Somebody call my momma… and tell her that Brodus Clay is one candid individual. Formerly the bodyguard for current WWE World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio, the now-Funkasaurus had nothing to hide when I got on the phone with him to talk the Blu-ray release of NO ONE LIVES. From his weight issues to his frustrations with where he stands in the WWE Universe, Clay put it all out on the table with me on the morning after SummerSlam, and even with the ups and downs his career has faced, he remains optimistic that he can get his career to where it wants to be while with the WWE.
And who can blame him? They gave him the opportunity to be a part of one of WWE Films’ releases, something not offered up to every WWE Superstar, and, even though his role is one of a minor henchman, he is easily a part of one of the most shocking moments I’ve seen in a movie this year. Teamed with Tensai as the over tag team Tons of Funk, Clay is trying to carve out his niche within the company at a time when there is room for some new in-ring duos to make their mark, and, after interviewing him and getting some pretty unfiltered answers, how could you not root to see more of this guy around? Enjoy.
The Infamous Billy The Kidd – Good morning.
Brodus Clay – Hey, good morning, boss.
The Kidd – How are you?
Brodus Clay – I’m good. Room temperature, man. Just chillin’.
The Kidd – I guess to start off, I wanted to get your thoughts on SummerSlam last night. Obviously you’d like to be in the ring working this show, but when it comes to putting a card together where you’re not involved, do you get to just sit back and enjoy it as a fan? And, if so, what is that experience like as opposed to going through the preparation of getting in the ring for the night?
Brodus Clay – Like you said, not being a part of the show is frustrating, and you’ve gotta take your ups and downs. There are definitely peaks and valleys. One of the things I like to do when I’m not involved is that I usually like to go sit out in the crowd. Of course it’s hard for me, these days, to hide out in the crowd. Last night I was able to be in WWE Studios’ box to watch the show. So I was in attendance at the Staples Center, and I watched the whole show from the crowd’s perspective. There were some tremendous matches last night. As a fan, it was great to watch. As a competitor, you’re scouting. Thinking about what you would do differently, and wanting to be in there. My hat goes off to Alberto Del Rio and Christian. That rivalry is one for the record books. That’s like Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair from back in the day. Those two guys just go at it. Brock and CM Punk… what an amazing match. Of course, the main event… Everyone’s still talking about… Is Legacy back? It’s pretty cool.
The Kidd – So in getting cast for NO ONE LIVES, you’re the muscle for this unsavory gang in the film, and obviously there’s no shortage of muscle in the WWE. So how did it become that you were the one to land this role from among your fellow WWE Superstars?
Brodus Clay – I think it’s just because when I was asked about it, I answered so fast. John Laurinaitis came up to me and said, “Hey, there’s this project…” and I was like, “Yeah, I’ll do it.” He goes, “I haven’t even told you what it is yet.” I said, “I’ll do it.” [Laughs] And he was like, “Okay!” He went back and I met with the director and the director was like, “Yeah, we want Brodus.” So I think the early bird gets the worm. I didn’t say, “Ah, I’ll think about it,” and see what happens. In my experience, when it comes to opportunities, to jump on them. I think that helped me get the role.
The Kidd – Is it a different feel for you in performing on set for the camera? You know, something that has multiple takes, that’s going to be edited together later for a finished project? Is it a different feel for you instead of doing something in the ring for a crowd that is all live?
Brodus Clay – That’s a great question, man. It’s so different. You can feed off the crowd, you can use the adrenaline. There’s very little preparation in terms of… You can’t retake anything, or if something goes wrong it’s there, and everyone sees it. Spontaneity means something, and winging it, and living in the times… Those are all awesome things about being a sports entertainer for the WWE. And in the movie world they’re very meticulous. It’s retake after retake, even if you did it great, they’ll want to film from a different direction. A lot of work goes into each scene. There’s so many great people that put a movie together; You just don’t realize it until you’re actually in it and you see all of them. So it’s definitely a lot more trying, and it can be a lot more frustrating making a movie at times just because of all the different parts and the constant redoing of things. It’s very tiring.
The Kidd – You get into it with Luke Evans physically in the film. Was the fight choreography a challenge for you in such a setting where you’re used to a much more organic setting as far as action concerned in the ring?
Brodus Clay – Actually one of the cool things about Luke Evans was that… There was a stuntman there, and they had all these apparatuses and stuff and basically… He was cool enough to… I was like, “Bro, just hit me. If you knock me down or you bang me up, I’ll live with that, but I’m just not worried about it right now.” And I think that’s why the fight scenes came off so well in terms of making sense when it came to, obviously, our size difference, but using the experience of the WWE… It’s almost like a point of pride. I felt like there was a big argument… Because he kicks me quite a few times… And they wanted to put like a cup and a pad in my pants, and I’m like, “No, I don’t do that. I’m not going to use that. Just have him kick me and you’ll get a real reaction.” There were a lot of takes, so the thirty kicks… where I got to like number thirty on the kicks and stuff… Started to get to me a little bit… But it made for a realistic fight. They got a lot of praise for that, so that made it different. At first he wasn’t too excited about it… During the first couple of scenes he had a rubber knife and I took it from him a couple of times and I would just go, “Rewrite!” He didn’t really react too well at first but Luke was a good sport and I think it came out really well.
The Kidd – You also have what, to me, is one of the coolest moments that I’ve seen in movies recently, and I was trying to figure out how to ask you about it without being too spoilerific.
