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WWE SmackDown LIVE

WWESmackDownLive
Photo Courtesy of WWE.com

Event: WWE SmackDown LIVE

City Attended: Providence, RI

Venue: Dunkin’ Donuts Center

Concert Date: 05-22-19

The Reason We Went: As children of the 1980s, we grew up with the understanding that if we trained, ate our vitamins, said our prayers and believed in ourselves that we could grow up as strong and raspy-voiced as Hulk Hogan. We idolized The Rockers, snapped into Slim Jims because Randy “Macho Man” Savage suggested it and loved to hate heel managers like Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. And now, 30+ years later, our kids are enjoying the same experience as they pour themselves into every pulled punch of current roster stars like The New Day, Becky “The Man” Lynch and Braun Strowman. It’s a shared experience that we can have with our kids that transcends generations, and in a world that is moving at the speed of light, it’s nice to have something that, while much different than the WWF that we enjoyed at their age, is essentially operating under the same set of rules.

What We Thought: With a big focus on character returns, including The New Day’s Big E and newly-formed heel Dolph Ziggler, the night offered a lot of surprises for those who don’t follow Internet spoilers. There was plenty of foreshadowing, including a main event between Roman Reigns and Elias, that further set the table for Reigns versus Shane McMahon at the upcoming WWE SuperShowdown on Friday June 7. Becky Lynch induced the most raucous pop from the crowd as the Rhode Islanders in attendance went nuts for the charismatic bad girl with good intentions. All in all, it was a night that both the young (our kids) and the old (us) could enjoy.

Bonus Takeaway: Live WWE events are a blast, but it can be jarring to watch the matches without the color commentary, which in our opinion, always enhances the action by way of propelling the narrative forward or injecting a dose of humor. Why not stream that commentary through the stadium speakers or at least offer up a way for those in attendance to listen live from their mobile devices? Hell, if we willingly paid $6.00 for a bottle of water, we’d be happy to pay for a chance to further enhance the experience.

And that’s why we’re giving this show…

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Wingman Wednesday

Robert Maillet

RobertMailletFeatured

Being a professional wrestler – performing live in front of thousands of people at a time – prepared Robert Maillet for his career as a film and television actor. Even on his first project, the big screen, big-budget adaptation of the graphic novel “300,” the man once called Kurrgan in the squared circle was now perfectly comfortable taking direction from Zack Snyder and having all eyes on set fixated on him. Compared to the audience at an event like WrestleMania, the cast and crew of a film, even one as ambitious as “300,” couldn’t match the headcount of what he was used to working in front of while at the WWE.

We recently sat down with Maillet to discuss his latest project “Polar,” fighting an invisible enemy at his audition, and how his successful Oddities run at the WWE stemmed from dancing at an after-party.

TrunkSpace: Looking back over your career thus far, would 12-year-old Robert be surprised by how it has played out?
Maillet: Yeah, I think my 12-year-old self would be surprised because at the time, to be an actor, work as an actor – and also work as a professional wrestler – it was far away from my mind at 12 years old. And though I used a lot of my imagination at the time – I was a daydreamer and I loved movies and stuff – never would I imagine I would be in films.

It’s also not surprising, though. What I was doing at the time, when I was 12, I used to draw a lot… tell stories. Caricatures and stuff. I was into Conan, all the animated stuff – cartoons. Anything that inspired me, I would draw and tell stories, so I was kind of a storyteller, much like being a wrestler and an actor kind of have similarities.

TrunkSpace: And with your new movie “Polar,” which is based on a graphic novel, it has sort of come full comic-book-circle.
Maillet: That’s true. Funny though, a lot of the stuff I worked on, most of it is always based on comic books… graphic novels and comic books. “300,” my first big feature film I did is a true story, based on the true event of Frank Miller’s graphic novel. So, that’s fascinating when you think about it. That’s true.

