If you’ve tuned into any WWE programming over the past fourteen months, you’ve likely been awestricken by the larger than life character affectionately referred to as ‘The Funkasaurus.’ While his size is massive, Brodus Clay is known more for his ear to ear grinning, his penchant for dancing with children after a victorious bout, and for his equally oversized tag team partner ‘Sweet T,’ than he is for mauling his victims on a menacingly violent streak. But fans can see the character in a brand new light as Friday May 10th marks the latest in a slew of recent releases from WWE Studios.
“No One Lives” is an R rated semi-horror film that stars Luke Evans (“Clash of the Titans,” “Robin Hood”) in a plot-twisting, thrill ride of a suspense movie where nobody is who they seem. And cast in a supporting role as ‘the muscle’ behind a gang of rogue kidnappers, is Clay’s ‘Ethan,’ which is a character that seems to be more akin to Clay’s dynamically unique appearance. The film follows the story of a seemingly routine robbery and kidnapping of a couple headed out on a trip together. But when we find out that the kidnapped couple is in actuality ensconced in a hostage situation of their own, viewers are forced to seemingly choose between the lesser of two evils. Despite the circumstances however, we are somehow able to find characters to root for in the battle of bad guy versus bad guy, not all that dissimilar to the world that Clay is most used to.
Since his emergence in January of 2012, Brodus Clay has become a true fan favorite, and one whose catchy theme song and crazy dance moves wrestling fans tend to emulate every single night in arenas across the country. LocalBozo.com was fortunate enough to sit down with WWE Superstar Brodus Clay, just days before his acting debut is set for limited release. Listen in as we discuss how he was hand selected for the role of ‘Ethan’ in “No One Lives,” his reflections on the filming and the final cut of the movie, his trepidation in taking a role in a horror film despite his kid-friendly wrestling character, his transformation from menacing bad guy to the smiling, dancing ‘Funkasaurus,’ his feelings on being bumped from the Wrestlemania 29 lineup because of time constraints and how he and his teammates were informed, his Twitter path to redemption, and so much more.
- Jane Van Arsdale
The audio has been transcribed for your reading pleasure below.
LocalBozo.com: Brodus, thanks so much for some time today man.
Brodus Clay: I appreciate you man, thanks for having me.
LocalBozo.com: Brodus let’s talk first about No One Lives, it’s your first real acting gig- talk about the filming of the movie and how you got tapped for the role of ‘Ethan.’
BC: We’ll start with the easy part- how I got casted for it. Basically we just came off of Extreme Rules and I had gotten busted in the head with a ladder. So I had about thirteen staples in the top of my head and I was stretchered out. And a gentleman by the name of John Laurinaitis, who was in charge of talent at the time, he came down and said ‘hey, there’s a movie project’ and I was like ‘Yes.’ And he was like ‘do you want me to finish?’ I’m like ‘No, I’m in. I’ll do it.’ He’s like ‘okay, well you’ll fly out next week for casting’ or whatever and I said ‘alright cool so I get a chance to audition for a movie. Great opportunity. I didn’t know they were actually gonna dip me for the body suit in the movie- it was kind of an awesome surprise. So I realized once I was there and I was getting dipped, and they were spending all this money making another me, that I had the part, so I was excited about it. So that was probably the coolest part about it. And then just filming and being a part of a horror movie is just kind of cool. You know, you get a death scene- it’s a very simple yet complicated movie. I just love the way it’s done in terms of like- it’s done with film. It’s shot in film, it’s not digital. The special effects are actually special effects, not computer generated. So it’s like you get more of a personal feel and how clever the behind the scenes guys were to put everything together. My character Ethan was basically the muscle and the enforcer behind his older brother ‘Hoag’ who runs this gang in the back woods of – I think we were in Louisiana. And like extortion, robbery- not a very good group. And they robbed and kidnapped the wrong guy, which is Luke Evans, who ends up being a psychopath serial killer who had his own agenda going on and had his own hostage going on. It’s got a lot of twists and turns and it’s kind of an interesting story- it’s kind of like bad guy meets worser bad guy- that old classic tale. Just a very interesting movie. A lot of blood.
LocalBozo.com: Now you touched on this a little bit. The film is rated R and it’s about a gang of killers that kidnap a couple on the verge of a trip across the country. Now the character you play is sort of at odds with the kid-friendly role you portray on WWE TV. You sort of mentioned that you grabbed it just because it was available but was there any trepidation on your part to accept this role?
