Roman Reigns' Tribal Chief Pulls Heavy Influence From Classic Film Apocalypse Now

Roman Reigns' performance as "The Tribal Chief" in recent years has drawn influence from one of Marlon Brando's most famous characters, his "Special Counsel" Paul Heyman revealed. Talking to the Associated Press ahead of WrestleMania 39, Reigns and Heyman opened up about the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion's three years as the "Head of the Table," and the "Wiseman" gave insight into how the champion's persona came to be.

The "central concept for Reigns as The Tribal Chief" was to mold Reigns' character after Brando's Colonel Walter E. Kurtz character from the movie "Apocalypse Now." "The reason why is because the story is of a soldier so great, he could not be stopped," Heyman explained. "[Col. Kurtz] goes rogue and takes over this community, becomes their leader, and their end all be all. He then has to live up to being this navigator into the future and has the responsibility and the accountability of living up to those expectations. And at some point, that becomes a burden and makes him resent those with such lofty expectations for the person who positioned himself as their leader. And in that resentment comes this villainous bitterness."

For Reigns' sake, things hopefully work out better for "The Tribal Chief" than the U.S. Army Colonel he's based upon. While Col. Kurtz is viewed by many in the film as harnessing the power and wisdom of a minor deity, his mortality is proven to be as human as any man when he's cut down with a machete by the film's protagonist Captain Benjamin L. Willard, who was sent to end Kurtz' reign.