April 2002
Ringside at The Theatre : An Interview with Michael Clarke Duncan

Ringside at The Theatre : An Interview with Michael Clarke Duncan

It’s not the first time we have seen a wrestler attempt to transfer his skills from the wrestling ring to the silver screen. However, The Rock provides for an entertaining creation and development of “The Scorpion King.” The Rock definitely competes within the category of being labeled an action-star, but I predict that his shinning light will only get brighter after this performance. Blackfilm.com sat with co-star Michael Clarke Duncan to discuss the film and this new direction for The Rock.

AH: So will we ever see you in the ring?

MCD: Me? If I do something, it won’t be anything like The Rock. I love wrestling but I think if you go into wrestling, it’s possible that people won’t take your movies seriously…and I want people to always take my movies and what I do seriously.

AH: Do you think people will take The Rock Seriously?

MCD: Oh yeah! Because of his fan base, anything that he is in - - he has a tremendous following from the WWF that will not stop. He could take years off from wrestling and still have a bigger fan base than most lead actors out in Hollywood simply because of who he is and his charisma. He’s got this larger than life attitude when you see him on screen, plus, he has the coolest lines!

AH: How have things been since The Green Mile? First you were a serious actor and now you are an action star. Tell us more about the transition.

MCD: You know it’s all like playing to me. It’s like having all the toys you’ve ever wanted. We’re just playing every day. You look on TV and you see The Rock, but he’s a friend of mine, so he is like one of your boys! So when I see him doing something funny, its like when you see on of your boys trying to act – you say, “Man, you ain’t that cool!” Rock called me and asked me to do this movie. I never read the scrip. I said, “let’s do it.” We’re having so much fun that you just don’t see anything wrong with it and you just can’t believe that you’re getting paid to do all this.

AH: How did you first meet The Rock?

MCD: In Anaheim - I had already done Armageddon. I went to a match. I always go to the matches. I bought my own ticket, went, sat at ring side and he [The Rock] is my favorite wrestler. At the end of the match I went across the street to a restaurant to eat. He walks in with a couple of guys. He had his baseball cap pulled down. I was like, “ah man, what can I say? I have to think of something to say to The Rock!” I figured, don’t bug him, he just got finished wrestling, he doesn’t want to be bothered with people. Then, I said, “forget that – I am going over there.” I go over and say, “Listen, hey Mr. Rock, I’m sorry, uh, I’m Michael Clarke Duncan. “ he said, “who?” I repeated, “Michael Clarke Duncan, I worked in Armageddon.” He looked again, and said, “oh yeah, I like you.” We sat down, exchanged numbers, and that was it.

AH: You have more film experience than The Rock Did you have any acting advice for him?

MCD: You know he actually came to me for advice. But I told him one piece of information that changed his whole way of acting. I told him to go see Larry Moss. He was my acting coach for The Green Mile. I told him if he was having a problem with anything, go see Larry Moss first and he would understand exactly what I would be trying to tell him when I answered a question. I didn’t have to help him out too much. He’s got this acting thing down.

AH: Are you still riding the high from being known as “Academy award-nominated Michael Clarke Duncan?”

MCD: Yeah. I don’t think that will ever leave me. I watched Denzel, Hale, and Sidney Portier in my house and I screamed at the TV because I know what its like to sit in that first row. Being an African-American actor, its hard to believe that it took this long for Hollywood to see that ale and Denzel are such great actors.

AH: Are we ever going to see you in a romantic –comedy?

MCD: I would love to. I don’t want you guys to always see one person. It might be interesting for me to play a big, gigantic person wearing drag. The women seem to love me in drag!

AH: How do you feel about having action figures made of yourself?

MCD: I think it’s really cool. When you see stuff like that you just feel like – “man, I have a really good job right now.” I get to pretend that I am a warrior, have kids buy my action figure, and its all really eat. Success is something you dream about and you’re not sure of how it is going to taste. Well, I am tasting it right now, and it tastes really great!