TrunkSpace: A movie like “300,” or “Pacific Rim,” which you also starred in, and now “Polar” as well… they all have a visual element to them that make them feel like a live action comic book.
Maillet: That’s right, and it’s great to see that medium, that form of storytelling – comic book form – that’s so popular to translate into TV or films. Imagination can go anywhere – there’s no boundaries – so you can get some really great original stuff out of it. It’s really cool to see.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned being a storyteller even at an early age. Do you view the path of your career as one career, or was professional wrestling something separate than your on-screen acting? Because from an outside perspective it seems that professional wrestling could be a really great boot camp for on-camera acting because there is so much character work involved.
Maillet: For sure. And you’re right, I see my career as kind of the same path – the similarities between acting and wrestling. And wrestling has prepared me for being an actor, because when I was with the WWE for a couple years – my big break, of course – it’s very much is like show biz. The way the whole machine was run, the marketing machine and especially for TV stuff – when they were doing the live events and Pay-per-views and WrestleMania – it was very much show biz. You’re in character, you gotta somewhat have a script as well, you gotta know the finish and all that stuff. A lot of it is rehearsals and it’s all about storytelling – making sure the audience gets sucked into your story, gets connected with your character and what’s going on in the ring. That’s the basis for acting. It wasn’t a shock for me the first time I went on a TV set or a movie set. It was very familiar. And to me, because I was in front of a live crowd, in front of thousands of people every night, I was very comfortable being on set… being in front of the lights and in front of 50 people behind the camera.

I remember my first day on “300.” I was in makeup – five hours of makeup – and we did rehearsals for like a month prior to it. And then finally the day comes to shoot my first day… a big Hollywood feature film. It was a big deal so there’s, like I said, 50 people behind the camera just looking at you. Lights and camera are on you and you think, “I should be nervous.” It’s the one time I would have been I guess, but wrestling prepared me.

TrunkSpace: Was the success and interest of “Polar” a surprise at all? Even on IMDb it peaked at the top MOVIEmeter spot, which is not an easy feat with everything else out these days.
Maillet: It was. I remember reading the script and I remember doing the audition – it was over a year ago now, just before Christmas of 2017 – and I had no lines. I had no lines for the sides. And they wanted me to reenact a big fight with Duncan (played by Mads Mikkelsen) that would never happen in the film. They wanted me to reenact it, basically by myself, so I had to pretend I was fighting somebody else who was invisible. (Laughter) The whole scene was described basically as I stab him or shoot him and then I punch him and I fall into a barn and eventually he gets swept into the barn and kills me. So I had to reenact the whole thing.

Maillet with Heather Doerksen in “Pacific Rim”

So I used my wrestling background, my acting background, to use my imagination and I hadn’t heard from them for over a month. And then a month later, January of last year, they offered me a role because they loved my performance. And when I read the script, it was in your face, I mean, they weren’t pulling punches in that film. And I knew it was gonna work because I loved those kind of films. That’s my genre, as a fan. It’s so different and unique and I like it when they’re not afraid to show the audience. It’s a great way to shock. I love that stuff.

TrunkSpace: For the viewer, the end result is always the most memorable part of a film or TV show, but for you, we would imagine it’s the process. What will you take with you through the rest of your life – the thing that will stay with you – from shooting the film?
Maillet: Well, I think it’s the friends… the people you work with. I got close to the group, to the A-team. We got really close in filming. I had a great time with the people. We really got along very well, and I think it shows on film. It was so fun to work with all of the actors and the crew, especially with Jonas Åkerlund, the director, he was so nice and so open to our ideas. He’s easy to work with.

It’s funny with Mads – great guy, he’s a cool guy – I met him prior to that, maybe four years ago now, for a HorrorHound convention in Indianapolis four years ago. We were represented by the same convention agent, so after the event we would all go out, a group of us, to eat supper, including Mads, and so we got along very well that weekend. We started taking selfies together. (Laughter) Unbeknownst to me, four years later, I’m chasing him around the woods. It was kind of cool.

TrunkSpace: We talked earlier about how you were always a storyteller. You’ve been involved in some pretty wild storytelling in film, but are those the wildest storylines you’ve been involved with, or did your days in professional wrestling lead to more crazy things happening with you from a narrative standpoint?
Maillet: I think professional wrestling. At the time when I was there, it called the Attitude Era. They were pretty risky with the stuff they were trying to do. They had a wrestler who had a porn actor gimmick, behaving like one of those you see on www.hdpornvideo.xxx.

