Formerly known as Wade Barrett in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Stu Bennett talks to us about going from a Marine Biology major at the University of Liverpool, to a Bare Knuckles Boxing Champion, to being a commentator for World of Sports Wrestling (WOS) in the UK and now adding action hero to his resume with his staring role as John Gold in I am Vengeance.
In this one Gold, a former special forces operative turned mercenary, seeks out to avenge the murder of his best friend and former unit member who tried to stop a drug ring that left him and his father dead. Now it is up to Gold to bring them all down and pay for what they’ve done.
Here are some highlights of our conversation with Bennett from this morning’s phone interview:
FanboyNation (FBN): I have to ask this before we even get started with all of this. How do you go from Marine Biology major to bare knuckle fighter to pro wrestler to action hero?
Stu Bennett (SB): I must get very bored easily. I can think I’ve had a rather varied career and I don’t know, I enjoy the complete change in direction probably every five years is it to complete your endeavor. So I don’t know what’s next after acting. So hopefully this was I do this for a long time I’m running out of options (chuckles).
FBN: Well, let’s hope you don’t go to underwater demolition at this point.
SB: You know, that would be pretty cool. Maybe I will go that I should like a movie about underwater demolition needs to be made. So maybe that one next.
FBN: Obviously, you keep yourself busy, and you switch up every five years as you said, so. What was it like taking on a project like this? I don’t know exactly the filmmaking process in the UK as in comparison to the United States with budgeting and whatnot. So how does a project like this come about for you?
SB: I was fortunate while I was wrestling I was wrestling for a company called WWE. @hile I was while I was working for them, they are actually have a an arm called WWE studios when they make you know two or three films a year. And I was lucky enough to get a couple of roles in movies in those. And through one of those roles, which was a role I played in a movie called eliminated with a guy called Scott Adkins, the guys from Evolutionary Films who were the producers of Iron Vengeance saw my performance and got in touch with me and suggested that they might have something I’d be interested in. Then we got to talking from there, they sent the scripts over to me with some ideas. We kind of went back and forth a bit and ultimately they offered me the lead role of John Gold and I found myself a few months later over in London.
FBN: Now, a lot of your scenes were with Anna Schaefer who is very mouthy for a junkie.
SB: She’s a really talented actress. She’s been in Harry Potter and quite a few other independent films. She was a lot of fun to work with and she brought something very unique to her character, she plays this junkie character but she’s kind of a victim that you want to really feel sorry for in the film and John Gold, my character, tried his best to help her out and she just played this crazy junkie. It was very believable which is the funny thing as seeing her off camera and seeing what she’s like in real life as to how far away she is from the character is kind of mind blowing.
FBN: I’m glad that you’re doing action films because it seems to be lacking in this emasculated era of filmmaking. But would you step into a comedic role if you could do say something a little more slapstick?
SB: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m fairly new to the acting world and I’m certainly keeping my options open I think there’s always room for that kind of hyper-masculine type roles. I grew up on guys like (Sylvester) Stallone and (Arnold) Schwarzenegger movies. The Predator and Carl Weathers. I think comedy a great avenue, The rock has shown that you can do both AND he’s about as hyper masculine as you can get. He’s that leading guy in that world at the moment, but also when you can look at the other stuff he’s done like, you know, Jumanji and Central Intelligence where he plays great comedic kind of roles.
FBN: I think we’ve misplaced masculinity in a sense that it’s only associated with being brash, vulgar and violent rather than the old notion of just ‘buck up’ and get the job done, because that’s what you need to do.
SB: For sure. Guys like Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson. If you go back a little further to John Wayne, and the guys of that era, very much the kind of stoic a guy that just went on and got the job done. And you know, I admire all those guys. There’s all the old babies are amazing. So don’t wait as another if you go back. There’s always going to be a place for guys like that in films.
FBN: How difficult is it to transition from being in the boxing or wrestling ring and having that instant gratification of either being cheered or booed by the fans to now having to wait six months to a year after production has ended on a film to go, ‘Oh, now they like this’ or ‘Oh, they didn’t like that part’.
SB: I had no idea that it would take so long when I first started doing acting and films. In my head, once you’ve shot it all you have to do that is patch all the scenes together with an appropriate cut between and then release it right? But we literally shot this film almost two full years ago. Now where to the point of finally getting it released. It’s definitely a bit of getting used to.
FBN: Before I let you go Bare Knuckle boxing had been banned in the United States for 120 years, roughly. And this in the summer we brought back a league called Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, and now there’s a world Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. What is your take on the resurgence of Bare Knuckle boxing and does it have a place in combat sports because it seems far more dangerous and destructive on your on your hands, then it would say MMA or regular traditional boxing.
SB: As long as there are certain rules and regulations in place like there are in boxing or MMA, I think it has a place for sure whether it will ever get the kind of audiences that the mainstream boxing matches, MMA and UFC fights get, I don’t know. But I think as long as there are measures in place to kind of limit the amount of danger that the competitors are in, it definitely has a place and I’m not against it at all.
I am Vengeance is very much in the 1980s action style most of us grew up loving, it’s violent, brash, sarcastic and gives us a one-man wrecking crew that delivers street justice, which has been missing in big budget films. I am Vengeance removes the gobbledygook and brings us back down to the meat-and-potatoes action flicks that so many popcorn movie fans have longed for in the age of being professionally offended.
I am Vengeance releases in theaters and On Demand, Friday, August 24, 2018.