'Stone Cold' Leaves 'Wrestling God' Stunned
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin has never been one to mince words or take prisoners -- and he aims to stun the box office competition when his new film, The Condemned, opens this Friday nationwide.
JBL, self-proclaimed "Wrestling God" and the "Edward R. Murrow of sports-entertainment," has shown WWE fans that in the ring and behind the broadcast booth, he also takes no prisoners. So, no holds were barred when the Rattlesnake and JBL got together for this week's edition of Superstar to Superstar:
JBL: Steve, my neck is still stinging from the Stunner you gave me on SmackDown for no reason -- no reason whatsoever! You ruined my chance to conduct the greatest interview in sports-entertainment history -- the interview with Undertaker and Batista -- and that peanut head, Captain Cialis himself Teddy Long, was left to do it and all hell broke loose. What do you have to say for yourself?
Stone Cold: Well, you shouldn't have been flapping your gums when I'm in the ring.
JBL: Well, I am a Wrestling God and SmackDown's greatest announcer (God knows I have to carry Michael Cole every week). I am the Edward R. Murrow of sports-entertainment and above all else, a consummate professional. So, I will conduct the interview with you, Stone Cold, and this will be the greatest interview in WWE.com's history. You are on the cover of this month's WWE Magazine for The Condemned - an honor I have never had even though I'm a ratings magnet for SmackDown. But appropriately, you're in shackles because of the crime you committed against me with that Stunner. Now, I saw The Condemned, and I must say it is the greatest action film I have seen in a long time. It blew me away. How do you feel about the film and the buzz it has generated?
Stone Cold: So far, so good. I have seen this little movie nationwide with about seven different audiences during my promotional tour, and everybody responds the same. It's a fun ride. It's a violent movie, it's Rated R. It's a hard movie, but people are loving it. We did a premiere last night in Los Angeles [with] about 300 people there, and everyone loved the film. So I'm excited for this thing to come out this Friday, April 27. I'm proud of this movie, and I can't wait.
JBL: Tell me about the character you play in The Condemned, Jack Conrad. What are the similarities and differences between him and Stone Cold Steve Austin?
Stone Cold: I think the similarities are that they're played by the same person. Steve Austin plays Stone Cold Steve Austin, a person that I love to be on Monday Night Raw. It's too bad I can't be him 24/7. I think Jack Conrad is a probably little bit closer to my normal everyday personality -- a bit of a loner, sometimes likes to be by himself. In my own personal life, I like to laugh my ass off 24/7. But Jack Conrad obviously doesn't get to do that because of the position he's placed in. I tell you, he's probably more similar to me in my normal everyday life.
JBL: What was it like working on the film, the high points and low points? And were you satisfied with your performance, this being your first starring role in a feature film?
Stone Cold: You know, I enjoyed doing the dialogue. The fight scenes were difficult because I've never choreographed a match in my life, and now all of a sudden I'm doing choreographed fighting techniques with having to memorize everything for major fight scenes. That was difficult. It was a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun on the set. I learned so damn much; it was a very interesting process. I'm looking forward to making more movies, and as far as the dialogue goes, I had a wonderful acting coach who helped me. And so I'm very, very proud of my performance. Now that being said, with repetition, you only get better.
JBL: One of your co-stars in The Condemned, Vinnie Jones, hasn't had very nice things to say about you. Did you two have a run-in on the set? What's his beef with you and is he in line for a "Stone Cold Stunner"?
Stone Cold: When you do stuff, work in WWE Films, it bleeds a little bit over into the WWE Monday Night Raw section. No, I got nothing bad to say about Vinnie. He was a wonderful bad guy in the film, and I look forward to working with him again. We drank a lot a beer together, we laughed together. I had a good time. [But] make no mistake about it, if he gets out of line in the ring, I'd turn his lights out just like I did yours.
JBL: You know he has said he could take you in a real fight. Now, Steve, you are the Rattlesnake and one of the toughest S.O.B.'s ever, but what do you think of one of the toughest soccer players ever saying he could take you?