BC: At the time, when I took the role, I was Alberto Del Rio’s bodyguard and the character I was playing was a villain. So this was filmed almost two years ago so the ‘Funkasaurus’ hadn’t been born yet. But I do believe that in life that you can’t do everything with your parents and I think the same thing with role models and people you look up to or entertain. This is definitely an after ten o’clock movie, where most kids should be in bed. You know, it is rated R and they would d need their parents to watch something like that. But I would say a horror movie is probably not a good thing for a child to watch. But it’s okay I think to be able to be different things and play different things because this isn’t the ‘Funkasaurus’ chopping people up and doing things like that. This is a character that I’m playing called Ethan so it’s different and I think that if you have open dialogue where it’s okay to say ‘hey kids, I appreciate the support. But this is a scary movie and it’s not something that I would have you watch.’ And I think it’s okay to say that. I think if you ignore it, then there’s a problem but I think it’s okay to say that. There’s some things that you can’t do with mom and dad and there’s some things you can’t do with the ‘Funkasaurus,’ and that’s watch Ethan in a scary movie unless, you know, your parents are okay with that.
LocalBozo.com: Brodus, how pleased were you with the final cut of the film and your first foray into acting overall?
BC: My first viewing- I was on the red carpet at the TFF, the Toronto Film Festival- I was nervous. That’s not even a word- I had butterflies in my chest the size of Mothra. I was so concerned with- I’m like ‘Am I gonna sound corny? Am I gonna look stupid?’ You don’t know. I thought ‘Was all the karma gonna come back to me for every movie I’ve ever bad mouthed in the theater?’ Because I was sitting there and I was worried about the reaction of the people when I came on, you know, I was so nervous- my heart was racing. My opening scene went in and I was like ‘Okay, so far so good.’ And then eventually when my death happened- it was kind of like a crazy death and stuff- the reaction of the crowd was cool. So overall I was pleased with it- you always notice little things about yourself that you should have done better or whatever, but overall I thought I did a good job. But ultimately it’s up to what the people see and the few people that have seen it at this point have said good things and then everybody gets to see it May 10th, when it’s opening up in select theaters all over the country and hopefully I’ll hear good things back. So I did my best and hopefully my best was good enough.
LocalBozo.com: Switching gears real quick let’s talk WWE for a minute if we can, initially you were coming into the company as this menacing character and after a few short weeks, we get this smiling, dancing ‘Funkasaurus’- talk about the switch to this fan-friendly character as you made your debut more than a year ago.
BC: What had happened was, backstage I joke a lot. I’m always teasing and clowning around and laughing and in the locker room I tend to always have something to say. We’re always laughing and stuff and people would see that. And while we were working on the character, it was brought to my attention like ‘Why aren’t you doing that out there?’ And I was like ‘Well obviously, you wouldn’t let me.’ And looking at the lay of the land- Mark Henry was getting ready to come back and he was gonna be a monster. Kane was making his comeback and he was gonna be a monster. Big Show has a lot of monster tendencies. So I wanted to be different. I wanted to take a risk. I wanted to try something they hadn’t seen since Junkyard Dog, just bringing the kids back and dancing in the ring and just trying to do something a little bit different. Of course, the character evolves- the idea was to pull it back at some point, be more serious in the ring at times. But just bring the entertainment value back, bring the character back. So it was a risk and it could have been horrible but I think fans wanted something like that and families wanted something like that in terms of a character that’s fun and entertaining and makes everybody want to dance and get up. That’s part of what wrestling is all about, you know? The pageantry, the cool entrances, and pyro, and people being a part of it and wanting to be a part of it and so I was very excited to give them the opportunity. And looking at it and how things have turned out, I think it was a great decision.
LocalBozo.com: So Wrestlemania 29 just came and went- it was right in our area the New Jersey/New York City area and despite being booked on the show, your match got scrapped at the last minute and moved to Monday Night Raw the following night. How were you told that you guys were being pulled from the show and although I’m sure you were disappointed- are you making it a primary focus for you to make sure you’re on the card next year?
