Wrestling and movies pretty much go hand in hand, hence why so many of WWE superstars have seemingly and flawlessly made the transition from the ring to the big and small screen. Names like Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, John Cena, Dave Bautista and Dwyane ‘The Rock’ Johnson have all seen success in Hollywood. Current WWE superstar Roman Reigns looks like he is next to make that leap as well and his first film is a doozy.
We caught up with Reigns and spoke to him about joining the cast of the summer blockbuster, Hobbs & Shaw, a spinoff from the billion-dollar action-movie franchise Fast & Furious. In the film, he plays Mateo, one of Luke Hobbs four brothers. In the interview, we touched on working with Johnson, who is his cousin in real life, transitioning into acting, Samoan culture and which comic book character he could see himself playing.
CASSIUS: What made you sign up to be a part of Hobbs & Shaw?
Roman Reigns: I mean it was pretty simple you know the fact that Dwayne was able to just take all his influence and all his hard work and really only pay homage to our culture. That was the most important thing. Once I saw that you know they were actually going to be moving you know the third act and then we’re going to be going to the island itself. It was vital for me to be able to be a part of this project and just help you know, showcase our heritage and our culture you know and we would take a lot of pride in that. So to be able to put it on the big screen really meant a lot.
C: That scene was very epic. When it played out in the film was amazing, the energy was so authentic. You and The Rock are technically cousins being that y’all basically come from the same wrestling family correct?
RR: Yeah, also throughout the history of the islands the villages and stuff and just start you know our ancestral territory as well. So yeah, definitely.
C: Wrestling and movies are almost the same, being that both involve acting and physical stunts. Was it a hard transition for you translating that into the film? Was it a smooth transition into doing the movie for you?
RR: No I think you know like anything you know when you’re learning something new, there’s always going to be some hiccups some different things that are challenging, but you know what was really cool is for this to be my first film, I was put in the best situation possible. I was with the very best in every regard. You know whether it was the director David Leitch know all the way to the crew and the staff and know the stunt coordinators and all the stuntmen I mean the very best in the business. On top of that, you know who I was working with on-camera you know, being that it’s Dwayne or Jason Statham two of the top you know action stars on top of that or joining the film. Dwayne doing what he’s doing. I mean our bad guy is the coolest bad guy of all time, Idris Elba. You know so for me to be able to be put in that position it’s really cool because I was able to just kind of sit back and learn and watch everybody’s process and everybody is top-notch. You know top shelf at the peak of their game. So for me, it was really nice to use the skills that I’ve learned through wrestling and all the different facets of live television and performance. And then you know look at the big set and the big film and to be able to transition that you know, learn on the fly as well.
C: Yeah, that’s not a bad film to start with, that’s a pretty big film.
RR: Oh man I’m spoiled, the way we’re looking at the situation now. Like we’re in Hawaii we’re looking at the beach, and you know you have a beautiful sight. It’s all good. It was such a spoiling and such an awesome experience it’s gonna be hard to go to the next one after this.
C: Do you see yourself doing more films after Hobbs & Shaw? Is that something you want to pursue more of?
RR: I think so you know. I mean I’m really just hooked on performance. I like being in front of the camera. I love being able to story tell and kind of just create escapism for people and entertain them is always nice. Yeah. There’s something about you know films that I like because you can switch it up. You know you can move from character to character and you can kind of show different sides of yourself. I think that be a nice transition moving forward. You know we all know in the ring there’s nothing like that live performance, but you can’t do it that long. It just is what it is the body can only take so much, and it is a rough business on the body. So it’s important to either create that closure you know just in your career and what you do in that ring or to be able to have something that you can transition to. So I’m currently working on all those things.
So for me, it was really nice to use the skills that I’ve learned through wrestling and all the different facets of live television and performance.
C: Do you have funny onset stories? We follow The Rock on Instagram and he pretty damn hilarious. So are there any stories you can share with us, that happened while filming?
