Exclusive Interview: Eric Roberts Talks ‘The Condemned 2’

Eric Roberts is no stranger to action movies. With such films as “The Dark Knight”, “The Expendables”, “Runaway Train” and many more among his impressive 402 acting credits listed, Roberts knows a good project when he sees it.

“The Condemned 2” is another adrenaline-packed film with Roberts along for the ride.

Tucked away in a Philadelphia hotel, Roberts opens up about his longevity, working with Randy Orton, action filmmaking and his experience on the set of the follow-up to “The Condemned.”

CraveOnline: You have worked on some pretty incredible action films in the past. How would you describe your experience on “The Condemned 2?”

Eric Roberts: To put it in a nutshell, it was very comfortable because Randy Orton is one of the nicest, most normal people I’ve ever worked with. We really hit it off and we really had fun and his fiancé and my wife hit it off and made friends. Everybody liked each other. It was very cool. We just had fun. It was like going to camp every day because Randy is so freaking normal. He’s a good cat.

Working with Randy Orton

CraveOnline: We spoke with Randy Orton recently and he had nothing but glowing remarks about you as well.

Eric Roberts: Aw that’s nice to hear.

CraveOnline: Orton is relatively new to the acting game. How do you think he performed in this film after working with him?

Eric Roberts: Randy Orton is a natural. He’s big and tall with lots of presence. He’s really sweet. I was like ‘Wow! That’s really nice.’ He comes across with such strong presence and he’s such a big guy and he comes across like he could be a problem walking in the room but he’s the sweetest man you’ve ever met. He’s humble too.

“It’s a father and son coming of age kind of thing.”

CraveOnline: You play Frank Tanner the father of Randy Orton’s character. What can you tell us about Frank?

Eric Roberts: He’s old school. Old school has his rules and rules are made to be broken. That’s pretty much the long and short of it. He thinks you have to do things a certain way and his way is not up to date. It’s a father and son coming of age kind of thing.

CraveOnline: Did you do any tactical training or stunts for the film?

Eric Roberts: I did nothing except with Randy we both came rolling in a door one day and we knocked in a door and came rolling in together. When we had to do anything like jump through a window or jump in a car, I’d say ‘Stuntman’ and I’d go watch my stuntman make me look good.

Having fun on set

CraveOnline: I know you had a lot of fun on this project. Do you have any favorite stories while on set?

Eric Roberts: There’s a scene where I’m on the roller seat under the car working…

(Roberts looks to his wife, Eliza Roberts, for a better recollection of his story)

Eliza Roberts: Hi, Josh. Basically, you were talking about how you hoped you could do this gracefully.

Eric Roberts: Oh yeah. That’s right. Coming out from under the car is not as easy as it looks. We’d work on it all day and make it look very cool doing it. But you put an actor on a board instead of getting under the car like you’re a mechanic and I do and they yell ‘Action’ and I come out and go too far and I roll right past the cameras. ‘Oops there we go. That didn’t work. Cut. Let’s do it again.’

Eliza Roberts: You guys also got a giggling attack. What happened was Eric was under the car and was lying on that rolling seat and Randy was standing and his boots were planted and they’re having an argument. Eric suddenly comments ‘God you have big feet’ [Eric Roberts laughs] and they started giggling and they sort of had to be sent to their room.

Eric Roberts: He wears like a size 19 shoe or something.

CraveOnline: How was the directing style of Roel Reiné ?

Eric Roberts: He was very prepared. He knows what he wants and he knows why he wants it. He’s a real director, dude. I’ve made a lot of action films so I know what it takes and it’s hard to direct an action movie. It’s hard! He was prepped and ready to go. He’s a cool cat.

“I’ll be taking a break when I die.”

CraveOnline: When you look at your filmography and upcoming projects, you’re obviously a busy man.

Eric Roberts: I’m lucky, buddy.

CraveOnline: Do you not want to take a break or do you just enjoy throwing yourself into the art and staying busy? 

Eric Roberts: I’ll be taking a break when I die. I know we’ve heard that expression time and again but that’s kind of how I feel. I get to go to all kinds of really cool places all over the world with my wife for free. We’ve seen the world for free … literally. We’ve had a great time.

I’ve been married for 23 years and we just have a great time together. Right now we’re in Philadelphia in this dumpy hotel but I just came back from Austria where I stayed in a castle. It’s like A-Z, M-Q. It’s everything. It’s so much fun. You see so many great things even if it’s a dump.

CraveOnline: You’ve been acting for nearly 40 years.

Eliza Roberts: Whoa! Eric, are you 40? Oh my God [laughs].

CraveOnline: What lesson have you learned after experiencing such a long and impressive career?

Fans and the future

Eric Roberts: The most important thing is to be nice to everybody like they’re going to be your boss tomorrow to show them that they might be.

CraveOnline: There is no shortage of Eric Roberts fans. Even my own mother is a huge admirer but we must know your favorite fan interaction?

Eric Roberts: My favorite story about a fan is when I was in an airport about a year ago. I’m in an airport and this little old woman, must have been an 80-year-old woman, beautifully dressed comes straight up to me and says ‘Has anyone ever told you that you look exactly like Eric Roberts?’ I laughed and said ‘I am Eric Roberts.’ She laughed and said ‘No you’re not’ and walked away. That was my favorite time because I would not be Eric Roberts because Eric Roberts is “special” and I’m obviously not special enough to be Eric Roberts [laughs].

CraveOnline: What can we expect from you in the future? What do you got coming up?

Eric Roberts: I’m going to make 300 or 400 more movies and then I’m going to die. Seriously though I’m very involved in what my kids are doing. My son Keaton Simons is on tour right now with Chris Cornell; the same rock star I did a video with recently. My son has a new hit single on “Suits” called “When I go” and one of my daughters just got married to her girlfriend. That was a big day. What else can I tell you? Keaton’s got that hit song, Emma [Roberts] is a movie star and my other daughter Morgan just got married.

CraveOnline: What can fans expect from “The Condemned 2?”

Eric Roberts: An exciting and satisfying Randy Orton. They’re going to be shocked that he’s an actor. He’s a natural actor. He’s cool, man. He’s cool.

In Theaters and VOD | November 6, 2015
Starring WWE Superstar Randy Orton

Photos courtesy of WWE and Lionsgate Films Home Entertainment

Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline, a surfing enthusiast, an unhealthy sports fanatic, and an expert on all things Patrick Swayze. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaCaudill85 or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.