Stone Cold speaks (cont.)
Posted: Thursday April 26, 2007 3:36PM; Updated: Thursday April 26, 2007 3:36PM
SI.com: How involved were you with the 12 rewrites?
Austin: From the word go, I was very involved. I met with the original writer, Rob Hedden, a couple times. He took it as far as he could. After about three swings, we hired writer/director Scott Wiper. He did a phenomenal job. He came out to the house in Malibu, had a few beers, talked about our movie likes and dislikes. We were really on the same page as far as action movies. Every time he did a rewrite, I'd offer my criticism. Sometimes I said very unkind things to him -- in a nice way. Scott's an awesome guy and he listens to you and he's willing to change things.
SI.com: Your character is probably the quietest one in the movie.
Austin: Jack Conrad is a lot closer to my normal personality. I love being Stone Cold Steve Austin, but I'm a lot closer to Jack Conrad. Before Wiper and I shot dialogue scenes, we'd watch some dailies, we'd look at the script, we'd have a beer. And I'd say, 'Scott, I don't really think I need to say this.' I pulled out a lot of my dialogue. In the movie, the stuff I say is all I need to say. The Condemned wasn't about, 'Steve Austin is in his first movie, so he's got to run his mouth a hundred miles an hour.' Running my mouth in wrestling is what got me famous. In my first movie, it just didn't fit.
SI.com: Was there any talk of you doing a stunner [Austin's finishing move in wrestling] in a fight scene?
Austin: Oh no. We made it absolutely for sure that we didn't try to do it. There were no clotheslines, no this, that, whatever. If it had anything to do with wrestling, it wasn't in there.
SI.com: I thought you did a suplex when you were fighting Nathan Jones [a former WWE wrestler who plays another contestant in The Condemned].
Austin: That was a throw. You could call it a hip toss, but it was more of a judo throw.
SI.com: This is a pretty brutal movie. There are some scenes that are going to make some people uncomfortable -- especially the one where a woman is being hit and molested.
Austin: It was a hard movie. The one dark scene with McStarley and Rosa, was filmed for two days and it was very quiet and somber on the set during that time. This movie was like that from the word go. It's a hard movie. It's rated R. But I don't think there was anything in the movie that was ever gratuitous. Everything was for a reason. And when he ends up -- I don't want to say too much, when will this come out?
Austin: I don't want to give too much away, but I'll say it like this: you want to see that guy die.
SI.com: Do you have a next movie in line?
Austin: We're looking for something now, something action oriented, but that will be more solo driven, by myself. We'll try to find something ASAP, but it's hard to find the right movie.
SI.com: The obvious money match out there is a movie with you and The Rock. Have you talked to him about it?
Austin: I haven't talked to the Rock in a couple years. I know where he's at in his career. I'm open to working with anybody. People ask me who I'd like to work with, but, hey, I'm new in the game, maybe no one wants to work with me, I don't know. But I just say, take your top 10 directors and your top 10 actors and actresses, those are the people I'd like to work with. Maybe I have to work my way up to that. I have to pay some dues. I did it in wrestling, and I have to do it in acting.
SI.com: Have we seen the last of you in a wrestling ring, other than in a referee's jersey [Austin refereed the Donald Trump-Vince McMahon hair match at the last Wrestlemania]?
Austin: As a performer, I could go out there and work a full schedule and be the No. 1 guy for two years. There's no sense in that. I've taken sports entertainment to the highest level it's ever been taken. I don't have anything to prove. And really, nothing to gain. I look back at that business with very, very many fond memories. I want to be hunting and fishing in 10 to 15 years, just like I'm sitting here talking to you, in good health. I want to be happy and pain-free. That's where I'm at right now, and that's where I want to remain.
This week I like
The memory of David Halberstam, who died Monday. When I was a teenager I read The Breaks of the Game, about the 1979-80 Portland Trail Blazers, and loved it. I read my favorite parts over and over. In college I watched a lot of NBA basketball with one of my roommates and frequently quoted The Breaks of the Game while we watched. After graduation, as a way of saying how much I had enjoyed the last year, I gave him my copy of The Breaks of the Game. The point being, Halberstam's words are valuable things.
The silky shot of Syracuse recruit Donte Greene, which was on display Saturday at the Jordan Brand All-American Classic at Madison Square Garden. Other high school seniors who looked like gamers: Kyle Singler, (heading to Duke), Chandler Parsons (a Florida recruit) and Blake Griffin (an Oklahoma recruit). Corey Fisher, going to Villanova, was impressive when he played point guard, but less so when he was paired with the speedy Jai Lucas in the backcourt and moved to shooting guard.
The Western conference playoffs so far. The East, not so much.
Mike Silver's Adrian Peterson story in this week's SI.
The pepperoni pie -- well done -- at V&Ts.
Lester Bangs' interviews with Lou Reed in the 1970s, which are gathered in Bangs' anthology Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung. I re-read the Lou Reed interviews the other day and realized afresh that's as good as it gets.