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The Resurrection Of Jake The Snake focuses on one of professional wrestlingís greatest stars, Jake ďThe SnakeĒ Roberts and his fight for recovery from addiction.  Another wrestling legend, Diamond Dallas Page is the catalyst for Robertsí rehabilitation, seeing his old friend and mentor through tough times. Pageís success with Roberts spurred him to help another pal, wrestling star Scott HallPage and Hall spoke with me about addiction, recovery, the encouragement of fans and friends.

In the words of Jake, DDP and Scott's late, great colleague, Randy ďMacho ManĒ SavageÖ

Dig it!

 

The Resurrection Of Jake The Snake

Diamond Dallas Page

 

The Lady Miz Diva:  How did you come to meet director Steve Yu?

Diamond Dallas Page:  Thatís something that happened at LaGuardia Airport about 10 or 11 years ago.  I was coming up to do something at some show - I was out of wrestling at that time - and he came up to me like a lot of fans did, and he said ďHey man, I love your career. When are you coming back? I loved what you did in the ring, but I really love what youíre doing now.Ē  Heíd been starting a movie that weíre all working on now called ďInspired, The Movie.Ē He said to me, ďIf you ever have someone that you might think interesting, I would really find it interesting to follow you and how you work with someone.Ē Enter, Arthur Boorman, the disabled veteran from the first Gulf war, morbidly obese, relegated to thinking of himself as a piece of furniture.

Steve is a Cornell graduate, and Ivy Leaguer and he was on the fast track with IBM.  He was making six figures, doing really well, but he said, ďThatís not what I want to do. I want to make films,Ē and he just made a shift.  Thatís about when I ran into him. Weíre just buddies, we help each other with our projects.

When this project came up, it wasnít really meant to be a big thing.  It was like, ĎLetís try to get Jake. Get him that respectability, then he can walk away from the business with his head held high.í  Heís one of the top five guys of all time on my list.  That being said, we wanted to be able to do that. And then with Scotty {Hall} coming in, to me, it was like it was supposed to be. {Laughs} It was like weird the way it happened.

 

LMD:  When Steve Yu told you he wanted to make a documentary about trying to help Jake, you said ďYou donít know what youíre getting into.Ē

DDP:  Oh yeah, big time!

 

LMD:  What did you mean by that?

DDP:  Cos I know him.  And as an addictÖ Jake embellishes to begin with, but when youíre serious addict, you tend to lie a lot.  It took a long time to start to break that.  It was like, ďDude, you canít do that. You canít say shit like that.Ē  Because Jake was intoxicated with drugs and alcohol and everything for twenty years or more, so it was tough breaking down those walls, but eventually, every time, Iíd see him get better, and better and better.  Today, I donít even know that guy.  Heís in such a good spot and Iím just hoping every day he stays there.

But I know when Jake first got there, everything was going great for the first eight days.  Steve said to me, ďI love that heís really doing well, but there wonít really be any story here if he doesnít screw up from time to time.Ē  I said, ďDude, remember you said that. You donít know.Ē  I would tell him things that Jake would do, and heíd say, ďWhy would he screw with us if weíre helping him? Why would he lie to us?Ē  Because heís an addict, still, and thatís what a lot of people donít understand.  Itís almost like loving someone for who they are, and you try to help them change, try to help them see it.

 

LMD:  How close was your prediction?  Was it as bad or worse than you imagined?

DDP:  You know, I knew he was gonna fuck up from time to time.  Towards the end of it, I wasnít like, ĎIím done,í but I figured out what he really needed more than anything was to take his Antabuse in the morning.  If he takes his Antabuse in the morning, thereís nothing else that can factor in there.  For a year, he took a video of himself taking Antabuse to show accountability.  Hereís my two things; take the Antabuse, be nice to people.  Thatís all you gotta do and Iíll stick with you forever, dude.

And then thereís his daughter, Codi, sheís a godsend to the project and she has her dad for the first time.  Weíre not worried about him dying.  Weíre not worried about her never having a relationship with him.  And Iíve watched him get like total respect for her; but they still play with each other, they rib each other all the time.  But he knows without Codi, he might not be able to pull this off.  She makes sure heíd take certain meds he has to take, and that he goes to the doctors, and on the road, she handles all his money; she does everything.  Sheís really been a godsend to him and itís great for her to have a relationship with her dad.

 

LMD:  Before Jake, had you ever worked with an addict before?

DDP:  No.  I just hung with them.  I knew a lot of recovered ones.  I was just doing it ad hoc.  Me and Steve are pretty good at adapting to whatever the circumstances.

 

LMD:  Youíve lived as a celebrity for many years with cameras everywhere, but what did it feel like to have the cameras in your personal space at all times?

