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Hey yíall, hereís LMDís rousing chat with WWE Wrestling Superstar Paul ďTriple HĒ Levesque.  Triple H talked about his starring role in the action drama, Inside Out, the latest release from WWE Studios.

Dig it!

 

Inside Out

Paul ďTriple HĒ Levesque

 

The Lady Miz Diva:  How did Inside Out come to you?

Paul Levesque:  This is one of those odd stories.  WWE wrote and created this script for one of our other performers and it started out with him, and as it came closer to finalising, that performer was having a contract dispute and we werenít sure they were going to be here.  Basically, Vince {McMahon Ė WWE owner} came to me and said, ďI need you to bail me out and do this movie.Ē  I hadnít even read the script yet.  So, I quickly read the script and enjoyed what I read and helped them make a few tweaks to it and ended up leaving four days later to go shoot in New Orleans.  It was that quick.  It was literally a fast turnaround.

 

LMD:  We had The Chaperone before this, you also appeared in Blade: Trinity and some other projects.  How serious is the acting bug with you?  Have you taken classes or studied acting at all?

PL:  No, no.  Maybe Iím naÔve to this, but Iím kind of a big believer -- for what it seems like in most part to me -- you can either pretend youíre something else, or not.  Itís not rocket science.  Maybe I donít know much about it and Iím not an expert at it.  I mean, I guess you can study it and learn how to do it, but it seems like one of those things you can either do or canít do.  You can get better at it, I guess, but for me, I guess I can just kind of go do it, not that Iím unbelievable at it or anything.  And Hollywood has kind of always been for me Ö Especially when I did Blade, I was offered a three-picture deal with New Line after that and I turned it down because itís not what I wanted to do.  I wanted to be in the WWE, I wanted to be wrestling.  And as my career kind of wound down, we started WWE Films and these film roles kind of came to me.  I enjoy doing them; if I read the right script and itís a good story, then Iím interested in doing them if it fits with the schedule and everything.  Theyíre a lot of fun to do, itís exciting, but I also have a job that I love.  So, Iím not looking to pack up and move out to Hollywood and be an actor full time.

 

LMD:  The character you play as Triple H is so much larger than life, but your role in Inside Out is a guy whoís pretty low-key and quiet.  How did you modulate that from what youíre used to?

PL:  I think itís something I read in the script and also when I met the director, Artie {Mandelberg} and talked about the role I asked him, ďHow do you see this guyís persona? Do you see him as quiet and laid-back?"  Thatís what we determined that this guy would be; a little bit more quiet and laid back.  When you push him, he gets to a certain point, but heís the more reserved guy and thatís why he and Jack {Michael Rapaportís character} work so well as friends growing up because he was always the quiet, reserved guy that always stood behind Jack.  Jack was always brash, running his mouth, talking a lot of trash, but heís a screw-up and my character always stood behind him to help fix his screw-ups and I was the more level-headed one.  So, it was a conscious decision of thatís how we felt that character should be.

 

LMD:  I was surprised that except for one set piece thereís not a whole lot of action.  Was there a consideration to add more?

PL:  When this was first pitched to me, it wasnít pitched as action film; it was pitched as a quirky, kind of Fargo-esque-type slice-of-life film.  One of the things I hear from people that watched the movie is they found the first half of the movie frustrating because AJ keeps getting sucked into these things that youíre going, ĎIdiot, get away from him!í  And when I read the script I kind of felt like that, and originally it was one of the problems I had -- which we changed -- but I felt this guy was just kind of a moron in that he keeps going for all this stuff.  So, we changed the characters so that there was much more of a bond between AJ and Jack, but everybody has that friend that does dumb stuff that you canít help.  You like that guy and you feel bad for him and you wanna help them, but he always gets you involved in dumb stuff, too.  Itís like the friend that you shouldnít be friends with anymore, yet youíve always been friends with him, and no matter what dumb thing he does, youíre still gonna love him.  And thatís kind of how we played the character out and I think itís one of the quirky things that worked about the film.  So, it wasnít necessarily about the action per se, it was about the relationship between these characters.

 

LMD:  Blade: Trinity was a lot of fantasy action, The Chaperone was a family comedy and Inside Out is more of a drama.  Which genre is most comfortable for you?

