Most people who achieve great things are going to get their ass kicked and taste failure along the way – I certainly have. You just keep going. You just keep getting back up. Have faith in life, because sometimes the one thing we want [most dearly] to happen is the best thing that never happens.
People pay to be entertained, and [whether you’re a wrestler or an actor] that’s what you have to deliver. The acting journey is different from the wrestling field, but the premise is the same, and that is to entertain.
People have their opinions on wrestling and that’s fine. But let me tell you that the sweat is real, the blood is real, the pain is real, and you give it your everything. I [still] do that now. Whether it’s making movies or with my family, I give it my best.
“Be hungry, be humble and always make sure you are the hardest-working person in the room”
Working on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a big deal. Everybody knew they wanted to get it right and honour the memory of Robin Williams. He was a guy who spent his career making people laugh, and to get the [positive] reviews we did was important.
Be hungry, be humble and always make sure you are the hardest-working person in the room.
I always stay in shape regardless of what role I have coming up. There were some long days [filming Skyscraper] and we had to reshoot a lot of intense running and jumping scenes. I got my cardio workout done no problem!
I’ve been open about my battle with depression [so that others dealing with mental illness] realise that they don’t need to face things alone – that’s always half the battle. Nobody needs to suffer in silence.
[My partner] Lauren and my children are my everything. Every parent is going to have different ideas and different methods, but lead with love. That’s the main thing. Everything else you can work out along the way – just let them know that they are loved unconditionally.
I will absolutely pass on my Samoan heritage [and culture to my children]. The Samoan culture is full of incredible influences and beauty.
Miami is where I go to get away from it all. I know it might not be the quietest place in the world, but I love everything about the city. When I am in Miami, I feel like that kid playing college football again.
Vancouver is a place that holds a lot of sentiment. It’s not only a beautiful city, but it means a lot. When I was 22, I was cut from the Canadian Football League [in Vancouver] and sent home with seven bucks in my pocket. Since then, I have wrestled some of my greatest matches and shot some of my favourite movies there. It’s a city that reminds me that when you get your ass kicked, you get back up.
This article was originally published in the July 2018 issue of SilverKris magazine.