Stone Cold Steve Austin's new movie The Condemned got me thinking about some other pro wrestlers who have tried to make it on the big screen. I was surprised at not only how many grapplers-turned-movie-stars came to mind, but how many of them I actually liked. So here are some of my favorite wrestlers who tried to go from heavyweight to Hollywood heavy-hitter.
ANOTHER WARNING: I have not included any films starring The Rock, a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson, since I have not seen a single Rock movie, with the exception of The Mummy Returns. That is not to say that he is not a good actor. In fact, I believe someday Johnson will be remembered as an actor who once tried wrestling, not vice-versa.
My Top Five Favorite Ex-Wrestlers-Turned-Actors
5. Hulk Hogan in Rocky III -- What's the perfect movie role for an over-the-top professional wrestler? An even-more-over-the-top professional wrestler. Hogan plays "Thunderlips," a wrestler who shows Rocky just how not fake the sport is.
4. Captain Lou Albano in the Cyndi Lauper video -- Okay, this technically isn't a movie. And you can't rent it anywhere. And I don't even think you'll catch it on an episode of VH1's I Love the '80s. So I guess this is just one that Gen X'ers raised in the '80s will have the pleasure of remembering. Wrestlers just wanna have fun ... oh wrestlers just wanna have fun!
3. (Rowdy) Roddy Piper in John Carpenter's They Live -- I've read that this film was the first to feature a pro wrestler in the leading role ... even if it was a silly horror flick. While Piper isn't exactly an Olivier or De Niro, he's not terrible. Mostly I love this movie because of the unbelievably ridiculous fight scene, which was parodied in an episode of South Park.
2. Jesse Ventura in Predator -- In a movie chock-full of big bad-asses (Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke and Sonny Landham), Ventura holds his own and has some of the best lines. "I ain't got time to bleed." After Predator he was in The Running Man. After that, he took the only logical step for a professional wrestler turned actor -- he got into politics and became governor of Minnesota.
And finally ...
1. Andre the Giant in The Princess Bride -- Not the typical role you'd expect from a pro wrestler. Andre plays Fezzik, the gentle (when he wants to be) giant. He's hilarious, especially his rhymes. At least when you can understand what he's saying. Anybody want a peanut?
Ethan Morris: "Not always right, but never in doubt." Go ahead and write me.