Randy Goes A Few Rounds With The Kidd To Talk 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded And A Few Key Moments Of His In-Ring Career
The second I hear that another wrestler… excuse me, WWE Superstar… is going to be fronting another new movie, the eyes automatically react by rolling, and my mind heads straight for that “Seriously, why?” place it’s been known to go to when news spreads of something that, on the surface, sounds like a terrible idea. Let’s face it… the model of forcing wrestlers to the forefront of movies hasn’t exactly worked out well over the years since Hulk Hogan battled Zeus in NO HOLDS BARRED (although I still have a special place in my heart for that flick… sue me… I was 9 when it came out, and Hulkamania was running wild). The strategy has put WWE Studios in a very dicey spot right now that they’ve been trying to recover from as, outside of their own fan community, it’s tough to get the average mainstream movie-goer to sit down in front of a movie that stars The Big Show or Kane. The studio has been trying to utilize their own talent in mostly bit and supporting roles in their projects now, so as not to distract the viewer with “Hey, isn’t that [Insert wrestler’s name here]?” and THE CALL was a big step in the right direction as far as I’m concerned. DEAD MAN DOWN tried to accomplish the same thing, and, while in its Superstar involvement, it worked, it wasn’t a very good film that many people went to see.
So when I was presented with the opportunity to see 12 ROUNDS 2: RELOADED, not only a sequel to the okay action flick which starred WWE Champion John Cena, but a direct-to-DVD/Blu-ray follow-up, this time with Randy Orton in the lead role, every bone in my body told me that I should take the two hours I’d spend watching this and do something else. But I said, “What the hell…?” and went with it, willing to spend an afternoon giving 12 ROUNDS 2 a fair shot, and you know what…? My body was a bit off. I’m not saying 12 ROUNDS 2 is a fantastic flick, not by any means. It’s predictable and doesn’t stray much from conventions we’ve seen done much better elsewhere… plus, for an action-driven movie, its villain and his motivations are incredibly weak sauce, which really hurt the movie in establishing any sort of consequences for their hero. But it held my interest and entertained me a bit, and, furthermore, I was incredibly surprised by how well Randy Orton was able to command the screen when he was involved, which is quite a bit, making me curious to see what he might be capable of if given the ball for another feature film down the line, one that’s a little bit better overall.
His character Nick Malloy is a far departure from either the Legend Killer or Viper personas we’ve come to know throughout Orton’s in-ring career, with flashes of both personality and humor that we don’t often come to associate with the WWE Superstar. And, while I’ll admit to wanting to see Orton drop someone with an RKO in the middle of a fight sequence, I never once got the sense that I was watching a wrestler on-screen, which may be the best compliment I can pay to Orton’s work here. Orton was able to separate himself from his other profession for 12 ROUNDS 2, which allowed me to get into the film and become interested in the journey Nick Malloy would make during the course of the film. It wasn’t me watching Randy Orton trying to play Nick Malloy… it was Nick Malloy, who, once the credits began to roll, happened to be played by Randy Orton.
Therefore, I was quite interested in talking to Randy Orton about his preparation for the film and the difference in approach to acting from what he’s used to in the ring. Besides talking about 12 ROUNDS 2: RELOADED, I was able to get candid with Randy concerning his past feud with Mick Foley, his short-lived first reign as WWE Championship and some of the struggles faced by second- and third-generation talent trying to make a name for themselves in the wrestling industry. Enjoy.
Your movie 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded is out now. Is it true you did all your own stunts?
Yes! Doing my own stunts was one of the coolest experiences of the film – as a kid, I wanted to be a stuntman. That always appealed to me. Now, fast-forward, I’m doing some of the most amazing stunts in my own movie! What guy doesn’t want to do 180s or burn-outs in a car?
How different is it from what you do for live WWE shows?
The big difference is that in WWE I get one take, whereas in the movie I could do as many takes as I needed for a given stunt.
We asked Diamond Dallas Page if he had a favorite current take on his Diamond Cutter, and he said your RKO. What do you think of his idea about you two having a match?
DDP is without question a legend, but let’s not forget I was called “The Legend Killer” earlier in my career…
Have you tried his DDP Yoga?
No, I haven’t yet, but I have heard great things – a lot of the guys in the locker room swear by it. I guess I will have to give it a try!
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.
WWE’s Randy Orton recently took some time to talk to us about his film, “12 Rounds: Reloaded”, who his favorite wrestlers were as a kid, his life as a professional wrestler, and to offer advice for aspiring wrestlers.
Mandatory: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions, I know you’re busy. I just watched “12 Rounds: Reloaded” and it was great. What was it like working in front of a camera instead of an arena full of fans?
Randy Orton: Well, in that arena full of fans there’s usually a couple of cameras keeping an eye on us there too, you know? When we do T.V., we’ve got 5, 6, 7 cameras on us at one time and that’s how this director liked to do things. He always had at least 4 or 5 cameras running so the whole multiple cameras and, you know, in front of people thing, I was used to that. Doing live TV, there’s nothing more stressful than that, but with the movie, I was very nervous. I had about 20 hours of acting classes crammed in the week before I flew up to Vancouver. We rehearsed up there for a week and that helped with some of the nerves, being up there around everybody. Everyone was great and really nice to me. They knew I was a beginner and that I needed to lean on them as much as possible, but it was kind of a lot less stressful than the whole wrestling thing because we had take after take after take. If something happened the director didn’t like, just do it again.
Were there any changes to your workout regimen for the movie compared to your regular workout routine?
Oh yeah, well even normally it’s difficult to get into the gym more than two or three times per week but add in another four 10-20 minutes matches onto that, that’s enough for a week. But you know in this instance with the movie I had two days off in eight weeks. We shot for five weeks and I would fly home on Monday and come back on Wednesday every week when I was doing the movie. What I was doing on those days, while everyone else had the day off, I would go do Smackdown or Raw. So I did that for five weeks then we went straight to a European tour after that, that was almost three weeks. So it was a tough eight week process when I was gone last fall, but it was worth it and time flew that’s for sure. Time just flew by because you’re working so much. My workouts really did suffer. I was trying to eat as clean as I could and definitely hit the weights at least once a week. Anything more than that I just didn’t have the time.
Did you do your own stunts for the movie?
I did them all. There was one scene where I actually got kicked down a flight of stairs. I had a stunt double. His name was Ed. He was Triple H’s stunt double for “Blade: Trinity” with Wesley Snipes, as a matter of fact. Good guy. He told me about a bunch of cool stuff he had done. But he didn’t get to work much [on this film] so he didn’t like me too much I’d imagine. They get paid for every bump they take and the bigger the bump, the more money. I remember joking with him about taking bumps like, “Yeah I wish I got paid for every bump I took, I’d be a billionaire!”