Former WWE wrestler and Australian actor Nathan Jones will be making his debut in Bollywood with Remo D’Souza’s superhero movie, A Flying Jatt. He plays a super villain who is taking on Tiger Shroff’s superhero, Flying Jatt. You saw him last in Mad Max: Fury Road as Rictus Erectus.
In an exclusive conversation with the IndianExpress.com, Nathan talks about the difference between shooting for a Bollywood and Hollywood movie, his friend Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and how WWE helped him evolve as an actor and how he enjoyed working in Bollywood during his stay in India.
Tell us something about your super villain character in the film
I think I am like a classic super villain. I am narcissistic, I like money, I like power. At first I don’t have any superpowers. And once I develop them, I become obsessed with my own superpowers and want to be in control. And it overwhelms my personality.
How did you land your role in A Flying Jatt
I was in Thailand and got a call from the team. When I heard the role and the script, I thought it was perfect for me and great for my career. It’s really utilizing what I have and I think the kids are going to love it. It’s a great kind of confrontation and the size difference. And you know it had all the right ingredients. For a movie, it’s really going to appeal the kids with a great message. It’s not just about senseless violence like we see in all the movies today. It has great substance.
Tell us about your experience in Bollywood
For me it was the first time in India. It was a pleasant experience, very professional and efficient. And I got to know everybody on the sets and it was just like watching your face in a river. I felt very secure. The director, he is a lovely man. He listens to everybody. I think he’s a humanist in the way he obeys. He’s a sensitive person. So it was a pleasure working with him. And Tiger, he’s very disciplined, he has a good head on his shoulders and again he’s very professional. He made my job easy. You know like I had to work a lot as acting in this film was very hard and I had to make him look strong enough that he could beat me (laughs) you know. So because of his talent, his acting and everything, he brought the whole package that made my job easier. And it’s like a dance. It’s good fight choreography. It’s not much different from dance choreography and Remo was a very good choice to direct this movie.
How did you prepare for your role
I think my whole life I was preparing for this role (Laughs). From wrestling, from all the movies like you have seen me in Troy, this role seemed to be made for me. It seems that way you know. The movie sends a great positive message about what’s going on in the world.
So who takes the most of the beating in the film, you or Tiger?
I think Tiger did. I beat him to a pulp. And that’s the way how it should be (Laughs). I gotta put the heat on him that it should get people’s empathy behind him that they could feel for the character. So I am going to be vicious, I am going to be mean, I am going to be cruel, I am going to beat him down. And you know I want to break him. He’s a pretty boy. He’s going to get a few scars. I am jealous. I am jealous of his six packs.
Did you meet any Bollywood stars during your stay in India
Not really. I met Tiger’s father briefly and some of the actors on the sets. They are all brilliant actors. Some Khan I’ve heard a lot about him. He also appears on western television a lot as well. I don’t get to see much Indian television so I don’t know much going on in India what’s going on in Bollywood you know. The projects you are making with special effects and actually I am impressed with what you are doing. And you know there is also a cultural divide you know. I know I am very new to the business here but you know you make 2000 movies a year while Hollywood makes 1200. So it is probably why you are very good at what you do. You got lots of practice. Practice makes it perfect.
Dwayne Johnson has now become one of the most desirable actors in Hollywood. As a former WWE wrestler, do you idolize him as an actor?
Yeah, he’s a nice guy. We have a spent some time together. When I first met him he said please don’t hurt me (Laughs). He had to wrestle me in the ring but it was pleasure to be around him. In the group of wrestlers, two of my favorite guys are Stone Cold and Dwayne. They are playful, they like to kid like me, some of the other wrestlers were too serious for me. You know he’s a rock star. I don’t get why Dwayne get out of wresting and became an actor. You know when I met him he didn’t really came across a guy who is in that lifestyle. I think I have seen a lot of transition from one thing to another. He was bit like me with a body, family and kids, one-girl guy.
How was your experience working with Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron in Mad Max Fury Road
I had an awesome experience. We have spent like nine months in Libya in the desert. It was very tough moment there. It was very cold in the morning like 3-4 degrees. I was freezing. I am wearing next to nothing and yet acting like I am not cold at all. It would be six degrees in the morning and 40 during the day. We would be driving along at 100 miles/hour and then you get back to the sets and everyone is like free the jacket. But it was still a pleasure to be in the movie. It was quite a memorable experience.
The face-off between you and Tiger is closely related to Superman and General Zod in the Superman movie
I have heard people say it is a combination of Superman and Hancock. But I think they are very different. The movie has a bit of everything — aspects of Hancock, Spider-man and Superman. Actually it’s a full movie. It has lot of dimensions. It is much like a rollercoaster ride for the kids to watch. You get to watch action, underwater fights, romance, comedy and how to live together.
How different was it shooting a film for Bollywood from Hollywood
Hollywood works a bit slower and it’s a little bit more than Bollywood. But both industries are different but still the same in a way. The speed at which things work here are more efficient and the budget is not as high. They have the luxury to waste time, make mistakes and come back and clean it all up. It also depends on the director’s vision. Some directors they keep on changing their minds. He will not go in for trial and error as he has his own mind. This is what I liked about Remo. He listens to everybody. He’s gathering information; he’s storing everything in his head and creating a vision. Over there are some directors who don’t listen to anybody and end up falling on their faces every time.
Are you willing to work in Bollywood in the future
Yeah, if the offer comes long enough, I think it will be a pleasure. I had a great time. It’s wonderful.