Maillet as Kurrgan in the WWE

TrunkSpace: Val Venis, right?
Maillet: Val Venis! But see, he worked that gimmick so well and he was this natural, great talent and he made it work. Not a lot of guys would have made it work.

At the time, it was very risky and I was afraid they were going to do something with me… something that wouldn’t be comfortable, which, in a way, they did. They put me in as this drooling monster, the evil Kurrgan who destroys everything, and then they pitched me the idea to do this fun-loving… The Oddities. I remember I was at home and I got a call from Vince Russo… not Vince McMahon… the head writer. And he never called. He never called my home before and I was like, “What the hell is going on?” (Laughter) I was kind of in limbo at the time. They weren’t sure what they were doing with me, with the whole Kurrgan thing, and then he pitched me the idea of this fun loving group, dancing and having fun while dressed up in tie-dyed goofy clothes. The whole thing was to introduce ourselves singing Miss America dressed up in tuxedos.

So, he didn’t see my face – my initial reaction while he was pitching me that – but I was basically saying no to myself. But I said yes of course. It was probably the only opportunity I would have to be with them. They would have let me go, probably, if I said no. So yes, it was very uncomfortable at first, doing that thing, because it was out of my norm, but it worked because it got over. The guys got into it. They got some great music from ICP and it got over. We got busy… really busy for a year. We did Pay-Per-Views, magazine covers and video games. So it worked, but it was not my thing to do, dancing in front of a crowd.

TrunkSpace: Unexpected lightning in a bottle.
Maillet: What happened was – this is a true story – there was a WrestleMania after-party in Boston back in ‘98. We could bring our wives with us, so I brought my wife. My wife, she loves to dance, so of course she wanted me to dance with her on the dance floor at the party. I should have known because there’s a lot of male wrestlers not dancing and they’re looking at me, staring at me. They couldn’t believe this dancing giant. So then Vince McMahon was there and saw me dancing and he couldn’t get the idea of me dancing out of his mind, so the whole Oddities thing came about.

Polar” is available now on Netflix.

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Wingman Wednesday

CJ “Lana” Perry

CJLanaPerryFeatured5
Photographer: Diana Ragland/Hair: Robert Steinken/Makeup: Brian Valentine/Wardrobe: Madison Guest

CJ “Lana” Perry is known as The Ravishing Russian in the ring, and while we find it impossible to discredit her ravishingness (yes, totally a made up word!), The Resilient Russian is just as suitable of a name. The WWE Superstar has been focused, hard working, and tireless in her quest to achieve a career in the squared circle, despite her lifelong struggles with learning disabilities. Passion for the craft and an unwillingness to listen to the naysayers has carried her forward however, and now she’s set to appear at Money in the Bank this Sunday on pay-per-view and the WWE Network, going boot to boot with some of the best and brightest in the women’s division ladder match.

We recently sat down with the ravishing AND resilient CJ “Lana” Perry to discuss her training focus for Money in the Bank, how she never lets go of the WWE butterflies, and why, like life, her career is a marathon and not a sprint.

TrunkSpace: You are gearing up for a very exciting weekend by the looks of it!
CJ “Lana” Perry: Yes, a very exciting weekend. I’m so excited that I don’t know what to do with myself.

TrunkSpace: Is it difficult to stay focused on Money in the Bank, but then also have to juggle everything else that’s going on with work, and life, and just sort of building towards the event?
CJ “Lana” Perry: There’s definitely a lot going on, that’s for sure. We’re filming “Total Divas” right now on top of everything, so it’s pretty much just go, go, go. I think I have 12 hours home today before I leave tomorrow. But my number one priority is Money in the Bank this Sunday, and training for that. I actually fly out to San Diego tomorrow to train with Daniel Bryan because, it’s not like he hasn’t had any ladder matches, right? He keeps on telling me to keep my feet on the ground. I’m like, “I can’t keep my feet on the ground. I have to climb a ladder!”

