Stone Cold Goes Hollywood
Steven James Anderson was born on December 18, 1964 in Austin, Texas, but later changed his surname to Williams. After playing defensive end on the football team at North Texas State University, he bounced around in a series of odd-jobs and was working on a loading dock till he decided to try his hand at pro wrestling.
As he rose in the ranks, he adopted a string of ring alias, including Stunning Steve Austin, The Bionic Redneck, The Texas Rattlesnake, The Toughest S.O.B., The Ringmaster, Austin 3:16, The Stevester, The Extreme Superstar, and B.M.F. before Stone Cold Steve Austin finally stuck.
Over the course of his care he enjoyed over a dozen WCW, WWF, WWE and NWA titles, an accomplishment which undoubtedly impresses anyone who thinks the sport isn’t fixed. After retiring because of a nagging neck injury Steve turned his attention to acting, make his screen debut in 2005 as a prison guard in The Longest Yard.
On the strength of that performance, he signed a three-picture deal with WWE films, which included agreeing to star in its first theatrical release, The Condemned. Here, he talks about his role in this grisly survival-of-the-fittest flick about some convicted murderers shipped to a deserted island for a grisly fight to the death which will be aired live over the internet.
KW: What is The Condemned about?
SA: Basically, you have ten prisoners who were condemned to die on Death Row bought up by an executive TV producer and put on an island to fight for their lives. The guy’s going to broadcast this over the world-wide web.
KW: How would you describe your character, Jack Conrad?
SA: We put an interesting spin on the guy. He doesn’t talk about himself. He’s not the kind of guy who just waves the flag and says, “Hey, I’m the good guy.” You gotta look at what he does behind the scenes, and then some of the back story stuff to really get it, because I don’t think good heroes go patting themselves on the back. And certainly in this movie, Conrad doesn’t do that.
KW: Tell me a little about your archenemy in the movie?
SA: Vinnie Jones is my co-star in the movie. He plays McStarley, a former special forces agent, and an absolutely ruthless guy. Vinnie’s got a big following. He’s a huge soccer player-turned-actor. He’s done some great movies and so he’s got some momentum going. But he brought a lot to the character. He’s a tough guy… He looks great on the screen… The camera likes him and he’s got a great sense of humor. He did his homework when he put McStarley together. McStarley’s kinda out there, and he doesn’t give a damn about anybody but himself.
KW: How did you prepare for the grueling physical demands of this action flick?
SA: I came to the Gold Coast [of Australia] three or four weeks in advance to work out my fight scenes, and I was trained for my fight sequences by some of the best guys around, like a guy named Richard Norton, who’s done probably 65 movies, a lot with Jackie Chan and guys like that. So, he’s pretty much a martial arts wonder.
KW: As a wrestler, what did you think of the film’s fight scenes?
SA: I think the fight scenes in The Condemned are brutal, realistic, damn sure full of action, and everything makes sense. There’s not one fight sequence where you go, “Oh, that wouldn’t have happened.” or “they can’t do that.” There’s real-deal good fighting. And we beat the hell out of each other.
KW: How was it working with Scott Wiper as a director?
SA: Scott is the kinda guy that really cares about the final product. He has extreme attention to detail. He’s extremely prepared… He’s great with people… He’s an excellent leader… He definitely knows what he wants in a shot. And he has a very unique style in which he likes to shoot things.
KW: Why should your fans want to see this movie?
SA: I would say someone should go see The Condemned ’cause it’s a hell of an action movie. If that’s what you want to see, then look no further. It’s rated R, and that’s for a reason. It’s violent, it’s brutal, it’s got some language in it, but it’s a great story, and it’s not your everyday, “walk in the park” formula movie. It’s a cool movie with some great settings, the cinematography’s great and the bottom line is it’s a helluva movie. And to top it all off, I’m in it! [Laughs]