Feature Interview: WWE Star Turned Actor Adam “Edge” Copeland
Throughout his WWE career, Adam “Edge” Copeland was no stranger to doing what was necessary to finish off an opponent. In WWE Studios’ action-packed thriller Interrogation, Copeland’s character, Lucas Nolan, shares a similar mentality, as the intense interrogator takes on a criminal mastermind in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Copeland, who retired in 2011 from WWE as one of its most decorated stars, has successfully transitioned into the acting world where his talent continues to be noticed and flourish. Now as he prepares to fly to Dublin to film his role for the fifth season of Vikings, Copeland opens up about his time on set on Interrogation, his home life and the craziness of his WWE career.
CraveOnline: You’re playing Lucas Nolan in WWE Studios’ Interrogation. What’s his story?
Adam Copeland: He’s an interesting cat. What drew me to the script is that he has a lot of layers. He has a lot of baggage [laughs]. That’s a great challenge to try and tackle. One of the things I liked about the script is that it was very “meaty” from a dialogue perspective as well as from an action perspective.
Shooting guns is great and it’s fun but eventually you want to do more. That’s what I liked about Lucas. He has a lot more going on. He’s an interrogator so he has to mentally be on his toes and happens to come up against a character in this movie that is just as on his toes. It’s a cat and mouse between Vasti [Patrick Sabongui) and Lucas. It was a lot of fun.
CraveOnline: How was the project pitched to you? What made you sign on to do the film?
Adam Copeland: I had an offer to do a TV show that was being filmed in South Africa and I read the script and I was kind of up in the air about it. Then Hunter [Triple H] called me and said ‘Oh, man. We got this script we want you to look at.’ They sent it to me and I read it and I was like ‘Okay, I’m in’ because this guy is way more interesting than the other guy I had been offered.
A month later, I’m up in Vancouver and in three days, I’m learning three months worth of fight scenes and jumping head first in and we filmed the movie in 11 days. We were doing a fight scene and an interrogation all in the same day so you had to go from this sweaty, close in tight fight scene to the next scene and do a 16-minute take on an interrogation. You had to put on a lot of hats throughout the day. It was great but at the end of the 11 days, I was exhausted [laughs].
CraveOnline: Although filming wasn’t long, what was your favorite part of working on the set of Interrogation?
Adam Copeland: The main interrogation scene was really interesting because we set up a round dolly that just circled Patrick [Sabongui] and I for the entire take. It was eight pages of dialogue so we just kept going. It was intense and a very cool experience. It was also fun to do the fight scenes that were a different fighting style than I’ve done before.
One in particular with Patrick and it was very close quarters and a lot of small military movements, almost. We wrote one scene right before we did it. We just changed it. I’ve never had that freedom on set before. We sat down with the director [Stephen Reynolds] and the three of us were like ‘What if we tried this?’ It felt closer to WWE than I’ve ever had with any other experience.
Transitioning into acting
CraveOnline: What was the biggest challenge in transitioning from an in-ring performer to acting in film and TV?
Adam Copeland: I think pulling everything back was initially the biggest challenge. I didn’t know I was doing it. I didn’t know I would make these facial expressions that you just naturally get in wrestling to convey everything to a larger live audience.
When you’re trying to get an emotion across to 85,000 people who are sitting right there, it has to be bigger. All of the movements have to be bigger but when you have a camera on your coverage and it’s there and tight like that, every little nuance is picked up. That was what I didn’t understand initially.
The Edge and Christian Show
CraveOnline: Let’s talk The Edge and Christian Show on the WWE Network. You two are wild and no strangers to controversy. How did you pull off the things you did and was thee anything you suggested that got turned down?
Adam Copeland: I still don’t know how we pulled it off. Honestly, I really don’t. We didn’t hit any barriers. We didn’t have any handcuffs put on us. Part of the process of even getting us to do it was freedom. We went into this thing with a blank canvas with the freedom to write and produce this thing and we thought ‘We’ll see what gets ixnayed and what doesn’t and nothing did [laughs].
Our take from it was that we are going to make fun of everybody. Nobody is safe but we’re going to make fun of ourselves more than anyone else. I think at the end of the day, anybody who might have got offended could watch and go ‘Okay but now they’re having therapy with Bayley and tag team marriage therapy so you can’t really get mad at them.’
CraveOnline: It’s definitely a show for the knowledgeable wrestling fan.
