BOSTON - AUGUST 28: Randy Couture reacts after defeating James Toney in the first round of their UFC heavyweight bout at the TD Garden on August 28 2010 in Boston Massachusetts. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
When you think of Randy Couture, a couple things typically come to mind, MMA and movies. The legendary fighter might be retired from fighting, but his other career endeavors keep him extraordinarily busy. With two movie releases over the next 60 days, UFC fight analysis duties and successful gyms (soon to be popping up in many locations), Couture's plate is pretty full. Despite this ridiculously active schedule, Randy was very generous with his time when I interviewed him for TapouT Radio. We talked about several topics which will span over a two part series. This is part one, and focuses more on his movie career. Part two focuses on all things MMA, and will be posted tomorrow.
I wanted to make a small personal note here on what a nice guy Randy is. This wasn't my first time getting an interview with him, so it came as no surprise. I was originally allotted a 15-20 minute time frame to get this interview done, but I received a lot of fan questions, and when I told him that, he gave me a 35 minute interview. I just feel that it was worth a mention.
Stephie Daniels: Can we first talk a little bit about your movies that are coming out?
Randy Couture: You can find Hijacked at the end of July. It hits DVD, Redbox and such on the 30th. I got to play the lead character in a CIA action thriller. There are a lot of firsts for me with this movie. Obviously, it's the first time I'm playing the lead guy in a movie and carry the ball, which was a lot of fun. I also had my first on-screen kiss [laughs], which was interesting and kind of fun. It wasn't what I expected, but it went very well.
Stephie Daniels: What was it like working with Vinnie Jones?
Randy Couture: Vinnie is a great guy. He's one of those guys with a great smile and he's fun to be around. I was really excited about getting the chance to work with him, Dominic Purcell and Holt McCallany. All three of those guys were great to be on set with and to be in scenes with. Vinnie lived up to everything I expected him to.
Stephie Daniels: When you're doing these movies, do the directors and producers sort of look to you to help with the fight choreography?
Randy Couture: James Lew was our stunt coordinator, and I've actually worked with him before, a couple of times. Most of the guys I've run across are fans of MMA and kind of know what the fans are going to want to see, and have an idea of what my abilities are. There's definitely a collaboration between what I'm comfortable doing, and what it is they're trying to capture for the essence of the scene. It works well, and I enjoy that part of the acting, the physical part is obviously the easy part for me.
Stephie Daniels: How much of your own stunts are you doing?
Randy Couture: As much as they'll let me do. When it comes to the hand to hand and close quarters combat, we do all that stuff ourselves. There's some stuff, especially when talking about The Expendables, where we're blowing a ton of stuff up, crashing airplanes, jumping out of helicopters, being shot at and such, well, there's only so much that the insurance company is going to allow the main actors to do, because if one of us gets injured, we can't finish the film. That's just kind of the way it is.
Sly is one of those guys that wants everybody to kind of step up and do as much as they're physically capable of doing. I think all the guys in the cast were certainly excited about that. We got a little more latitude in being able to do the things that we wanted to do, and that's the fun part.
Stephie Daniels: Who did you enjoy working with most on The Expendables?
Randy Couture: All the guys were great. Jason has got a pretty gregarious personality. Sly has a very unique intensity, and I think all of us learned a ton from being around Sly. It was electric on the set when all of The Expendables came together. I remember one particular day where we were doing this big airport scene, and all of us were in one big tent, kind of gearing up, putting on all our stuff to go out and shoot this big scene. It was kind of a surreal moment, to have everybody in the same spot, loading weapons and putting on armor.
I think the guys that I hung out with the most were Terry Crewes and Dolph Lundgren. Us three are kind of the backbone of the movie. We're kind of the "get the job done" crew of The Expendables. We're not really the big, marquee guys like Norris, Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis, so they have their big moments, and we're sprinkled throughout the whole film. It was a lot of fun.
Stephie Daniels: Your doing more and more movie roles. I recently saw you in a movie called Setup with 50 Cent, and now you have these movies coming out back to back. Are you taking extra steps with your film career, like acting classes, to sort of boost the range of roles you can choose from?
Randy Couture: That was actually a really fun character, to get to be kind of a jackass and goof around with the weapons. I enjoyed working with Curtis, and that was also my first opportunity to work with Bruce Willis. I got to play a guy named Petey. He was kind of a jerk, really. He was a knucklehead thug for a mobster, so I kind of liked Petey's demise in the film [laughs].
My first movie experience was Cradle To The Grave, which was with Jet Li and DMX. Me, Tito and Chuck were in that film in the underground fight scenes. I had one line in the movie, and that was my first opportunity to see the process, to be on a set. I was immediately intrigued by it, and I went out and started taking acting classes and got a real agent in the Gersh Agency and Brett Norensberg. From then, the jobs got better and I started learning more. Now, I have a coach. He's a great guy that has worked with some of the top people in the business. We get along great. He makes me do a lot of improv stuff and really helps me find characters that I'm trying to play.
Stephie Daniels: You're currently doing action roles, and doing well in them. Will we get to see you in a more serious role in the future?
Randy Couture: I hope so. I love the action genre, but I think a romantic comedy would be fun. I've always wanted to be in a Western, and think that would be a hoot. I'm up for anything. I want to keep broadening my horizons and learning more and developing more skills in this industry.
Stephie Daniels: Are there plans for a third installment of The Expendables?
Randy Couture: There is a lot of talk about starting the shooting for The Expendables 3 at the end of this year or the beginning of next year.
You can follow Randy via his Twitter, @Randy_Couture
Part II of this interview will be available tomorrow.
Here are the trailers for Randy's upcoming films:
The Expendables 2 Official Trailer #2 (2012) Sylvester Stallone Movie HD (via movieclipsTRAILERS)
Hijacked Official Trailer #1 (2012) - Starring Randy Couture (via WorldCinemaNews)