Normally the voices Randy Orton hears are in his head. They talk to him, they understand. They tell him to punish his opponents with RKOs, punts to the head, and whatever he calls that awesome ropes-assisted DDT thing he does. However, in his new movie “12 Rounds: Reloaded,” the voice Randy hears is over the phone. It tells him he has to complete a series of twelve dangerous tasks or something terrible will happen to the woman he loves.
I spoke with “The Viper” the afternoon of the release of his new movie and had a chance to ask about the learning curve that comes with your own starring vehicle, the match he’s looking forward to at Payback, and which WWE Superstar looks like Sloth from “The Goonies”
Gordon Holmes: Randy Orton, third-generation star, the Viper, the youngest WWE champion ever and now the baddest EMT of all time.
Randy Orton: (Laughs) It’s very exciting for me. It’s been a long couple of months here, the editing process takes forever. But, we’re finally here. It’s my first time doing anything like this. I’m anxious for what the WWE Universe and action fans in general are going to think.
Holmes: As a sports entertainer, you’re used to telling stories. But, they always say the best characters are you with the volume turned up. This time, you’re stepping into someone else’s shoes. You’re Nick, an ordinary EMT who’s thrown into an extraordinary situation. How different was this process for you?
Orton: There are a lot of similarities, there are also a lot of ways you can contrast. I’m used to being on camera. I’ve been on camera for 13 years now with the WWE. Live television is stressful, it’s tricky, you’ve got to hit your cues. The biggest difference is that level of stress is non-existent on a movie set. For me, it was a little nerve-wracking at first because I was new to that world. But, I felt at home real quick. The actors, everyone from make-up to wardrobe to the director, they were all great. And they knew that this was my first time doing this, so they were there to help.
Holmes: A lot of guys have been making the transition from the ring to the big screen. The Rock, John Cena, Ted DiBiase, The Miz…any of them offer any advice?
Orton: Yeah, I had my script, this was a couple of months before we started shooting, and there were questions I had. I talked to Cena because he’s done more movies than anyone I know. Some of the questions I had were to do with the script, and the sides, wanting to know what to expect. I thought I had to memorize the entire script. I didn’t know. I thought you had to be ready to do any scene at time. So Cena was able to point me in the right direction. They can shoot in any order. He warned me that they can shoot any scene at any time, so you have to remember your state of mind. You could shoot one scene, but the scene that follows it you won’t shoot for another couple of weeks. You have to remember what your motivation is, what your tone is. That continuity really matters.
Holmes: The Randy Orton we get to see on TV, he’s a bit of cold-blooded killer. He doesn’t joke around like a Cena or a Sheamus. But, Nick gets to tell a few jokes, he gets to say a few four-letter words. Was it nice to get to explore that space a little?
Orton: Yeah, I’m one of the guys in the locker room that misses the times when we used to be a little more risqué. So, making a rated-R movie was (Laughs) definitely something that appealed to me. There’s nudity, there’s a little bit of everything. Not to mention violence and profanity. It’s rated R, so that’s what you get.
Holmes: I was going over your bio before this and it blew my mind that you’ve been a major part of the WWE roster for over ten years now.
Holmes: You can’t wrestle forever. Is acting something you could see yourself transitioning into or are you WWE for life?
Orton: I wouldn’t say I’m WWE for life, I’d say my near future will consist of me primarily being in the ring. Wrestling is my first love. The movie was fun, but the schedule was grueling because I had to fly off on my off days to film. Eight weeks went by and I had three days off. If I do the movie thing, I’ll be sure that I’m only doing the movie so I can concentrate on it. (Laughs) I think I’d be more sane that way.
Holmes: Do you know what you’ll be doing for the next Pay Per View, Payback?
Orton: Well, I don’t know what I’ll be doing, but I can guarantee that I’ll be a part of it.
Holmes: I’d hope so, your face is all over the literature.
Orton: (Laughs) One thing’s for sure, it’s in Chicago and that Allstate Arena is one of the best places to have a fight in. That crowd is awesome. CM Punk being a Chicago native, he’s going against (Chris) Jericho. That should be interesting. That’s a rematch from a few Wrestlemanias ago. They had a good one then. So, that should probably be the marque match. But Payback will definitely be a good production you won’t want to miss.
Holmes: How’re you feeling about Cena vs. Ryback in the Three Stages of Hell match?
Orton: I’m impressed with Ryback, that’s for sure. Skip Sheffield of the days of old, he’s come a long way. It’s a cool story, there was a point a couple of years ago, he’d had such a bad injury that doctors told him he wouldn’t be able to wrestle again. Now he’s jacked and looks like Sloth from the “Goonies.”
Holmes: Great, now I won’t be able to unsee that. Thanks.
Orton: (Laughs) No problem.