At 39, Georges St-Pierre is well aware that his time as an elite athlete is drawing to a close. The two-division UFC Champion tells Variety he is looking to make his way to the top all over again—this time as a Hollywood action star.
“I started taking it more seriously, and now I’m having acting class every week. Theater, camera acting, audition coaching and English lessons. It’s a lot of work, and I put in the same amount of work and passion that I used for training. In martial arts, you start at white belt. That’s where I have to start with acting. I have to climb the mountain again.”
St-Pierre made his debut as Georges Batroc (aka Batroc the Leaper), in 2014’s Captain America: Winter Soldier, and he will return to the MCU on Disney+ in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in the role that is perfect for him—Batroc is a French speaking master of martial arts.
In 2016, St-Pierre starred alongside his childhood idol Jean-Claude Van Damme in Kickboxer: Vengeance, once again playing to his strength as a martial artist.
St-Pierre tells Variety there is a lot crossover on what creates success for a fighter and an actor. “My sport is a full-contact sport, so there’s a lot of mental work. Trash talking, mind games. Deep down inside, you’re afraid, but you have to act like the win is inevitable. It can be heartbreaking. You have to dig deep and show perseverance.”
Even more directly, fighters are also actors themselves, according to St-Pierre. “When you see Conor McGregor, for example, he’s playing a role. Fighters play a role. That’s the persona that he gives himself: Love me, hate me, but don’t ignore me. I’m more shy and true to the value of martial arts, and that’s how I carried myself in that business. We are all actors — when it’s time to perform.”
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is scheduled to premiere on March 19, 2021, and will consist of six episodes.