April 29, 2007
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin Q&A
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
Steven Williams has done pretty well in life. As "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, he became a wrestling icon whose cussing made him, for the most part, a fan favourite. A six-time WWF champ, Austin became known for his Austin 3:16 catchphrase, based on a promo mocking Jake "The Snake" Roberts. "You sit there and you thump your Bible and you say your prayers ... and it didn't get you anywhere. Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16 ... Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!" Now, with a big role in The Condemned, which opened in theatres on Friday, Austin, also known as The Texas Rattlesnake, has shifted his career in a new direction.
SUN: In your wildest dreams, could you ever have imagined becoming a movie star?
AUSTIN: My goal was to become a professional wrestler. I did that and took it to the highest level. I always wondered what the next high in my life would be. I'm excited about (The Condemned) coming out. I've watched (the pre-screenings) with seven audiences ... it's a fun ride.They asked me to do The Marine (a role which WWE star John Cena later took). I didn't think it was a good script so I turned it down. If I knew what I know now, I might have taken it. (The Condemned) is the third picture WWE has put out so they've worked out a lot of the kinks. It's a damn good movie. And I'm looking forward to making 50 more.
SUN: You're a movie critic for a minute. Critique yourself as Jack Conrad in The Condemned?
AUSTIN: I carried the right workload in this movie. I didn't have to stretch too far. I'm very proud of what I did and repetition can only make me better.
SUN: What's your next movie project?
AUSTIN: We're looking for something. I want to follow up with something more solo driven ... an action movie.
SUN: What was it like working with Adam Sandler in The Longest Yard?
AUSTIN: Adam's top notch ... he's one of my favourite comedians. Down the road, if I get the opportunity to work on something bigger, I'd love to work with Adam again.
SUN: An assortment of injuries forced you to stop wrestling. Is there another match left in that body?
AUSTIN: There are a bunch more matches left in my body. I could go full bore for two years. I could kick ass and be the top guy again because I was the top guy. But how's that two years (of wear and tear) on my body going to make me feel 15 years down the road? Never say never, but all the stars would have to be lined up (before I'd return).
SUN: Not many people get to beat up their boss. What's it been like to pound on Vince McMahon.
AUSTIN: I've had a lot of fun working with Vince. When we do a storyline, it's unscripted ... ad libbed. We both trust each other. When he's a heel, he's driven to be the most hated person in the universe. He's not the most graceful guy or the greatest worker, but he gives it everything he has.
AUSTIN: He's the richest guy I'll ever give a Stunner to.
SUN: You played college football at North Texas State ... was pro ball ever an option?
AUSTIN: I was a running back in high school. I was a north-south runner .... I wasn't fast enough to get around anybody. I was good enough to get a free education. I dropped out with 17 hours left to graduate. I wasn't going to get invited to a combine or a pro camp. It was time to do something else.
SUN: When you came to WWE, you were packaged as The Ringmaster. You asked for a change in gimmick. They offered you names like Ice Dagger and Chilly McFreeze. Obviously, the change to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was a good move.
AUSTIN: When you get into WWE, you think all of a sudden they'll wave a magic wand and you'll get the greatest gimmick ever. After six months, I knew The Ringmaster wasn't a marquee name. It wasn't conducive to selling a lot of merchandise. The Austin 3:16 shirt is probably the biggest-selling WWE shirt.
Q: Favourite beer?
A: Miller Lite
Q: Last movie to make you cry?
A: Old Yeller
Q: Three CDs you couldn't do without?
A: George Strait, Los Lonely Boyz and Ozzy Osborne
Q: Favourite team?
A: I don't really have a team. I follow players. Each season, I get behind a few teams and weed them out. I loved Tom Brady and the Patriots. I like San Diego because of LaDainian Tomlinson and what he stands for.
Q: What would most surprise people about you in real life?
A: If they came out to South Texas, to my 2,000-acre ranch, people would be amazed that out of 12 hours, I'm laughing continuously for nine hours. Because of my wrestling character, people think I'm always cussing and in a foul mood. Truth is, I like to joke around.
Q: Two people you would like to invite to dinner?
A: John Wayne and Elvis Presley