RR: We have a bunch of them and it’s cool because they’re going to release some kind of backstage footage and stuff so I don’t want to give anything away and take away from that, but I think to be honest it was just a good time all the way around backstage you know from being on set to the base camp I mean you’re dealing with a bunch of Polynesians. It’s always going to be good food and always going to be a lot of laughing. And that’s what we did. You know I think we really you know for the portion of the film that’s taking place on the island I felt like we really brought that energy that you know that island energy that Mana spirit. It was a really fun atmosphere, a lot to laugh about and lots of hard work but we enjoyed ourselves. I mean I think it just goes with the characters and one of the funniest dudes on set you know was John Tui he played one of the brothers as well. But he was just a perfect example of just someone with you know great energy, great charisma and just happy to be doing what he loves to do. Happy to be on set. Happy to be working. Happy to be contributing and I think you’re going to see that you know really reflect through the film.
C: The Polynesian culture has become such a big thing. It’s really become huge in the film, especially with The Rock and now you. And of course, Jason Mamoa as well showcasing to the world when he performed the Haka on the red carpet at Aquaman world premiere. Can you speak on how it feels to see that being shared with the world?
RR: I think it’s awesome, and it’s long overdue because you know there are a lot of great cultures that are highly represented throughout the world, and you know the fact that you know the Pacific Ocean is huge, but I mean as far as our land is tiny you know tiny islands with huge and very you know special cultures and a lot of great customs, so we’ve always been about sharing you know our heritage and where we come from.
I think it’s great. Anytime you have strong, and you know positive role models representing you know Dwayne is an obvious one Jason Momoa is another great example. Everything that he’s done. Not only that you know and just being able to you know put you know great entertainment within the films and stuff like that, but you know doing a lot of different stuff. I’ve seen he actually has a YouTube channel that I’ve seen a little bit here and there. So just being able to see kind of the man behind the characters. Dwayne does a great job with that within his Instagram and social media. But to just see the men and just how genuine they are how much they enjoy giving and supporting their families. And I think that’s always a great attribute to share with the world. And I think you know slowly but surely especially throughout these different processes and platforms that we use and be able to create these different films and just different genres of entertainment. And what have you are going to continue to see just how cool our culture and the Polynesian way of life is.
C: Can you tell us the preparation you put in for that for the role for that epic battle between you and Idris Elba with his guys?
RR: It was cool man. That was what was really neat for me being away from wrestling. At that time was to be able to have that physicality. You know the thought process to be able to think about different fight sequences and just different cool things to do, and you know you know that the different physicalities in violence. But yeah it was really neat because like I said before we had the best of the best. So you know our stunt coordinator Greg, he was awesome. You know he was able to help out everybody and put everybody in a great position. All the stuntmen were awesome. It was literally like just dealing with like you know like 15 to 20-year professionals in the ring. That’s what made me so comfortable being around all those stunt guys because it felt like being around wrestlers and just guys and want to make the fight as good as possible. And that’s a similar mindset we have in the wrestling and just make making the matches as good as possible to entertain the people as much as possible and when you have that you know all the way throughout this production it just really makes for a special commitment to excellence. And that’s I think why everything worked out so good and why it came off so great. Because those guys you know even the guys who were getting beat up they were putting everything into it.
C: Your wrestling brothers are pretty much taking over Hollywood. You got The Rock out here pretty much chopping blockbusters left and right. You got Dave Bautista out here doing his thing as well. They’re both respectively in two separate comic book movie universes. Is there a comic book character Marines will like to play if he had the opportunity to?
RR: It’s tough you know because it feels like they’re all taken, but there is one character I get compared to a lot on social media and stuff like that. And he seems like a pretty cool character. Lobo. I think that would be pretty cool.
We definitely can see that too. Hobbs & Shaw is in theaters now, trust us when we say you should see it on the biggest screen as possible, it’s the perfect summer blockbuster.
Photo: Tommaso Boddi / Getty
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