Ronda Rousey has stepped into different shoes throughout the years, she’s been a UFC champion, a judo Olympic medal winner and recently one of the biggest stars in the WWE.
In May, at the NBCUniversal Upfronts presentation, among a slew of new shows announced, it was Ronda Rousey who commanded the stage at Radio City Music Hall, as she rose up from the stage in the center of a wrestling ring with the stars of the WWE. Her strength and authenticity perked up sleepy advertisers, and it’s that same combination which makes her a star to watch on the big screen.
In “Mile 22,” opening Friday, Rousey stars as Sam Snow, a CIA operative and part of a unit headed up by Mark Wahlberg’s James Silva. Throughout the film, the team is tasked with transferring a police officer out of the country in exchange for top secret information.
amNewYork spoke to Rousey about working with Wahlberg and her superstar turn in the WWE.
Given the WWE’s huge platform, how does it feel to be such an empowering figure to women and girls?
It feels like a lot of pressure sometimes, but I figure I’m doing the best that I can do.
It seems like in 2014 you kept the door open to join the WWE. When did you really know it was time to fully embrace this part of your career?
My husband and I were talking about having kids and we were getting really serious about it. We were thinking about what we wanted to do before we had kids. So, I had thought about what it was that I had unfinished and I had always wanted to wrestle. I thought it was something I could be great at but never had time for. So, I thought there was no time like the present and I completely fell head over heels in love with the WWE. It’s going to be very difficult to walk away now, for sure.
How instrumental has it been to have Natalya by your side on “Raw” and behind the scenes?
I’ve known Nattie years before I started wrestling. She teaches me so much technically, obviously but I was coming into a new environment, I was nervous and felt like the new kid in school. She really went out of her way to make me feel welcome and comfortable and part of the family. She’s been amazing since day one and I’m so lucky to have her as a friend.
How is it entering in the ring as opposed to being on the set of “Mile 22”?
WWE is live and you only get one shot. So a huge fight scene in “Mile 22,” which is a couple of minutes long took six weeks of rehearsals to get that one shot. So, imagine that you have a fight scene that long with that many moving parts and people but you have to choreograph it that day, memorize dialogue for before and after [the fight]. WWE almost seems like Broadway with stunts.
Mark Wahlberg is at the top of his game, how is it working with him?
Mark was amazing. He’s an example of mastery because he would walk on the set every single day and do everything backward, forward and sideways and still be able to improvise in any given second. He and [director] Pete [Berg] were so in sync and were well aware of how to bring the best out of each other. Mark really set the tone for that [environment] and everybody came in prepared because that’s how he was.
How was it to be involved in all of those high action scenes? That must have been exciting.
Yeah, “Mile 22” was an awesome time. I love learning any new skill. I was obsessed with the tactical training, like how to move in between the gear, the different styles as far as being able to clear different buildings and environments, and how it changes depending on the people you have with you. You’re also acting, so you have to remember all of that training, but you have to make sure when you go from here to there, that your trigger finger is on the safety. [Then] you also have to remember [how to speak] Russian. There are so many different things going on and that’s what I live for.