EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Conan Stevens - Pt 2
Following HBO's Game of Thrones, the imposing actor will be stealing scenes in Spartacus: Vengeance, The Hobbit, and Vikingdom. However, before he was an actor he was a wrestler.
Interview Conducted By: Mark Julian
Here's part two of my chat with actor Conan Stevens. If you missed the first part of the interview, click here.The former wrestler turned actor opens up about that experience and his take on wrestlers entering the acting profession. Plus, he opens up about his interpretation of Thor in Vikingdom and reveals his personal pick between next year's showdown between The Dark Knight Rises and the Avengers.
MARK JULIAN:Before you were an actor, you were in the wrestling industry and if my information is correct, an injury is what ultimately forced you to stop wrestling. Is it safe to say that if you were never injured you never would've pursued acting? And what are your thoughts on the trend of wrestlers turning to Hollywood?
CONAN STEVENS: At the age of 16 I had chosen Professional Wrestling as my vehicle to fame, then I was going to use that fame to cross over into acting. So if I had never had the injury I would have (a) some coin in my pocket 10 years ago - very important when you are living on borrowed money to eat rice and beans, and (b) I would have had a much easier entrance into acting than moving to work my way up through Asia like I did, where at least it was cheap to eat rice.
I'd seen Hulk Hogan start to do movies, those silly kids comedies that he made which, as a wrestling fan I found hugely disappointing. Disappointing? Yes. [But] I watched them. Why? Because the Hulkster was in them.
I came up with this fantastic plan to go to the gym get bigger to become a wrestler (I ended up putting on 85kg) then win the championship belt then use the fame to open doors in Hollywood to do more serious action movies. So even with the injury I have still taken the same path except that I had a 10 years delay during which I fell back on my computer business and I was forced to learn marketing and sales due to the massive competition in that marketplace. I put those advertising and marketing skills into action in my acting career, allowing me to become the biggest unwatched star in the history of the Internet. I've had 2.5 million unique viewers on my personal website and yet almost none have seen any of my work.... yet.
As to my thoughts on the wrestlers trying out for Hollywood, I would say there is a shortage of big bad guys, there is an even bigger a shortage of big guys who can believably act. Wrestling is a time limited income opportunity, you never know when you'll be injured and sidelined for good. You need a second option, preferably something that will allow you to live a similar lifestyle rather than attempting to try to fit back into normal society because as we saw in the movie "The Wrestler" it is very difficult (the movie is so true you would not believe).
This reminds me of something I said to a Japanese Director at a casting interview; She asked me what, besides the obvious, made me different from the others at the casting. I looked at them [and she had a collection of the best martial artists and stunt men from SE Asia in that room] and I said "They are fighters trying to act, I am an actor who can fight." She smiled, nodded and said "Yes, a big difference."
MARK JULIAN: If you could play any comic book character (I feel like you might say THOR b/c of VIKINGDOM) who would it be?
CONAN STEVENS: Funny enough, and this is 100% true, it is Thor. Since I already played Man-Thing I figured that someday they would get around to making a film with the THOR in it, I wanted to play that part. Unfortunately I was not ready when the announcement was made, I did not have enough experience nor the credits to get a look into that. Having watched the start of the film [though] I was disappointed with the direction they seemed to be taking. I would rather have played someone a hell of a lot more angry and a lot more arrogant.
So imagine my surprise when the Producer from VIKINGDOM asked me if I was confident [enough] to play a really angry, violent interpretation of Thor? I laughed and said "Easy."
MARK JULIAN: Being that this is CBM and all, I usually ask all my interviewees this question, 'Next year, there's The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Which film are you looking forward to the most?'
CONAN STEVENS: I am interested in very few films these days but what they have done with Batman is great, it goes to show Hollywood they don't need to babify and spoon feed happy family versions of comic book heroes to make money. I mean anyone who enjoys violence and conflict so much so that he seeks it out for free has some serious issues - show it!
Again, The Hobbit portion of our interview will most-likely be posted sometime in early 2012. Oh, and just to give you a frame of reference, see that photo at the bottom of Conan and Peter Jackson? Remember, Peter Jackson is 5'-6".