TrunkSpace: We get nervous just climbing a ladder to put up Christmas lights! Even when you plan for every possible outcome and scenario, there still has to be some nervousness, right? It’s so high!
CJ “Lana” Perry: Oh, it’s nuts. I’m not scared of heights, but I realize ladders… they’re so unstable, so it’s not just the height. It’s just insane to me. This is going to be Naomi’s third ladder match, so I was able to train some with Naomi. We were using basically an 8’ ladder, and they’re going to be 10’ and 12’ is the big one. It’s the 12’ one that you have to go up to actually grab the briefcase! It’s crazy. When we put the ladder in the ring, it’s even more unstable. Obviously they’re going to be trying to pull you down, and who knows what other shenanigans are going to be happening. So I’m just trying to prepare myself as much as possible for this – lifting a lot. It’s really heavy. People don’t realize how heavy these ladders are. That’s why I was training with Naomi. We went to a ring, she had me doing things outside in her backyard, because she’s insane. She’s the crazy cat lady. (Laughter) Then I’m training with Bryan tomorrow and Friday to prepare for this.

I have to get used to the fact that my feet will be coming off the ground.

TrunkSpace: We would have to imagine that a ladder match requires a different approach to training because, even just the art of falling… it takes on a new artistic point of view from 12’ up!
CJ “Lana” Perry: Oh, for sure. Definitely a completely different approach. Ladder matches are… the risks, the stakes, are so much higher. They’re so much more intense. We’re so much higher! You could fall 12’ at least, or maybe more, depending if the ladder falls onto the outside and you fall out of the ring. You just have to be really, really prepared. You have to be prepared physically, but also mentally. That’s the reason why the first ever ladder match happened a year ago for women, because the stakes are so high, and it is really intense. That’s the reason why this is the second ever Money in the Bank ladder match at the pay-per-view Money in the Bank, besides the rematch that they had on RAW last year, the following week after the pay-per-view. So it’s just… to be a part of a historic moment like this – and the talent in this match, the women, they’re all such incredible talents – so I’m really, really excited, and grateful to be in the ring with such talented women.

TrunkSpace: You’ve been working in this industry for a long time now, traveling the globe doing what you love. It’s a lifestyle that few people ever get to experience. Do you still experience that same excitement about what you do as you did early in your career?
CJ “Lana” Perry: Oh, of course! I get excitement all the time! I mean, I can’t even tell you how I’ll feel goosebumps. When we went to Santiago, Chile, and the fans were just exploding. It was electrifying. The energy there is just… I could feel it through my entire body. Then I went into the audience and had a hoodie on, and I watched the rest of the show once I finished, because it was just such… the energy was just so exciting. I just love what we do so much. I’m so grateful for what we do. I never lose the butterflies.

I love traveling. I love experiencing new things, new cultures, food, sights, and people, so it’s so exciting. I always try and get out in any of the cities that we are in if we have time. I always try and go sightseeing, eat the food, and just experience it because I’m so blessed to be able to do what I love for a living and travel the world. And I have my husband with me, so it’s really, really, really exciting.

Photo courtesy of WWE.

 

TrunkSpace: Yeah, that has to be a part of it that makes it even more unique – getting to experience it all with the person that you love?
CJ “Lana” Perry: Yes! I’m so grateful for it. We always talk about that, Rusev and I, how grateful we are that we get to travel the world doing what we love with the person that we love.

TrunkSpace: It was just last month that you won your very first singles match. Have things been altered for you at all – your approach to preparation or training – since that career changer?
CJ “Lana” Perry: I would say it’s been very encouraging, but I’ve been doing the same thing. I’ve been training. I say it’s the slow and the steady that’s going to win the race, and I am the slow, and I am the steady. I might not be the fastest, or the quickest learner, but I am passionate. I work hard. I am resilient and I work hard to persevere. It takes time to become good. It just takes time to be good at anything. I would say I’ve really only been wrestling on a weekly base for the last year – wrestling at live events every week has been only consistently for a year. It takes years to become great.

One thing is just getting in the ring and training. Another thing is that where you get good is having matches every week. Having matches at least several times a week is the way you become good, and so it’s just been the persevering of, “Okay, yeah I lose, but…” I lost a lot. I think my first win before my singles match was on Mixed Match Challenge. It was with Rusev, and I beat Bayley, which was just, I believe, a miracle, because she’s incredible. Incredible, incredible talent and in ring performer.

I had read – and my dad actually sent it to me because he likes to read the internet – he sent me that I had had 60 matches, and that I had lost 60 times on the main roster. This was my first win. It was 61, and it was on his birthday, and he was turning 61. So it was really cool for me.