DDP:  You forget theyíre there.  If something started to happen, like that scene with Steve yelling at Jake, wherever that scene started, thatís when they came running with the camera. Everybody knew, like Scotty coming in there, and Jake knew, the cameraís going to be rolling 24/7.  Weíve got a couple around in case we miss shit, like when Jake was pacing at night; weíd never have had that if we didnít have the cameras up.  It was important that they knew we could be talking about anything and itís going to be a camera there.  Jake got them to shut it off twice, it came right back on.

 

LMD:  Did you place limits on what Steve could shoot?

DDP:  Oh yeah, they canít go to the bathroom when weíre there. {Laughs}  No, no, because I wanted everything to be raw, because I hate reality TV, because itís so bullshit.  Wrestling is realer than reality TV. {Laughs} We were the first reality TV, anyway.

 

LMD:  What did your role as the filmís producer entail?

DDP:  Paying for everything. {Laughs} That was part of what is said to Jake, is ďIím going to pay for everything.Ē  And {regarding crowdfunding for Robertís shoulder operation} I wouldíve paid for whatever IndieGogo didnít pull together, because without that he never would have been able to do that.  It went all the way to $29,000, we only put $9,200, so fans wanted to help out; they wanted to give back.

Scotty needed hip surgery, which is way more expensive, but I had a feeling it would happen for him too.  He didnít think it would, but it did and it helped him a lot.  It helped him get healthy, that was the main thing.  But more than anything, for me, is how people really still do care about you.  So maybe you should start caring about you?

 

LMD:  When did filming end?

DDP:  We did the final scene maybe three or four months ago.  And the reason why we did that was Stone Cold Steve Austinís notes, he said, ďI donít feel like you guys really wrap it up at the end here.Ē  We had the Hall of Fame, and we go home, and blah blah blah, but we had something completely different where Jake was just talking and he didnít really like it.  So, Steve started thinking about it and he came up with the old Rocky idea; Rocky and Apollo Creed.  Stone Cold wanted something that made him feel like, what was the whole journey?  How is it encompassed?  And he loved that ending when it came back around, it really brought everything together.

 

LMD:  One of the things I enjoyed watching was the brotherhood of wrestlers that you see in this film.  The regard that wrestlers like Austin, Ted DiBiase, Chris Jericho and Edge show for Jake in their interviews.  Scott Hall hitting bottom is brought to your attention by another wrestler, Sean Waltman.  Has being successful starting Jakeís path to recovery inspired you to want to help other wrestlers with similar problems?

DDP:  Iím not looking to do anything for rehab as far as addicts, because thatís not really what I do.  I help people own their lives.  And you can get them to understand that they are the story they tell themselves.  These guys just happen to be really close friends of mine.  Any one of the boys - thatís what we call ourselves, the boys, the wrestlers - every one of them, if they want the program, Iíll just give it to them.  If they want to go like Stevie Richards, he wanted to be certified and I wonít charge anything, Iíll just certify him.  Heís gotta go through the work, but then he can do it.  Itís another way to not have a ďreal job,Ē but do something that you love and make a living at it.

 

LMD:  I understand the WWE has offered its former wrestlers financial help overcoming addiction.  Is there anything that they or any other pro wrestling company could do more of that would stop this long chain of addiction?

DDP:  Jake did that after his rehab and they paid for all that, but when he came to me; it wasnít like I was charging him anything, so they werenít going to pay for that, but they did pay for his counseling.  And he has a guy he still talks to, and the company takes care of it.  I think the WWE has the best policy out there and I mean because of what they do after the fact.  Unions, we didnít get any of that stuff, but we knew that coming in.  That was really the focus.  It was like, how you have a wellness program that helps the guys that are in this spot, especially mentally?

 

LMD:  Iíve been an admirer of your attitude and positivity since I first saw you as a wrestler. Your own story of becoming a wrestler at 35 years old is amazing.  What do you owe that positivity to?

DPP:  Being a kid, by the time I was three years old, my mom was married, divorced and had three kids; she was 19 - so, my brotherís just older than my mom.  My mom moved up north to make more money to support the family, and I was left with my dad and I was just bounced around from one family to another.  I donít really remember much before was eight, but I do remember that my dad brought me to drop me off at my grandmotherís house, and he was a very emotional guy, but that was the first time I really saw him cry, cos I knew it killed him to have to give me up, but he knew I needed some family structure.  That was the last time Iíd see him or talk to him when he was sober for the next 10 years.