Stone Cold: Well, you just said it. A soccer player calling out a several-time World Champion. You can kinda do the math on that, JBL. I know you're a little bit smarter than the questions you're asking. Soccer players and professional wrestlers don't mix, but when they do, professional wrestlers come out on top.
JBL: Now you have had roles in The Longest Yard remake and the TV show Nash Bridges -- which do you prefer, TV or movie projects?
Stone Cold: You know what? I could have done a series with the TV character I was playing on Nash Bridges. But I didn't care to because I was having too much fun wrestling, making too much money, and wrestling was in my blood. Timing is everything, and the timing is now. I would always consider something on TV, but right now I'm looking for stuff on the Big Screen.
JBL: We all know about The Rock's success in Hollywood and both Kane and John Cena have enjoyed success with See No Evil and The Marine. Hell, we shouldn't forget that The Great Khali had a role in The Longest Yard and will star in the movie adaptation of Get Smart. Do you think The Condemned will continue to show Hollywood that WWE is more than about just in-ring action?
Stone Cold: Let me tell you something, with all due respect to Cena and Kane, this movie is by far the best movie WWE Films has come out with. Damn right! I think we're on to good things with the WWE Films division.
JBL: We will all be watching the box office numbers but what will define success for you in The Condemned?
Stone Cold: I'm looking at box office numbers myself because I always look at the box office numbers for my career and WWE. But success is when this film comes out on April 27, I get a chance to show a side of myself that people didn't even know existed. I love being Stone Cold Steve Austin, but by playing Jack Conrad, I get to be 180 [degree turn] from that guy and be something different. So I want people to see that I can do something different, other than flip people off, use four-letter words, drink a lot of beer, and beat people up. I've had a lot of fun doing that and I love my fans from WWE, but I want them to see another side of me.
JBL: Now seeing a great audience reaction in a movie theater is great. But as you can see from the spectacular reaction from the 80,000 plus at Ford Field at WrestleMania, sometimes there's just no comparison to hearing the roar from an arena filled to capacity with WWE fans. Is one feeling greater than the other? Is seeing yourself on screen and how an audience reacts to your movie any better -- or more satisfying -- than hear the pop from a crowd at a WWE event?
Stone Cold: There's nothing that can replace the explosion, there's nothing that can replace the adrenaline rush of [seeing] a live WWE crowd. Being a part of WrestleMania 23 was a blast for me; I didn't know if I'd be at another WrestleMania. And wrestling is what put me on the map. That's what I chose to do. My dream in life was to be a pro wrestler. Now I get a chance to step out and do some acting. Watching the movie with fans is certainly not the same as being in the front of an arena with 20,000 people. But it is satisfying in its own right because I am proud of the movie.
JBL: What other movie roles would you like to play? What else is on Stone Cold Steve Austin's horizon?
Stone Cold: You know, right now I think stuff that suits me, stuff that I'm comfortable with. I love action movies, so if I get a chance do some more action movies [I'll take it]. We're looking for a script right now. If we can find one, we'll start shooting it ASAP. Later on down the road, if I get a chance to do something like a Clint Eastwood or a Charles Bronson [type of movie], that would be fun, too. I love action movies, and if I get a chance to do a whole bunch of them, I'd consider myself a lucky guy.
JBL: Well, Steve, thank you for your time.
Stone Cold: Let me tell you something, JBL. When you were out there flapping your gums and I went out there in the middle of the ring and stunned ya in front of world, before 20,000 people live, there were no personal feelings or animosity between Stone Cold and JBL. I consider you a shining light -- a shining star -- in the broadcast booth on SmackDown. And personally, even though I think you're a piece of trash, I love your interview style, I love your vocabulary, [and] I love your delivery. So, without sounding like I'm proposing marriage, I just want to take my hat off to ya, and say you're doing a hell of a job running your mouth on SmackDown, and that's the bottom line.