This past weekend Dean Ambrose participated in a Q&A session at the Pittsburgh Wizard World Comic Con. Ambrose spoke at length about his foray into acting with his film, 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown. Ambrose said seeing the film come together was weird, but that he thought that the film turned out really well and that he is pretty happy with his overall experience making the film.
According to Ambrose, he was approached about the role by WWE brass at a Monday Night RAW. He did not know why he was being pulled aside and he assumed he was in trouble.
"I kind of got pulled aside by some people and the situation was like, 'oh no, what did I do? This isn't going to go well.' and I go in there and they're like, 'yeah, you know, 12 Rounds, we got this franchise it's a pretty good thing for us if you want this opportunity' and I was like, 'whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait, wait. You want me to be in a movie?' and they were like, 'yeah'. I was like, 'yeah, I'll do that! For sure! Lets go!'"
While Ambrose was being explained the timetable for filming, he realized working on the film would be the longest period that he would not be wrestling in 10 years.
"My body got a nice little break. We worked hard - it was 12 or 14 hours days on set, but I'm not getting punched in the face every day. It was nice."
Initially, Ambrose thought he was going to be "an extra or a background guy or like Terry Funk in Road House" and that the role would be a fun break from wrestling. When he learned he was in the lead role, he put serious work in and took acting classes from Alan McRae, best known as Sam Douglas in the movie, 3 Ninjas.
While Ambrose claimed that he didn't have any expectations of the film and that he had no idea what he was doing going into the film, he realized that he was more prepared than he thought, as WWE "is a sort of show business bootcamp."
Ambrose indicated that trying to not be too over the top in his performance and getting accustomed to multiple takes were the biggest challenges for him going from professional wrestling to acting.
With respect to toning down his performance, Ambrose stated that playing to a camera in a smaller environment is much different than playing to a large arena filled with 20,000 fans. Ambrose said that he is never really acting on WWE programming, as he just lets loose and does whatever he wants, so trying to get into the headspace of a different character was a challenge.
"I didn't want you to watch [the movie] and feel like you were watching the guy you watch on wrestling," Ambrose continued, "I don't know if I accomplished that at all, but I think I did pretty close."
As for getting used to multiple takes in acting for films, Ambrose said that in wrestling he might have a promo, followed by a match, and a dangerous spot like falling off of a ladder on live television over a 30-minute span, whereas, in a film, a scene of dialogue, a fight scene, and a stunt may each be shot 50 times.
Ambrose claimed that he did not get to perform as many stunts as he wanted to during the filming of 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown. Ambrose said he was not allowed to do anything even remotely dangerous for insurance purposes.
Ambrose believes that 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown will have a different "curiosity factor" from John Cena and Randy Orton's contributions to the franchise. According to Ambrose, the audience knows what to expect from Cena and Orton in action hero roles, but Ambrose remains an unknown quantity.
"I figured there would be a pretty good curiosity factor of people wondering just what it's going to look like, like me with a gun."
Ambrose stated that making 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown showed him that acting is definitely something he can explore in the future; however, wrestling is what he does and he is in the thick of his professional wrestling career at present. Ambrose said he would jump at the opportunity to reprise his role in 12 Rounds 4, but fans probably will not see Ambrose in a horror film.
"I actually don't like scary movies that much. I get scared very easily."
When asked by a young fan whether he collects Pokemon cards or anything like that, Ambrose replied that he is a "minimalist" and does not keep many possessions. Ambrose even took a pair a jeans from the set of 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown.
"They were a comfortable pair of jeans in the wardrobe and they were like, 'hey, do you want these jeans?' and I was like, 'actually, they are pretty comfortable' and I'm like, 'I'm cheap'. Once I found one good pair of jeans, I wore them a lot, and I was like, 'I'm going to wear these jeans every day for like a year because I got them for free from the movie.'"