I think my story is about persevering and working hard, and that reflects my life. I haven’t always been the best at anything, but I continue to work and persevere, and I will win the race.

TrunkSpace: Everybody needs a dad internet filter because the internet can be a scary place! (Laughter)
CJ “Lana” Perry: (Laughter) I know! It really, really is. It can be very, very scary.

Photo courtesy of WWE.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned how you’ve been performing in the ring regularly for the last year, but what was that very first moment like when you were standing behind the curtain, waiting for your music to play?
CJ “Lana” Perry: Well, last year was my singles debut at Money in the Bank actually, against Naomi for the title match. I was beyond nervous. I thought I was going to throw up. It was just so much pressure. I wanted to be in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Shane McMahon told me that I hadn’t proven myself yet. Then Naomi wanted to face me because she wanted a match for Money in the Bank, so I really, really, really lucked out that I was able to have my first singles match, and that it was a title match. I got really lucky, but at the same time, it’s like, “Am I ready for a title at Money in the Bank pay-per-view?” (Laughter)

I didn’t deserve that, but those were the cards that were handed to me. So it’s like, “Did I earn that yet?” No, I had one tag match on TV, and that was a year before Wrestlemania. But, life throws you some crazy cards, and you have to play the cards that are given to you. You have to make the most of it. I was so, so nervous. I was just like, “Okay, I know some people might think I do good, but I’m sure half the internet and Twitter trolls are going to eat me up and say I’m the worst wrestler of all time.” It just is what it is. You just have to make the most of it. I was so nervous, but when I walked through that curtain and, I can’t explain it. When I’m standing there, my heart is racing and I’m just trying to calm myself, but once I go through that curtain, it’s just like, “I’m born to do this.” I love it.

TrunkSpace: Like you mentioned, you’re currently filming the latest season of “Total Divas.” How does that fit into your day-to-day life? Is it something that you’re consciously aware of at all times, or does it just kind of exist as a part of your life, going along with you?
CJ “Lana” Perry: I just let it go along with me. I always wanted to do “Total Divas” because I felt like my journey was so unconventional, especially compared to all the other women – all the other WWE superstars. I really, really wanted to show my life, and to show my journey, because my journey to the WWE, and my in-ring journey reflects, really, my life journey. I have had a very, very unconventional life. I’m an American that grew up in Russia. I have Christian missionary parents. I have a lot of learning disabilities, and you’re going to see that in “Total Divas.” I knew I had learning disabilities, but I didn’t realize I had such severe learning disabilities. You’re going to see me deal with that. At one point I wasn’t on TV for 13 weeks and I was just so discouraged. I can get really, really, really discouraged. When you keep on working hard and you keep on trying, you keep on trying to get into storylines, and you just have to wait. It’s a patience game, and it’s about being resilient and persevering. I’m happy that I am able to show these ups and these downs on “Total Divas,” because life is that. If I can share anything with people, to girls and boys and people of all ages, it’s that life is a marathon. It’s not a sprint. My career is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and that applies to all areas of life.

TrunkSpace: Sharing the story of your struggles to overcome learning disabilities could help other young people feel not so alone in their own struggles.
CJ “Lana” Perry: Yes. That’s what I hope, to really encourage people. Even if you do have learning disabilities, and you do learn differently, that doesn’t mean that it can stop you from achieving your dreams, and achieving the things that you love. I think that when I realized that, when I saw all the disabilities that I have, I was like, “Wow, I went through college?” Holy freaking moly! I should never have. That’s the reason why I feel like I’m able to persevere in WWE, because it’s kind of like, even with the critics, even with people saying I shouldn’t be here or that I’m not the best or not good enough or not strong enough, it’s like, no, I am going to keep on being resilient and I’m going to keep on persevering.

TrunkSpace: Well, we think you should let your husband keep Rusev Day, and much like how we celebrate our birthday, you should adopt Lana Week!
CJ “Lana” Perry: (Laughter) I like that! Though I take a whole month for my birthday, so we can do Lana Week and Lana Month! (Laughter)

Money In The Bank airs Sunday on pay-per-view and on the WWE Network.