So, Iíd be staying with my grandmother and they would bust my dadís balls, and then Iíd go to a company called Falkinbergís {Pageís paternal surname}, which was a cesspool service company and when I went in there, theyíd bury my mother, ďOh, your motherÖ,Ē they were kids, 17 and 21.  And I started to stop judging people.  I didnít really have anybody to raise me, so I figured out how to do shit on my own.  I think it was instinctive at the beginning, but later on, I was watching Tony Robbinsí shit when I was 26 years old and Tony was freaking 22.  I saw him on TV and all of his crazy attitude, and I thought, ĎGod, I got that same kind of attitude.í  I literally said to myself, ďIím going to be in his freaking infomercial,Ē like that became a goal of mine.  Then I had my own, but I would listen to that shit and listen to it, and listen to it.  It doesnít answer your question; Iíve always been like this.  Iíve always worked at it.  Einstein said, ďItís not that Iím so smart, just that I stick with the problem longer.Ē  Iíve always done that; I donít quit.  If someone quits on me, thatís on them, but Iím not going to quit, especially if I say Iím gonna do something.

 

LMD:  What would you like for viewers to take away from The Resurrection Of Jake The Snake?

DDP:  I always think anything is possible.  I have so many people who say they canít, but like Jake said, they donít have to go down like that.  Thatís weíre really hoping. You gotta surround yourself with positive people, people who care.

 

Scott Hall

 

The Lady Miz Diva:  Having endured your own struggles and seeing many of your colleagues fall to addiction, beyond providing financial help, what more can wrestling companies like the WWE do to help their wrestlers?

Scott Hall:  I donít think itís confined to wrestlers.  All Iíve ever done is work in bars and be a wrestler; I often wonder if Iíd have pumped gas, would I have been a womanizer and had addiction problems?  I donít think itís confined to one line of work, but I think theyíre at the leading front of coming forward.  The policy is, anybody whoís ever been under contract - it doesnít matter where you were on the totem pole, or under what circumstances you left the company - if youíve ever been under contract, they offer you rehab.  They offer transportation to and from.  If a family member contacts on your behalf, and some guys maybe need intervention services, they provide that.  If you get out of an inpatient thing and maybe you need to follow up with outpatient therapy or psychological counseling; theyíre there for all of it, and itís great.

Now that Iím doing interviews about this subject - like Iíve been in front of microphones and cameras a long time, but always in my character and promoting events - now that Iím having to talk about me, Iím thinking about it kind of differently.  I think that had I not left the WWE and gone to work for the competition; at that time WCW and that whole NWO run, I think had I stayed working there because of the way they are a family company - obviously, theyíre publicly traded now, but itís still run by the family, there the major stockholders - I still feel that my relationship with Vince, and his wife, Linda, and his daughter and his son-in-law, I think that they wouldíve stepped in much sooner.  When I went to work for Turner Broadcasting, I had a buffer between me - which I chose - but I had an agent, I had lawyers, so they werenít allowed to come to me and say, ĎHey, weíre worried about you.í  They had to go through this chain of command, and I think that had I stayed working for Vince, heíd have pulled me aside and said, ĎHey I need to talk to you.í  I really think that I wouldnít have spiraled as far down.

 

LMD:  What is it about Diamond Dallas Pageís approach that made you respond so well to try and get healthy?

SH:  He is so positive that it rubs off.  It does.  I have a son who is wrestling in Japan now, and I direct message him on Twitter, and I like that because itís a one-way conversation, so I can say what I want without him going, ĎYeah, but,í and he gets to look at it and think about it.  I say, ďBe positive. Keep grinding. Stay positive.Ē  It works.  I was looking back on when Dally and I first came together.  My son is 24, so when he was in his motherís belly, I was done with wrestling.  I had one commitment left working for a European promoter on a seven-month tour.  Iíd given up on wrestling.  I thought, ĎWell, I guess itís not going to happen. I want the other riches in life; I want to get married. Iíll get a job at Sears, maybe driving a forklift.í  When I reached out to Dally, and pitched the idea to him, it all happened.  As soon as I stopped obsessing about it, it all fell into place.

I donít know if thereís something there, but Iíve been thinking about this whole thing; my life has changed so dramatically since I connected with Dally again.  In fact, itís in the movie, but when we both go in the Hall of Fame at Wrestlemania 30, which was a year ago in New OrleansÖ Dally was the first guy to ever touch the NWO, we were red-hot at that time, that happened the Superdome in New Orleans that Dally got to us.  April 5th I had the hip surgery; a year later, I walk across the stage in the Hall of Fame in New Orleans where all that took place, where we have a history already.  April 5th is Dallyís birthday, and we had a little celebration for him in the House of Blues, and as I look at all this stuff, I really feel like itís a God thing.  My saying is, coincidence is Godís way of remaining anonymous.  The only thing that Iím sure of is I donít know, but I know that positivity works, and this cat is so positive.  He defied the odds; he started wrestling at 35, a lot of guys are in the business ten or twelve years at that point.  He became the world champion for the first time in his 40s.  That doesnít happen.