Brodus Clay – It’s just an “OMG” moment. It’s capital-O, capital-M, capital-G and about 600 exclamation points. It’ll get you! It’s cool that we can still get people. The reaction in the movie theatres, every one I’ve been at it was the exact same: You just hear this giant, “OH!” Then they just kinda go, “Oh man I can’t believe it!” We can leave it at that. It’s just this “Oh” moment and I think it’s the death of the year, to be honest with you, but I’m a little bit biased because I like the guy who did it. It’s a pretty clever death scene, I think.
The Kidd – So before you shoot NO ONE LIVES, you’re kinda in the thick of the world heavyweight picture as bodyguard to Alberto Del Rio, and after shooting the picture, you come back repackaged as the Funkasaurus. How does such a character shift like that develop in the time away, and were you okay with going in such a drastically different direction from what you had already done?
Brodus Clay – I was nervous about going ahead with that character, and it was going to be a tremendous challenge. Especially the dancing and stuff. I’d never seen myself as a dancer by any stretch of the imagination. But when the coach makes a play, you’ve gotta execute. I was nervous about it, but I embraced it, and I was going to give it 100% and do it my way, which was cool, with the track suits and the Funkasaurus name and the Funkadactyls. Being able to add that to it and make it more of a thing where everyone is more involved. That aspect was cool. It was great in terms of the people there in terms of people to talk to. Triple-H was awesome in terms of just being able to talk and vent and being able to express my concerns and stuff like that. The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes… If you gotta learn how to dance, you’ve gotta go see the Dream, baby. I went down and saw him and he was like, “We’ve got this. Don’t worry about it.” One of my favorite DVDs is him and me dancing together just…feelin’ the music. I blame Maroon 5 for all of this. Moves like Jagger came out and we were in Europe and I was on the bus with my headphones on doin’ it and apparently it got back to the wrong people. Or the right people, depending on how you look at it. The character development has been a blessing, it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been frustrating at times, too. Not being in the Championship picture and trying to find my way and going through ups and downs in terms of storylines and being in the… Not being in the pay-per-view. All those things kinda get to you, and you second guess yourself sometimes, going, “If I would have just been this way I wouldn’t be in this situation…” At the same time, you’re in the WWE, and you’re a superstar. One of the good things about this weekend… Because I have been a little bit frustrated with the way things have been going in terms of TV time and stuff like that. I think everybody is. You want to be on. You want to do your best. I had a lot of, at SummerSlam Axxess, I had a lot of photo-ops and meet and greets where they take the pictures. I had a tremendous fan turnout. Lots of kids, lots of hugs and a lot of positive people and the WWE Studios people were impressed with the following. It’s part of the process. I started at 365 to Redemption when our WrestleMania match got cut. Turning a negative into a positive isn’t easy! It’s just saying it. You’re going to have days where you’re second guessing and you’re frustrated and you’re banging your head against the wall and you want more and you feel that you definitely deserve more and you feel that you’re just as talented as some of the other guys… It is a full process, and I’ve been very open with the fans about it on Twitter where we talk about the ups and downs. I talk about my own issues, like after football, and after the first time I was let go by WWE I gained weight and then dropped weight and the gained weight. That’s always an issue that I’m struggling with. I started 365 to Redemption and we’ve lost over 130 pounds, but at the same time, training and keeping the muscle up is not easy… Like your diet has to be so precise. It’s a lot of work, but you’re working hard to be in one of the greatest places in all the world to work, so it’s definitely worth it.
The Kidd – There seems to be a resurgence of tag teams in the WWE as of late, which is something that had gone away for quite some time. It seemed to be almost a dying art. I grew up watching lots of tag teams, from the Killer Bees and the Heart Foundation and the British Bulldogs, and then later on you had Dudleys and Edge and Christian, the Hardys. Now after they’d gone away for awhile, it seems like they’re trying to work more tag teams into the scene again. So how did Tons of Funk come together creatively and how tough was it for you to gel together as this cohesive unit when you had become accustomed to the singles style?
Brodus Clay – You know, working with Tensai, aka Sweet T has really been a blessing for me. The guy has a vast knowledge of wrestling experience and stuff. We gelled pretty quickly in terms of both guys being open minded and listening to what the other guy wants to do and follow directions. We just want to be successful and we want to do well. The tag team division went from being empty to being crowded now. You’ve got the Prime Time Players, you’ve got the Real Americans, and of course you’ve got the World Champs, the Tag Team Champions… The Shield… You had the one with Justin Gabriel and TJ Wilson for awhile… You’ve got 3MB always hanging around… So the tag team division and the Usos… You’ve got the Usos and Primo and Epico. You’ve just got team after team after team, and all of a sudden it’s crowded. So you really… It’s a great opportunity, but you need to rise to the top. Not to mention… It looks like Mark Henry and Big Show are teaming up. So, there’s a lot of competition out there and all of a sudden the tag team division is hot again. It’s cool to be a part of it and it’ll really be a measuring stick to see where we’re at… If we can rise to the top or not.
The Kidd – What is more difficult for you: Getting over with the WWE Universe or keeping Snoop Dogg safe?
Brodus Clay – [Laughs] Great question… Keeping Snoop safe was pretty easy because Snoop is not what I would call an all over the place guy. He keeps it simple. Have his food in his room and his Xbox and he ain’t going anywhere. As long as he can play his Madden or his NBA 2K, he’s good. The WWE Universe, they can turn on you in a second. They can love you to death or they can boo you. So they expect you to bring your A-game every day. Staying over with the WWE Universe… you’re never really just there. You have to continue to work at it and they expect a lot from us, so that’s definitely harder. No contest.
The Kidd – Alright man, I appreciate you taking the time today and good luck with the future.
Brodus Clay – Thank you very much, man. And check out NO ONE LIVES. It’s going to be good. You’re gonna like it.
The Kidd – Thanks a lot.
NO ONE LIVES is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.