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Wingman Wednesday

John Hennigan

JohnHennigan_Wingman_wednesday

It’s time to get Booned!

John Hennigan is a familiar face to fans of professional wrestling, but with an acting career that continues to rise higher than the top turnbuckle of a squared circle, the California native is on his way to giving Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson a run for his Hollywood-making money. Hennigan’s most recent film, “Boone: The Bounty Hunter,” is a hidden gem… a fun, fast-paced film that pits two genres against each other in an epic battle that ends with “comedy” placing “action” in a figure four leg lock. It’s just that good!

We recently sat down with Hennigan to discuss how working on a character in wrestling differs from working on one in film, running the cost of a day’s shoot in your head, and how Hollywood rumors are like… well… you’ll see.

TrunkSpace: So much of professional wrestling is playing a character and you’re doing it over a prolonged period of time where no one is calling “CUT” on you. Did the transition to film take some getting used to because the process itself is different in that you’re not necessarily allowed to just keep going?
Hennigan: No, but that’s an interesting thing that you brought up. One of the things that I first used to come up with the idea for the character Boone was that same concept… that you play the same character for so long in pro wrestling that sometimes you become that character more than yourself. With Boone playing the character Boone on the reality show, which is like this flashy, narcissistic douche baggy guy… he gets into trouble when he starts being that guy more than his real human self. Over the arc of the movie he has to basically get real… be his real self… to become a real hero.

But I guess back to your question as to whether it was a problem for me getting into acting… I think that it helped because ultimately entertainment boils down to the same thing, whether you’re talking about pro wrestling, theater, film, or TV. There’s a lot of carryover and crossover and playing a character is one thing that I think helped.

TrunkSpace: On the wrestling side though, you must sort of feed off of the crowd and in turn, that bleeds into your performance. Whereas in film, even though you’re working with other people in a scene, the energy is different.
Hennigan: Definitely. That’s one of the things that I think is so cool about pro wrestling and why people love it so much. Either watching it or doing it, you have that instant feedback and the adrenaline of doing stuff in front of the crowd. For sure, when you’re doing crazy things in wrestling, you’re amped up because you’ve got an arena full of people watching and your adrenaline is through the roof and the guy that you’re wrestling, his adrenaline is through the roof. You’re in the moment 100 percent of the time. When you’re doing stunts in a movie, and especially on some of the stuff that we did with the skeleton crew… if I’m doing a twisting senton off of a roof and I’ve got to do it 10 times because we’re trying to get a perfect shot, which is not easy to capture sometimes, and there’s nobody there… it is harder. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: And that must be a difficult thing to achieve… getting those aerial maneuvers fully in frame?
Hennigan: For sure. In wrestling, you do these crazy stunts and, like on “Lucha Underground,” you’re working in front of eight cameras. With WWE, you’re working in front of 15 cameras. They’re going to capture it. If you’re doing a movie, especially low budget, a lot of times a lot of the sequences we did were single camera. So, that requires doing it over and over again.

TrunkSpace: And a lot of your stunts in the film were outside, so you’re also working with elements that you can’t control as well.
Hennigan: Right. I was so motivated to do this movie though that getting motivated to do that stuff wasn’t that hard. I was visualizing the end product the whole time. It wasn’t like I was afraid of doing stuff in the moment. It was more like, I felt like this insane need to do it over and over again until we got it perfect for the camera so that, at the end of the day, we’d watch it back and everyone would be stoked.

TrunkSpace: What was great about the film is that it surprises people. You expect one thing, and you get something else.
Hennigan: I got a lot of people who saw the movie who said that the movie was way better than they expected. (Laughter) Which is kind of cool, but also it’s kind of like, “Wait a minute, did you think it would suck or something?” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: A big part of that is probably that general feeling of, if a film isn’t in the theaters, it isn’t going to be good. Which, was probably the case years ago, but the way that content is distributed nowadays… that notion is completely squashed.
Hennigan: The one big plus about doing stuff like Boone is that if you want to, and not everybody does, you can tell a story that’s different. It’s not like you have a whole corporation of people that have invested 100 or 200 million dollars into the movie. Obviously it’s not like that. (Laughter) But, when you have that, that’s why you’re seeing all of these reboots. All of these franchises that are constantly rebooted… it’s because they feel like that’s a safer bet. Sometimes those are fun to watch, but when you’re working on something that is completely your own and you don’t have that burden of working for an army of people who are micromanaging your project, you can do something original. You can take some chances and create something like Boone.