Heís always defied the odds and when he reached out to me, at that point, I had drank myself into a hospital.  I was so sick that I had no visitors and no phone calls.  The only people I interacted with was the medical staff and the kid who served the food trays; sure enough heís a wrestling fan.  Now, Iíve got an IV in both arms, oxygen gimmick up my noseÖ I donít feel good, but the kid is so excited, and I grew up a wrestling fan, so I understand.  Then he shows me his phone and a before and after picture of Jake, and he had been there about six months at that point.  I remember looking at that and I knew Jake had been in dark places - I certainly had - and I felt like, wow, whatever theyíre doing is working.  I thought if nothing else, even if I donít get clean, if I just get back in shape, Iíll take that.  So then, when they reached out to me, I wasnít aware of it, I mean, Iím on the phone and stuff, but I have no memory of it.  Iím uncomfortable watching the movie, because Iím not proud of that guy, but thereís one point - and they say it in treatment all the time about a spiritual awakening - by the time I uttered those words {Responding to Roberts and Pageís invitation}, it seems my voice starts to clear right after that.  Like all of a sudden, the funk started to lift.  Iíve lived in Florida for thirtysomething years.  I call it home, but now Iím living in Atlanta, and I donít know where Iím going to end up, but Iím two blocks away from him.  I can walk to the Performance Center, which is a mile from my house, so Iím surrounded by this support system that heís built.  There such a family vibe there, such a cool vibe.  Itís just like an extension of him.

Iíve been in twelve inpatient rehabs.  All the really famous ones, and of course, everyone says they are the best.  The first six or seven were twelve-step-based programs, where the message is, ďDonít drink. Go to meetings. Call your sponsor.Ē Oh gee, donít drink?  I never thought of that!  How much do I owe you? Oh, forty grand?  Here you go, is there a money back guarantee?  The last five or six places, the WWE picked up the tab.  Iíve never been in denial that I had issues, hence twelve treatment centers, but it just wasnít sticking for me and I couldnít figure out why.  At one point, I was going to rehab every year and my thought at that time was, at least Iíll get thirty days.  So, when Dallas reached out to me, it was like, ĎWell, go to rehab again? Let me try something different.í  The thing that I really treasure about my friendship with Dallas is that we always communicated really effectively, because we donít BS each other, we always cut right to the chase.  I always know that if I need something, heís there, and thatís a good feeling to have.

 

LMD:  What were your thoughts about coming into Dallas Pageís house with the documentary crew there filming Jake Roberts at the same time that you were trying to recover?

SH:  Well the thing is, initially when Dally reached out to me when I was coherent, he said, ďBro, bro, bro, weíre filming this thing about JakeÖ and Scott Hall.Ē  First of all, out of respect for Jake, I said, ďNah, man, just keep it about Jake.Ē  Plus, having tried and been unsuccessful in the past, I didnít want that.  I said, ďIíll just come and hang out. I donít know how long Iíll last? Whatever, bro.Ē  Iím thinking I got nothing to lose, maybe at last a week and at least Iíll have a week.  I just wanted it to be about Jake, because I think it would be better that way.  If Iím in the movie, Iím in the movie, who knows?  If it was a scripted movie, thereíd have been a table meeting and theyíd have said, ĎNo, we canít put them in the Hall of Fame in the same year. No one will buy that.í And itís just the way it happened.  What I like about the movie is that itís organic. Itís not real slickly produced; itís cut like a home movie, you know?  But itís real, itís all real.  We had no idea any of that was going to happen, I was just trying to get a few days strung together.  If all I got was a week, hey, then that would be a week I didnít have.

 

LMD:  What would you like people to take away from The Resurrection of Jake The Snake?

SH:  I think what {Ted} DiBiase said in the movie is really powerful.  He said, ďLove. You just keep loving people. Love conquers all.Ē  It sounds kind of hokey, but look what itís doing to me.  Itís real, itís true.  My message is, if you need help, ask for it.  I really struggled with that and I was worse when people offered me help.  I got really defensive, cos I thought I was fooling everybody.  Naw, I didnít have anybody fooled.  Itís like something my dad told me one time - he died 20 years clean after having been a raging, abusive alcoholic most of my life - and he said, ďItís a slippery slope. I donít want you to, but youíre going to fall. Try to fall forward, because if you fall on your ass, guys like me and you, sometimes we get comfortable there. If you fall face down, you wonít stay down.Ē

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

Oct. 4th, 2015

 

Click here for interviews with wrestling legends Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Director Steve Yu from The Resurrection Of Jake The Snake.

 

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