Adam Copeland: We threw in some weird obscure references for true wrestling fans. You’re not going to be a casual wrestling fan and get our show. If you’ve never watched wrestling, you’re not going to understand it at all. That show was for the pure wrestling fan that understands a Bastion Booger reference and understands when I reach for the golden kazoo and go, ‘It’s not hot.’ You have to be a wrestling fan to understand we’re mocking Hulk Hogan in the Dungeon of Doom skits.
We wrote it with all of that in mind. If they have the WWE Network, they’re probably big wrestling fans and even if we are referencing stuff before their time, they can go back and look it up.
CraveOnline: Is there going to be a season two?
Adam Copeland: Yeah, it’s really just a matter of timing, honestly. Now that I’m filming Vikings it’s going to be a lot more difficult to squeeze it in and the only thing that Jay [Christian] and I want to do with a second season is have it all written beforehand because a lot of this was writing as we went because of the time constraints. Initially, we were told we would have a pilot episode and one week to film it to flesh out what the show was and get on board with the other producers. Then we got up there and they needed three episodes in three days [laughs].
CraveOnline: What’s one thing you can’t believe you got away with in your WWE career?
Adam Copeland: Probably diving into the flaming table. It was my idea, stupidly and of course, I knew Mick [Foley] would be in because he’s just as stupid as I am. I didn’t think everybody else would sign off on that [laughs] but when everyone did, I was surprised. To pull it off with only a few burns and some burnt hair [laughs] is one where I’m like ‘How did we pull that off?’ How did it get through all of the levels that it had to? The margin for error in that was so miniscule.
CraveOnline: You’re a WWE Hall of Famer with tons of accomplishments in the ring. What do you hang your hat on the most?
Adam Copeland: I don’t really think about hanging my hat, per se. It was what it was and it was great and I did more than I ever expected to and at the end of the day it was fun. I enjoyed every part of it; from the tag team to the singles stuff to eventually ending it all with Christian and I back together again. That seemed fitting. It was a good time [laughs].
A Rated-R Superstar that is a horse?
CraveOnline: I’m a Kentuckian where horse racing is huge. There is a very good horse called “The Rated-R Superstar.” Are you aware of that?
Adam Copeland: Yeah! I get a bunch of tweets about it. I re-tweeted a couple because that’s great [laughs]. There are certain things that you don’t expect and that is one of them. So that’s pretty cool. I’ll hang my hat on that [laughs].
CraveOnline: You and your wife just had your second daughter. What’s parent life like with two kids?
Adam Copeland: It’s amazing. It’s tiring at times. It’s frustrating at times but it’s so much fun. I got to fly to Dublin to work but I’ll fly back and walk in the house and just to see the joy on their faces is just ‘oh my gosh.’ It’s so much fun to see all of these new words spring out of Lyric’s mouth cause she’s a little over two and a half now.
The other day we were playing with Lego blocks and she said ‘This Lego is an enchilada of psychiatry.’ I just stopped and said ‘What?’ Where did you get psychiatry? Just putting those words together was awesome. We have daddy/daughter day and it’s a lot of fun. Now Ruby, our youngest, she’s 10 weeks old and starting to smile and she’s really aware and watching things now and seeing how great Lyric is with her, that’s really fun to see.
CraveOnline: You mentioned it earlier but you are going to be a reoccurring character in season five of Vikings. That’s huge. How did that occur?
Adam Copeland: It is huge. I was a fan of the show and always have been. When we had Ruby, I cleared the docket. After The Edge and Christian Show, I didn’t want to do anything. I wanted to be here for Beth [Kocianski] and help her through these last months of pregnancy and get the path cleared off as to how we are going to pull this off.
After about two months, Beth was like ‘If you want to start auditioning then you should go for it.’ I had been bugging my agent over the years to keep an eye out for Vikings. Sure enough, the first audition was Vikings. Like I said, it’s a show I love and it gave me a chance to grow my beard and hair back, which is fun [laughs].
More than just an action movie
CraveOnline: Before we let you go, what do the fans need to know about Interrogation?
Adam Copeland: In terms of an action movie, it’s more than that. There are explosions and gunplay and car chases and all of that but there are layers. If you enjoy movies and want to see more of your character, this movie has that.
It’s a different character than what I have played before, which is nice and it has nothing to do with “Edge.” But it was a good time and if they enjoy it as much as we had fun filming it, that’s all you can ask for.
Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline, a hockey fanatic, a pro wrestling connoisseur and an expert on all things Patrick Swayze. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaCaudill85 or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.
Photos and video courtesy of WWE
WWE Studios and Lionsgate’s Interrogation is available on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and On Demand Sept. 20.