BC: Actually the way we were told was with the utmost class- as best you could in that situation. We were told in Gorilla [Ed. Note- called the ‘Gorilla Position’ after Gorilla Monsoon, typically situated backstage close to the entrance to the ring, where much of the backstage goings-on/production decisions are made] five minutes before we were supposed to go out. And for me personally, it was devastating. You know, we worked so hard- it was going to be a big night. But I took a different route in terms of expressing- I wanted to be positive. I thought about my fans and the kids and stuff. I can teach from this, we can learn from this. This is a great lesson in terms of life and it wasn’t an easy decision but I had put a Tweet out about like, ‘In life, sometimes you gotta get your heart broke to know what you love.’ And it got a huge response from the fans and then I said- I put another one out saying ‘365 to redemption. We will get back. We will get our opportunity. We will work harder. We’ll put ourselves in a position where they can’t possibly cut us, due to time constraints.’ And it’s just kind of grown. And now I’m actually in day- I chronologize each day until Wrestlemania. We’re at day 24 today. I start out with positive words about how we’re gonna approach the day and focus on our goals. And it’s gotten a really big response from the fans. They’re taking a part of it. I’m getting personal testimonies from people- a lot of people talking about losing weight focusing on school, and getting their job right, and being a better person. I Re-tweet each one and I save it and I take pictures of it and when I’m all done, we’re gonna print it all off and I’m gonna put it in a coffee table book and we’re gonna maybe find a charity and raise money for a charity and get it out there. No mistake about it, I was crushed but I felt when you’re in a position where people look at you for a reaction and stuff, to feel sorry for yourself or to place blame or to cry unfair, you can take something- it happens to us all the time. People get let down all the time. They’ve done everything right. It just doesn’t work out. You have to take it and use and that’s what I’m doing and some of the stories that are being shared with me, I take it away and it’s just something I’m very proud of. It’s basically every day, talking about what you’re going to do to reach your goals. Some people put really lofty goals out there. Some people put some simple ones. One of them was like ‘My goal of redemption is to get a Tweet from Brodus Clay.’ I’m like ‘You did it. Congratulations. Maybe raise the bar a little higher.’ Some of the other ones was dealing with weight loss and stuff. When I first came back to WWE I was about 489 pounds. Now I’m down to 362 and working and training hard, watching what I eat, and staying in the weight room. You know, it’s been a lot of ups and downs and stuff but focusing on that and being on the positive and giving people something to talk about makes you relatable. So it’s really taken on, and it’s not scripted- it’s not something me and the writers came about. I’m doing this regardless of whatever the outcome is. Some people are like ‘it’s too early’ but I don’t think it’s ever early to build on something. And some of the people I’m getting to know through this has really been an eye opening experience for me. So definitely taking a negative and turning it into a positive.
LocalBozo.com: You know Brodus, you talk about turning a negative into a positive- and although you didn’t get to work at Wrestlemania 29, you did get to work the following night at Monday Night Raw from the Izod Center. It was a legendary episode of Monday Night Raw, basically because of the crowd in attendance- just a wild, raucous party. Talk about what that was like for you as a small consolation to be able to work the following night on Raw.
BC: You know, that crowd is a monster crowd. And two things happened that night. When we went out there- my character dances so whatever they chanted, I danced to it. And it turned the tide. By the time that was over, they were with us at the end, dancing with us and clapping. And I thought ‘These guys are gonna eat us for lunch.’ It was like one of those things where- there were moments where they were being their evil selves but then at the end of the day, they just want to be entertained and they just want to feel a part of it. The best thing about my character is there’s nothing wrong with turning to somebody in the crowd going ‘What’s up?’ you know, or like ‘Hey man, for real? That’s what’s going on?’ And talking to the crowd and making them feel a part of it, because the big thing with my partner ‘Sweet T’- is we’ve got a few names- and they like to chant his old names or whatever, and when I yelled out ‘It’s Sweet T, come on help me out.’ So it was a tough crowd but it was a crowd that just wanted to play and I think if you play with crowds like that, you can have a lot of fun with them. If you take it personal- like waves and everything else, it’s great. That’s part of it, that’s part of the WWE, that’s part of the fans being involved- it’s just as important as the kids dancing in the ring with me at the end. Fans have a voice and I think we should encourage it. I hope we get more crowds like that, I think it’s great.
LocalBozo.com: Brodus, you’ve been so gracious with your time today. We’re really excited for you, for the film “No One Lives.” Is there anything else you’d like to leave for the readers of LocalBozo.com?
BC: Oh man, just thank you so much for checking it out. You can always reach me at @Brodusclay on Twitter. And you hit me up, I’ll follow you back and you know, maybe be part of 365 to Redemption- that’d be cool. Any way I can help out.
LocalBozo.com: WWE Universe, Brodus Clay makes his big screen debut in the suspense film “No One Lives” out on May 10th. You can also catch Brodus and all the WWE Superstars on pay per view for Extreme Rules on Sunday May 19th and locally here in Long Island at the Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday June 4th for a Smackdown! Taping and tickets are available now. We’ve been speaking with WWE Superstar, the ‘Funkasaurus’ himself Brodus Clay- all the best of luck on “No One Lives” and in 2013.
BC: Thank you very much man. Appreciate you.