TrunkSpace: Usually professional wrestlers are acting in projects that are owned by the companies that they wrestler for, but with Boone, it’s a project that you yourself created and spearheaded. That seems really rare.
Hennigan: Definitely. And I’ve done my fair share of that too. I’ve done 15 or 16 movies that are low budget movies where I was just an actor. Part of my motivation for doing Boone was to want to do exactly that… to be the captain of the ship, so to speak. To be able to say, “No, I want this specific kind of action and if we’re not going to be able to get it on set, I want to have the option of coming back to shoot it later to get it right.” Within reason. Ultimately, that old cliché that time is money is 100 percent right for movies.

TrunkSpace: And you probably notice it a lot more when it’s your money. (Laughter)
Hennigan: Yeah. Exactly! Every day you walk on the set and in the back of your head you’re thinking two things. “Holy shit! Look at this. There’s trailers. There’s extras. There’s all of these people. There’s like 65 people on set.” And then the other part of your brain is thinking, “Goddamn it! This is a $35,000 day!” (Laughter) You’re doing math in your head and you’re like, “All of these people have to eat food. The trailers. The fire marshal. THE INSURANCE!” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: So was the idea when you first put the film together that it would become your franchise or was it more of putting together one film and then being done with it?
Hennigan: Really, the main idea with Boone was that I wanted to do something good that I was proud of that could illustrate what I feel like is my best skills across the board. With acting, this kind of self-deprecating, goofy but narcissistic and over-confident reluctant hero with action design, parkour, MMA, brawler-style, stunt choreo mixed with pro wrestling… and in a movie that was uplifting and fun to watch. I’ve done the horror movies and other action movies with darker heroes and I felt like I hadn’t done anything that was the kind of movie that I would have watched over and over again when I was a kid. I really wanted this to be that. That was my primary goal. Obviously, if it turns into a franchise or I do a sequel or trilogy… if I can sell it as a spin-off TV series… that would be amazing.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned it being a film that you would have loved to watch as a kid. With that being said, to us it felt like Boone was a badass Harry Crumb from the film “Who’s Harry Crumb,” a film we watched quite a bit growing up.
Hennigan: (Laughter) Totally! That’s a good one. That’s the first time that I’ve heard that comparison. I love that movie too. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: So if somebody came along and said, “We want to make Boone into a TV show, but we want… Tom Cruise to star. Here’s 10 million dollars.” Would that be something that you’d be okay with?
Hennigan: I wouldn’t necessarily be cool with it, but ultimately I’m wanting to create content and if I got 10 million dollars, I would probably go crazy and would want to spend that 10 million on another movie probably right away. (Laughter) I would probably be stoked about the opportunity to do another movie for a lot more money.

TrunkSpace: Another film that you’re starring in that just seems really cool and really unique is “Dave Made a Maze.”
Hennigan: I’m really excite for “Dave Made a Maze.” It’s touring right now, doing festivals. The original screenplay I read, man, a really long time ago. One of the guys on my improv team, Steven Sears, wrote the script and I read it and I was like, “Dude, this thing is so weird, but also cool!” I was really excited then about the movie and he went through a similar process and ended up working with Bill Watterson and those guys got funding and got the project on its feet. I ended up staying attached and there’s only a few people who stayed attached from that original group that Steven showed the script to.

It’s just a really weird fucking movie. (Laughter) But weird and silly and it celebrates its absurdity and when you watch it you can take it in a million different ways. You can derive meaning from it however you see fit depending on the mood you’re in. That’s one of the cool things about a movie like that.

TrunkSpace: We also counted 14 other projects that you’re listed as starring in, attached to, or rumored to be a part of. By comparison, Tom Cruise… whom we already mentioned… has seven. That’s a pretty impressive workload.
Hennigan: (Laughter) Well, rumors in Hollywood are like assholes… everybody has one!

Boone: The Bounty Hunter” is available now on VOD.

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