If you think you're a badass, meet Randy Couture. Not many dudes can say that they are in the UFC Hall of Fame, and a three-time heavyweight champ, but Couture can. He mixed it up in the UFC octagon for fourteen years, and after mastering mixed martial arts, Couture is looking to tear up the silver screen. His 2010 role in Expendables got him off to a solid start.
Now, after shocking the world by putting every major action film star that you could possibly think of in one film, Stallone and Co. are back with The Expendables 2. Complex got a chance to chop it up with Randy Couture to discuss his role in the sequel which drops today, working with this legendary cast for a second time, and who would come out victorious if the cast were to fight in a tournament.
Interview by David Whitely (@davidwhitely)
How was it working on The Expendables 2?
It was good, it was really good. [The cast] is a great group of guys. In a lot of ways, it just carried over from the first crew. Just gearing up and putting on wardrobe and looking at each other going, “Weren’t we just here?” It was a lot of fun. Bulgaria was a very interesting place to be for three months; there's a lot of history there. The people there treated us pretty good. It wasn’t bad.
Tell us about your role in the second installment.
Well, Toll Road is back. He’s an interesting character like all of the guys on the team, kind of corky and makes sure they’re all doing their jobs because there is always a sort of a dysfunction. Toll Road is a college educated guy who’s always trying to improve himself. He’s constantly reading, trying to sort out his demons. In a lot of ways he’s kind of the glue that keeps the team together; they’re his family, the guys he respects the most. That’s the fun part of this movie. You kind of get to see the characters develop a little bit more, you get to know them a little bit better. You get to see the team poke fun of each other and push each other’s buttons.
How would you say Randy Couture compares to Toll Road?
There’s a ton of similarities. I’m sure I’m not without my own issues and baggage, but I think that’s the cool part about the character. From the monologue in the first movie about my ear and cauliflower from college wrestling, to being a college educated guy in a very rough, combative sport as I have for the last 15 years, it wasn’t too hard for me to find a way to relate to Toll Road, and at the end of the day tell his truths in playing the character.
What was your experience like on the set?
Making a movie is a grind, man. I don’t know where people get the idea that it’s all this glamour and stuff because you’re up early on set everyday waiting around on your moment to actually work and do your scenes. Then you’re in the back waiting for the next set-up, and your day is for like 12 to 14 hours, five to six days a week. So it’s definitely a grind. There’s a psychological component to that in staying focused, ready to go when you have to go. There’s obviously a physical part to that in it's a long, drawn-out process, and when you do get the moments to turn it on, you have to be ready to do that.
How was it working with badasses like Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the other guys for a second time?
Having grown up in the '70s and '80s, those guys were in the action movies that I was dying to go to the theater and see, and now to be in a cast with those guys is kind of surreal. Kind of looking around going “Man, I can’t believe I’m here!” Timing was everything about it. Ten years ago, those guys were competing for box office numbers, and probably wouldn’t have been on the same screen. Now at this stage of their lives, it makes perfect sense for them to come together and be in this movie. It’s a really cool thing, and a fun thing to be a part of.
With all of these legendary badasses in the same room, yourself included, who's the biggest badass of them all?
I think each and every guy brings their thing to this film. Jet Li with his kung fu, Jason Statham with his particular martial arts style and action style, to Sly and Arnold. Each and every guy has their own special flavor. I think that’s a cool part of this movie, like everybody has their moment to shine at some part or another in this movie.
Out of all the cast, who do you think could hold his own in an MMA fight?
Um, the only other guy who has real combat experience would Dolph [Lundgren]. He has competed in boxing and full contact karate for a long, long time. So, I think his chances would be good. He’d probably do pretty well.
Did they use any of your MMA techniques in the film?
Yeah, of course. I think that’s what the fans want to see. They know going in if I’m in the movie, when it comes to close quarters combat, they know that’s my specialty. The stunt coordinators know that, Sly knows that, so they gave me that moment to kind of demonstrate some of that expertise in the fight scenes. Those are the days when it’s a lot of fun for me. From top to bottom, this movie is a lot of fun.