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Exclusive: Interview With Shad Gaspard

The other day I reported that WWE Superstar Shad Gaspard was up for the role of the villain in the new Conan movie. Today I was lucky enough to get a few words with the man himself and ask him all about it...
After it was reported that Gaspard may be playing the villain in Markus Nispel's Conan, it caused quite a stir on the forums. Some felt that a CBM is no place for a wrestler, some felt he looked the part but were unsure about his acting ability. Fans seem to be upset in general at the direction Nispel's movie seems to be taking. Should they be?

I put all of this and more to Shad. Check out the interview below.

ROR: Ok, well first, thanks for agreeing to the interview. Could you tell me anything else about the audition process for Conan?

SHAD: I saw they were casting back in January 2010, and my agent was able to get an audition. The following Tuesday while taping WWE Smackdown, he let me know that I got the audition and had to fly to L.A.. When I got there, he gave me the break down and all the info, and I started preparing myself for the audition right away.

Where you a fan of the character beforehand? And are you a comic ..or comic book movie fan in general?

As many wrestling fans know, I am a HUGE comic book fan, I even went to Comicon in San Diego last year; and even though I got swarmed by fans, I had the time of my life. Also, the original Conan film inspired me to be who I am today.

Do you think there is some crossover potential with Wrestling and comics? I remember years back there were a few Mankind and Undertaker comics which focused on the mythology behind those characters. And I see a few of the guys in WWE such as Rey Mysterio homaging some characters in their outfits..and the likes of Matt Striker making some pretty obscure references, he must be a fan?

I am glad somebody finally noticed, we all try hard to get our comic book references in our gimmicks. I am a big comic book fan, and to this day, I still buy 2-3 issues of either Marvel or D.C., and even some more unknown comic books that I used to love as a kid. Like, Blood Syndicate, Savage Dragon, X-Men, Icon, and of course, Conan.

Wrestlers as a rule, do not get met with much enthusiasm from fans when they are announced as playing or auditioning for roles of characters that they hold dear. How do you feel about that? Is there anything you would like to say to any Conan fans that might initially think a wrestler wouldn't be a good fit for this type of part?

To be honest, I’ve gotten great enthusiasm from Conan and wrestling fans about me going for this role. No body has really put any negative press towards me about this. I think when most fans read the break down for the role, and then look at me, they ultimately see that I am the best fit for the character.

The Rock is obviously an example of a wrestler that has crossed over successfully, not just commercially but in most cases critically. Do you think this has opened doors for other wrestlers hoping to make it in the movies?

Not really. It sets the bar really high, and a lot of wrestlers have fallen short. I am one of Dwayne’s biggest fans and I am fortunate enough to get advice from him from time to time when I see him. So I am taking his example to help guide me to be a better wrestler, actor, and overall entertainer.

Are there any other comic book characters you could see yourself playing? If you had a choice, out of all of them, who would it be?

Many people have said that I would be good for Luke Cage, but being a fan of the comic, I would have to disagree. I am more of a villain rather than a hero in the world of Luke Cage. I could see myself playing other roles, but they would have to utilize my size and ability. I am a big guy, but I’m fast and agile, and a pretty good dancer too.

Your clearly in peak physical condition and your size and agility would certainly be a benefit to any action role. How important do you think it is for that element of realism to feature in a film like Conan? Do you think its more important to focus on the acting and drama, or that all that should take second place in an action orientated film?

In this Conan, as in others, nothing should be left out. It has to have the drama and the passion that made older fans fall in love with it, and the action and excitement that will make new fans sit on the edge of their seat.

Another thing that has cropped up on our forums is the race issue with the characters. In the case of Conan, who was originally written as being Caucasian, and is being portrayed by Jason Momoa who is Hawaiian. Some don't see it as a big deal, some think the character should be portrayed as he was written/drawn on the page. Whats your take on it?

I for one think that people who make movies and cast for characters have a good sense of what they want in a film. I’ve gotten a chance to meet Jason Momoa, and the pictures of him circulating online don’t do him justice. He’s cut his dreads, and bulked up to a good, decent size, and looks like he’s ready to kick ass and take names on the big screen.

Thanks very much for taking the time to do the interview Shad, best of look both in the ring and on the screen.

Here's Shad in action:
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