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Bit part becomes big deal for McGuinness
By Winnipeg Sun
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Ring of Honor World Champion Nigel McGuinness sits on the arm of Jay Briscoe at the Ring of Honor show in Detroit, MI, on Friday, January 30, 2009. Photo by Chris Schramm

In a business filled with bravado, Nigel McGuinness surprisingly downplays his part in the Oscar-nominated film The Wrestler.

It's not that he's embarrassed by his role in the Mickey Rourke movie about a professional wrestler looking for one last chance in the spotlight. It's just that the 33-year-old from London, England, hasn't come to grips with the fact there are no small parts in the movie business.

He jokes when he calls it his "blink and you'll miss it moment."

"Just having your name attached to the movie certainly raises your profile, so it does help in that way," said McGuinness, who is the current Ring of Honor World Champion. "People are asking me about it, so it can't be all that bad, can it?"

His scene is near the end of the movie, when Rourke comes in for the final match. Not a big part by any stretch, but being on set gave him the chance to find out what makes the strangely fascinating Rourke tick.

"What people forget is that he was trained as a professional boxer, so coming into the wrestling ring was a bit of a shock to him," McGuinness said. "He told me how he was getting banged up and how he had to get someone to help him up the stairs to his house at the end of the night. So that was quite funny. He's an interesting man."

And in case you're wondering, he has no "inside the ring" information on whether the flip-flopping Rourke will actually take on Winnipeg's Chris Jericho at WWE's WrestleMania this April.

"If you find out, can you let me know?" he asked.

McGuinness, one of about 30 pro wrestlers to appear in the production, said The Wrestler is much like how his life is on the independent wrestling circuit, as his Ring of Honor group has to work that much harder to fill up venues and make a go of it.

He laughs when it's suggested that a parallel can be drawn between the movie business and the professional wrestling business based on the theatrics both industries embrace.

"But with a movie, you have more than one take to get it right," he said. "The scene I was in, we did 30 takes, which took about 45 minutes just for that five of seven seconds of finished product. There's a lot less margin for error in wrestling."

McGuinness will be part of the Canadian Wrestling Elite card at the Maples Community Centre in Winnipeg on Feb. 20.

RELATED LINKS

  • Reviews and interviews for The Wrestler in our SLAM! Wrestling Movie Database
  • October 16, 2008: McGuinness proud of one year -- and counting
  • March 1, 2007: Nigel McGuinness in it to win it