori, play the role was just perfect for us. He is a very scary bad guy."
The filmmakers and Morrison's co-stars agree that there's an edge to Morrison's persona, a volatility, which combined with his deep voice and hint of explosive anger, creates a commanding and intimidating character.
"I don't think you necessarily have to be physically massive to succeed in being frightening or scary," said Lowenstein. "His personality and presence feel dangerous. That's the key."
"Temuera is focused, scary and very powerful," said co-star Cox. "As a hostage in the scene, it's good to be on the receiving end of that. It makes it my job easier."
DiBiase agreed. "Temuera looks great on camera, you take a look at him and think, ‘Man, I don't want to run across that guy in a dark alley,'" he said. "He looks mean, tough. He's the nicest guy you'll ever meet, but he brings something dark and dangerous to the scenes."
Morrison said he didn't think too much about fighting with DiBiase, but did "hope Ted takes it easy on me. Because Ted's so big, I might have to use speed -- or maybe just run away and get a gun," he said, laughing. "I really enjoy the physical side, all the action, the guns and shoot ‘em up stuff."
The marine's wife: Robin Linwood
Filmmakers were also pleased with the chemistry between DiBiase and his leading lady, Australian actress Lara Cox.
"I was really blown away by her because she is not just a beautiful fresh face, but her acting is so good," said Reine. "She had some very demanding scenes where basically she has to be crying and very emotional and she was right there every time."
Cox said she enjoyed the role which takes her from an independent career-minded woman to a captive struggling to stay alive.
"It is a strong, fun role," said Cox. "Robin goes through many different emotions in the film and it's a good, challenging journey to go on. Here is a woman who is alone much of the time, yet madly in love with her husband. She's tough, but feminine. She has all the characteristics I admire in a woman."
Similarly, co-star DiBiase had all the characteristics Cox could hope for in a leading man.
"He's just so open and gentle, focused and spontaneous," she said. "He's very easy to get along with. He's got a great physique, good looking and is a natural on screen…There's an easy dynamic between us, which makes it good and fun."
"We had a scene where the two of them walk on a beach together and we had this crane shot over the ocean to them walking hand-in-hand on the beach and it's absolutely beautiful," said Lowenstein. "It's gorgeous stuff and not just because the beach is beautiful, which it is, but because they have this kind of wonderful energy together, this dynamic, and it's gorgeous."
Cox said she enjoys making action films for the physical challenge of it.
"The bumps, bruises and soreness are all in a hard day's work," she said. "It's good to feel like you've worked hard. I like Robin's kick-ass attitude — that she would fight to protect him. There's a toughness and feistiness to her that I really enjoy."
The billionaire and the ex-pat
Like the Australian-born Cox, actor Robert Coleby had to put on his best American accent for the role of the billionaire industrialist, Darren Connor, who builds his eco-friendly resort on a secluded island, angering the local residents and insurgents.
"He's basically a very wealthy guy who takes an island and makes a resort paradise out of it," said Coleby. "He has a vision of an entirely eco-friendly place: using solar, hydro-electric, geo thermal and wind for energy. He considers himself an environmentalist, although that he takes this pristine island away from the native people and makes it into a five-star resort. He doesn't foresee the consequences of his actions."
Coleby is the only actor in The Marine 2 who was also in The Marine.
"I was the guy, the officer, who fired John Cena from the Marine Corps," said Coleby. "I looked a little different for that role, but it is me. I enjoyed the first film very much. I thought it was very entertaining, so I am very pleased to be part of the second one."
Also key to the cast of The Marine 2 is actor Michael Rooker, who portrays Church, a former Special Forces Army Ranger and explosive ordinance engineer, who lives and works on the island. Church meets Joe and Robin when the couple visits his scuba shack and ask to rent some equipment and a boat for the afternoon.
"I'm more of the non-action, anti-action guy," said Rooker of his character. "Every action movie needs an anti-action guy and I'm that guy in this film."
Rooker said he's happy his role does not have the physical demands required of DiBiase and Morrison.
"It's brutal watching them working so hard -- rolling and jumping around, fighting all the time. I'd rather just shoot them: It's easier."
