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October 2007
An Interview with Carl Weathers

THE COMEBACKS: An Interview with Carl Weathers
By Wilson Morales

October 18, 2007

Having achieved fame in 70s and 80s as action star through the ‘Rocky’ franchise and films such as ‘Predator’ and ‘Action Jackson’, Carl Weathers never walked away from the industry. The guys in his era are still around, but there are a few of them and some have reinvented themselves to keep up with today’s audience, which is what Weathers has done as well. In his latest film, ‘The Comebacks’, Weathers is trying his hand in the comedy genre as he plays a coach opposite comedian David Koechner in a film that spoofs other sports films of the past. This is not his first try in comedy and in speaking with blackfilm.com, Weathers talks about his character, doing comedic films, and working with David Koechner.

Can you talk about the character you play in the film?

Carl Weathers: The character is named Freddie Wiseman and Freddie is a guy who aspires to win the championship, a championship of something. He’s the assistant coach to the coach played by David Koechner, and Koechner coaches Lambeau Field and he unfortunately is the losingiest coach ever, so Freddie has his wagon hitched to a loser. He has no star on his team and Freddie finds that out from one game to one event and Freedie gets fed up and decides to leaves the guy and starts his own team, and both teams end up going head to head in the championship. Freddie is a madman in a lot of ways.

This film is a spoof of the many sports films we have seen in the past so who you resembling?

CW: don’t know if Freddie resembles anyone in particular, or any sports figure. I think he’s just a frustrated coach who can’t understand why he’s losing all the time. I think Freddie’s that person’s voice who’s finally fed up and the only way to get David’s character out of there is to beat him. He’s the voice of us all who rooted for a team, player or event that were boxed in.

I believe you came in acting after having a football career, so did this film take you back down to memory lane?

CW: I supposed it did in some ways. Once you put on the uniform again, it brings back a nostalgic feeling. I had been an actor before I was a football player. I was a theater major and played football while I was in college. That was a jeckle and hyde experience and some may even argue that when played football I was acting. It was a trip down memory lane.

This is not the first time you’ve tried your hand in comedy, so why did you take a part in this film?

CW: It was the script. I had known the director, not really well, but we had been familiar with each other. He was actually a neighbor of mine and he told me at one point that he had this script that he was working on, and would I want to be in it, and at times you never see the person again, but he actually sent me the script, and I read it and I thought it was really funny. For me, if it’s something that I really like, then there’s the possibility of saying yes. Once I got a sense of what he wanted to do and the tone told me it was the audience I wanted to reach. It was going to be a lot of fun. As of a result of doing other comedies that I’ve done, and people thought I was good in them, I was like “why not do another?” I had a good time. I like laughing. To do something that’s not mean spirited and just a lot of fun, then send me in.

How was working with David Koechner?

CW: We had a blast. It’s really often that you meet someone on a film set and you really just click. Very often what happens is people are coming from very disparate backgrounds and they are there to do the job and once the job is over, who cares if you ever see the person again. I just manage to get the sandbox with him and play well together. Even after that, when we have other stuff that we have come together for, it’s like a continuing experience. David is really a funny guy. For me, there’s a lesson in that how to do comedy. If you have something that appeals to me, then I want to be around and soak it up. He’s very generous guy in that way, so we had a blast.

Do you find it a challenge to reinvent yourself after achieving fame through the ‘Rocky’ films, ‘Predator’, and other action films?

CW: I’ve been fortunate that my focus has been, every decade, to reinvent myself. As audiences change, it’s incumbent of me as a performer to find that audience to be able to connect with that audience. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to change but I have to be aware of what audiences like and deliver a performance that the audience will warm up to. At the same time I have to stay true to what I think is good, bad or ugly, and act accordingly. I’ve been really fortunate that these projects have come along. These are things that I want to do and I like doing and capable of doing, and the audience seems to have embrace that. It’s of course a challenge, but why get up in the morning if you are not to challenge yourself and have some fun doing it.

What sort of projects are you getting now or looking at?

CW: Oddly enough, I just came back from the UK and I did another comedy for BBC that’s probably the most outrageous thing I have ever done. It’s called “Foo Action”. It is a comedy that was inspired by the cartoon artist Jimmy Hewlitt, who created the Gorillaz band that performed here at the Apollo and he created the comic strip Tank Girl and something in the UK that was huge. He and the writer went to BBC and pitched the idea and they fell for it. The Brits do that sort of humor, raunchy and all, so well. The writer of this piece was a fan of mine and they came after me and I read it and I thought it was absolutely wonderful and unbelievably funny and I gave it a go. It should out next year and I’m looking for the next piece.

What do you make of the ‘Predator’ franchise being reborn again with ‘AVP 2’ coming out? Have you seen the first ‘AVP’ film?

CW: No, I haven’t really. My own opinion, I like movies and just like anyone else who goes out there, they might enjoy science fiction and go see anything and everything. Having been a part of ‘Predator’, once that was over, it would take something special for me to say to jump onboard and say these are great films. I thought ‘Alien’ was great and I thought ‘Predator’ was great. The two of them together makes an okay but I have nothing to do with it so it’s like another man is married to a beautiful woman and is a great guy but it’s not going to make my life any better or worse. I’m just two busy worried about my beautiful woman.

With Sylvester Stallone revisiting some of hit films and doing sequels, I had read online about you not participating in ‘Rocky Balboa’ in flashbacks over a dispute of not being in the film. Can you clarify what happened?

CW: What you read online isn’t true. I wasn’t asked to be a part of the last film. The truth is that I was asked about using some of my images, but what I asked to do and what I was to receive for it was not something that I thought was reasonable.

At the end of the day, it’s business.

CW: It’s all about business, but it has nothing to do about how I feel about anyone personally. If my services are to be utilized, or my image and it’s going to be used in a way that will make someone else a lot of money, then I would like to feel that I’m being paid for that use and I didn’t think it was reasonable. That was the end of that story.

What make you motivated to stay in this game?

CW: Number one. I love what I do. I love providing images for black folk that are proactively. Something that allows me and others to look at the screen and say, ‘I can relate to that.’ That feels good. That’s always been important to me.






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