Friday, February 20, 2004
THE PUNISHER Q&A: KEVIN NASH
Kevin Nash always wanted to be in a Marvel movie -- and his first appearance in one figures to be unforgettable.
Nash, a professional wrestler and longtime comics fan, plays the Russian in The Punisher, and has a major fight scene with Thomas Jane's lead character.
The Continuum recently caught up with him to talk about the movie.
THE CONTINUUM: What is the movie Russian like?
NASH: He's a nemesis. He's sent to kill Castle, and it's a pretty good little fight scene. I'm that guy in the red-and-white shirt. I got my hair all chopped off for it.
THE CONTINUUM: Was that traumatizing?
NASH: (Laughs): I really wanted to do this. I've been wanted to do something with Marvel for a while. I've been a huge comic-book fan since I was a kid.
THE CONTINUUM: You've had your own comic book, havenıt you?
NASH: Yeah, I had two issues out before I was told I had to stop. (laughs) As a kid, my favorite was Captain America, so if I could play Captain America, that would be the ultimate. But this is up there.
I was never a DC comic book fan. I was always into Marvels.
THE CONTINUUM: Tell me about the fight scene. Have you seen the final cut?
NASH: No, I haven't seen the final cut. But it's pretty lengthy. It's probably the longest fight scene in the movie.
THE CONTINUUM: How long did it take to shoot it?
NASH: Total, I think I was there for two weeks.
THE CONTINUUM: Do you have other scenes besides the fight scene?
NASH: No, just the fight scene. It weaves in and out of another scene, so it's probably about seven minutes of the movie.
THE CONTINUUM: Is there much dialogue?
NASH: It's mostly action. I have a couple lines here and there, but it's mostly action.
THE CONTINUUM: Did you speak with a Russian accent?
NASH: I actually spoke in Russian. They phonetically wrote my lines down for me. I can't speak Russian, but you'd never know that.
THE CONTINUUM: Where is your wrestling career?
NASH: I've turned down so many things and so many opportunities in my life because of wrestling, because I was contractually obligated to one of the federations. At this point in my life, I don't want that. But I'm probably going to go in March and wrestle in Japan.
Iıve been pounding the road for a lot of years. I can't work a 150- or 160-day schedule anymore. That's not an option. They expect you to work that many days.
THE CONTINUUM: It's a tough road.
NASH: Yeah, it really is. I've been fortunate enough to be well compensated where I don't have to work. When you don't have to work any more, it becomes situational. And I don't want to drag my body down. I'll go to Japan with Scott Hall in March and weıll wrestle and have a couple of days together and laugh and have a good time. And maybe in a couple of months, I'll wrestle again.
And thatıs fine. I still love to perform. I just don't like the drag of it being my life. Even if you just work Mondays, you have to get there Sunday and you have to travel home Tuesday, so it affects three days of your life.
THE CONTINUUM: Is this your first movie?
NASH: I actually played Super Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But this is the first one you can see me in. I did Freejack, but I ended up the cutting room floor.
THE CONTINUUM: What was it like working with the director Jonathan Hensleigh?
NASH: The one thing I've always thought about motion pictures and television the little bit that I've done is that there wasn't that immediate response that you get from wrestling. But he's so high-powered and high-charged, if something was good, you got an immediate response from him. He was enthusiastic.
He knew exactly what he wanted. We worked some long hours, but it was a pleasure to work with him because he knew exactly what he wanted. He had a vision.
THE CONTINUUM: Tell me a little bit about Thomas Jane. I understand he went through a lot of training to get ready for this.
NASH: There''s a couple parts of the fight, where people will go, 'Well, that has to be a stunt double.' But there's one part, where it appears that I'm throwing him through a wall because he fires through a wall. And that's him. He hit that brick wall, and that's a real wall he hit into. He actually took a chunk out of the wall. He works so hard.
The last thing I saw him in was a romantic comedy. So when they told me he was The Punisher and the first day I went into makeup and went on set and I watched him, and he has kind of that Clint Eastwood-ish feel. Thank God this movie came along because all The Punisher fans will finally be able to put the Dolph Lundrgen version to death. Because he really does The Punisher justice. He hits a home run.
He's a really talented actor. I don't think there's a movie of his I haven't seen. So I was a fan of his work anyway.
THE CONTINUUM: I visited the set toward the end of shooting and watching him, he clicks into that character.
NASH: The first scene that I saw him was where he was with this cop and basically tells the cop to kill him. He's sitting there smoking a cigarette and joking around one moment and then he went on the set. And the scene started with his back turned, and he does a slow turn and it was the same thing. What a transformation! Yeah, he's Frank Castle.
THE CONTINUUM: You mentioned you were going to Japan to wrestle in March. Any other plans?
NASH: Not yet. I really hope I get some more work off of this. I live down on the beach in Florida, right on the ocean, so the worst-case scenario is I can get up in the morning, drink my coffee and look at the ocean every day.
E-mail the Continuum at RobAlls@aol.com
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