And that's pretty much what Rooker ends up doing in The Marine 2 -- as Church is reluctantly pulled into the hostage crisis when watching Joe try to take on the insurgents alone.
"Church is a guy who doesn't want to get involved, he has a nice quiet life," said Rooker. "This is not a guy who wants to be a hero. Church is a live and let live guy. He's found his paradise and doesn't want to disturb that."
About the cast
WWE Superstar TED DiBIASE (Joe Linwood) is a third-generation professional wrestler and a former two-time World Tag Team Champion with partner Cody Rhodes. The grandson of two professional wrestlers --"Iron" Mike DiBiase and Helen Hild -- and the son of "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, DiBiase has taken the family name into a new millennium, quickly rising in the WWE as part of the "Legacy" group with the sons of other legends of wrestling: Rhodes (son of Dusty Rhodes) and Randy Orton (son of cowboy Bob Orton).
Born and raised in Clinton, Miss., DiBiase is a natural athlete. He was the starting quarterback for his high school football team and played soccer and football at Mississippi College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration.
After considering a career in the ministry, DiBiase opted to train at WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race's Wrestling Academy, making his professional wrestling debut in July 2006 with World League Wrestling before signing a developmental contract with the WWE. During his training, he became a member of the Next Generation Hart Foundation and won the FCW Heavyweight Championship before injuries sidelined him for a period.
DiBiase made his WWE debut on May 26, 2008, and quickly aligned himself with Rhodes, after Rhodes turned on his partner Hardcore Holly in favor of teaming with DiBiase. When DiBiase and Rhodes later lost their World Tag Team Championship title to tag team partners CM Punk and Kofi Kingston, they joined forces with Randy Orton to form The Legacy faction.
TEMUERA MORRISON (Damo) has become one of New Zealand's most recognized and respected actors for his role as the abusive Jake Heke in 1994's Once Were Warriors and as the bounty hunter Jango Fett and his clones in the "Star Wars" film series.
Morrison's film credits include Speed 2: Cruise Control, Six Days, Seven Nights, Vertical Limit, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, The Beautiful Country, From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter, Broken English, The Island of Dr. Moreau and Barb Wire. He reprised his role as Jake Heke in the sequel, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? for which he received the Best Actor award from the New Zealand Film Awards (his second Best Actor award for the same role).
Born in Rotorua in the North Island of New Zealand, Morrison trained in drama under the New Zealand Special Performing Arts Training Scheme. One of his first roles was Dr. Hone Ropata on the television soap opera Shortland Street.
LARA COX (Robin Linwood) is a popular Australian actress best known for her starring roles on such television series Heartbreak High, H20: Just Add Water and Head Start. Cox also appeared as Finn in the series Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. Her feature film credits include Kangaroo Jack and Voodoo Lagoon.
ROBERT COLEBY (Darren Connor) portrayed the officer who fires John Cena's character in the WWE Studios film, The Marine. The British-born actor Coleby, who resides in Australia, has more than 70 film and television credits to his name, including The Starter Wife, Monarch Cove, All Saints, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, Chopper Squad, Pollyanna, and Heartbeat.
MICHAEL ROOKER (Church) made his film debut in 1986 playing the title role in the cult classic film, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Rooker's chilling depiction of a murderous sociopath led to numerous high-profile roles in feature films, including Light of Day, Eight Men Out, Mississippi Burning, Sea of Love, Music Box, Days of Thunder, JFK, The Dark Half, Cliffhanger, Tombstone, Deceiver, Rosewood, Mallrats, The 6th Day, Skeleton Man, Slither, Whisper, Jumper and The Bone Collector.
On television, Rooker has guest starred on the series, Criminal Minds, JAG, Chuck, Shark, Law & Order," Las Vegas, CSI: Miami, Stargate SG-1, The Outer Limits, and had a recurring role on Thief, as Det. John Hayes.
Born in Jasper, Ala., Rooker is the oldest of nine children. Raised in Chicago, he auditioned for the Goodman School of Drama and worked in Chicago-area stage productions.