PL:  I had fun doing all of them.  Blade was this fantasy world of vampires and the costumes and all this stuff.  Doing The Chaperone was fun; it was like playing with my kids - having kids around all the time.  It was light-hearted and fun and my kids love it.  This one I put a little bit more thought into what this characterís thinking, what his thought process was going into each scene.  People ask me what would be my ultimate role?  I dunno, I like doing the action stuff, I like doing the drama stuff, doing the kids movie was fun, I would love to do a comedy.  If I think the storyís good and I read the script and ten pages out I canít wait to get to the end of it, I think, ĎThis would be a good project to do.í

 

LMD:  Iím curious about the WWE films and who they are trying to reach?  I ask because I was a longtime fan of the TV shows and went to the live matches, but I stopped watching sometime in the mid-2000ís because it just got too sleazy and uncomfortable for me as a woman.  I understand things have changed a lot since then, and I wonder if WWE films like Inside Out and The Chaperone are part of a bigger image change or outreach?

PL:  I donít know if itís an image outreach.  I think we as a company, the reason we are the longest-running episodic television show in television history is because we change with the times.  And we can listen to what fans want -- sometimes it might take us a little bit of time to get there -- but we can listen to what fans want.  If you think about the genres of wrestling; in the 80ís, it was very campy and cartoony, then the 90ís came along with the Attitude Era and things changed, we pushed the envelope, but then maybe it went too far, I dunno.  It got to a point where, okay, weíve done all we can do with that and we kind of peaked with it and we changed it around and we rebranded ourselves again.  I think weíre at a good place now where weíve kind of crossed that PG line, but weíre still keeping the adults and young adults interested, yet not losing the kids and making it a good product for everybody.  The movies for us, I think, is more of a business outreach; itís just an extension.  Our superstars are already larger-than-life characters and taking them and putting them into other roles is just a natural extension.  I think from a business standpoint as far as a company, weíre one of the most successful television production companies out there.  It makes sense for us to branch from television to movies to network.  People often confuse our business of the company with our business of the WWE as wrestling.  The WWE, the company, is a marketing juggernaut, is a television production juggernaut, is all those things internationally, globally.  WWE, the wrestling brand, is the wrestling product and thereís a confusion of what the two things are, but to make the WWE wrestling brand successful, we have to have the WWE business, which is this marketing, licensing, television production juggernaut.

 

LMD:  Itís just a natural progression.

PL:  Exactly!  On both sides, though.  Thatís why some of our movies have our stars in them. Some of our movies like Thatís What I Am from last year, which Randy Orton was in a tiny role for like a minute, but the stars were Ed Harris and Amy Madigan.  That was a movie that we made that had nothing to do with promoting the WWE wrestling product, but it had a lot to do with promoting the WWE film model.

 

LMD:  Currently in the WWE wrestling storyline you are the COO, running things behind the scenes.  But in reality you have moved most of your duties behind the camera and are developing new talent for the company.  Do you enjoy that role more?

PL:  I do.  I guess itís no different than when you have a guy like a Clint Eastwood or something, who for years makes movies because thatís what he does.  Heís the star of these movies and now he branches into directing movies, and I would guess gets just as much thrill out of directing and producing these other actors in these films and making great product that way.  While I love being in the ring and thereís no greater rush than walking out in front of seventy thousand of the WWEís most loyal fans -- our fans are rabid -- but while thatís a thrill, also being backstage and helping a new guy become a star and helping him be the next big thing, or putting out the Pay-Per-View thatís successful, or helping to helm all those things is just as satisfying.  Itís just as big of a deal from a success standpoint for me as being in the ring.

 

LMD:  Still, I understand that you will be getting back in the ring very soon. Will you tell us about that?

PL:  At Night of Champions in a week and a half, Iíll face CM Punk in my new role as COO.  We have CM Punk, who is kind of the loudmouth, anti-establishment, anti-authority figure right now, which is ironic because partly that used to be me and now here it comes full circle and Iím the authority figure and Iíve got this loudmouthed guy, but heís crossed the line and said some things he shouldnít have said.  And at the end of the day, Iím still Triple H under the suit, so the suitís gonna come off for the night and CM Punkís gonna get his ass kicked.

 

LMD:  Are you excited?

PL:  Yes, very!

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

Sept 7th, 2011

 

Special thanks to Messrs. Armando Fuentes & Steve Flack for their invaluable help with this interview.

 

 

 

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Photos

Exclusive photo by LMD

Film stills courtesy of  WWE Films

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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