By Mike Mooneyham
May 14, 2006
Glen Jacobs, who as “The Big Red Machine” Kane has been one of pro wrestling’s most enduring characters over the past decade, hopes to take another menacing alter ego to the big screen with his feature role in the horror flick “See No Evil.”
The movie, which opens May 19, stars Jacobs as a reclusive psychopath living in a long-abandoned hotel. When a group of juvenile delinquents are sent to clean the hotel for punishment, they get more than a slap on the wrist from the hulking killer.
The role of Jacob Goodnight, says the WWE star, was a perfect fit, and entering the horror arena was a natural progression. “He’s a lot like Kane,” says Jacobs. “He doesn’t speak often, but when he does, you better listen.” .
The only difference, he jokes, is that in WWE he “beats them up,” while in the movie he “takes care of them permanently.” .Jacobs, a longtime fan himself of the horror film genre, hopes his chain-swinging character will become a part of pop culture on the level of movie maniacs Michael Myers (“Halloween”), Jason Voorhees (“Friday the 13th”) and Freddy Kruger (“Nightmare on Elm Street”). .
“The character is an interesting one. Freddy Kruger is sort of like the Jerry Lawler or Triple H of movie monsters,” says Jacobs. “They always have a comeback for everything. What makes Jacob interesting is that he’s actually a human being and he has emotional depth. Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers and Freddy Kruger are killing machines and that’s pretty much it, whereas Jacob is a human being who chooses to be a killing machine.” .
To Jacobs, that philosophical depth makes the deranged slayer even scarier and more menacing, since he knows what he’s doing and chooses to do it anyway. .
Jacobs performed all of his own stunts in the movie. But shooting a major motion picture in front of a handful of crew members was a far cry from performing live in front of thousands of WWE fans. .
“There was no comparison to the physicality of what I do in WWE. Physically it was different, but in reality it gave my body a chance to recover,” says Jacobs, who shot the film during his time recovering from injuries sustained in the ring during the fall of 2004. “Mentally I don’t think it was as challenging as what we do in WWE. You don’t have the stress of going out in front of a live audience and only having one shot to do it. The movie business isn’t nearly as stressful.” .
What Jacobs does in the wrestling ring as the monster Kane translates well to the big screen. .
“Jacob Goodnight is a natural fit for me. It’s a similar character to Kane. It was something I could relate to. Hopefully the movie, which is very good, will meet with commercial success, and I’ll have the opportunity to do more.” .
The real-life Glen Jacobs isn’t nearly as ominous as the crazed wrestler or the brutal killer he portrays. A soft-spoken Tennessean, he was born in 1967 in Madrid, Spain, but was raised near Nashville. In the 1988-89 season he set the single-season and career field goal percentage record for his basketball team at Northeast Missouri State where he also played football. .
Jacobs lucked into the Kane character after wading through several less successful personas including Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS, a protege of Jerry Lawler; the fake Diesel, who replaced Kevin Nash, the original performer who played the character; and Unabomb, a gimmick he used shortly after his pro debut in 1992. .
Jacobs, however, struck gold when he debuted in the then World Wrestling Federation in 1997 as an imposing behemoth with a dark history named Kane, the half-brother of The Undertaker (Mark Calaway), leading to a successful run that has lasted ever since. .
The Knoxville resident was approached in late 2004 by WWE owner Vince McMahon who suggested that he would be a natural for a movie that would be co-produced the company’s film division. McMahon selected former WWE writer Dan Madigan to write the script specifically for Kane. .
“See No Evil,” whose working title was “Eye Scream Man,” is the first release from WWE Films in conjunction with Lions Gate Films, the same studio which brought the pro wrestling documentary “Beyond the Mat” to theaters. .
“Vince has a big part in whatever WWE does,” says Jacobs. “It’s WWE’s first film, so we’re doing everything we can to make it a commercial success. Lions Gate did ‘Crash’ last year, and it was the movie of the year. They’re the distributors, and there’s no one better for this project. This is definitely a big step in my career.” .
The movie is directed by Gregory Dark, whose resume boasts everything from “Sex Freaks” (1996) to “Britney Spears: Greatest Hits,” and co-stars Tiffany Lamb and Matthew Okine. The fright flick’s rated R “for strong, gruesome violence and gore throughout.” .
As part of the cross-promotional effort, the current Raw storyline is that Kane is haunted by something that has or will happen on May 19, which just so happens to be the release date of the movie. The tormented soul is so paranoid about the date, that he attacks any one who says – or whom Kane thinks says – the date. .
“I think with what’s happening with Kane on TV concerning May 19th, we’re going to find out even more about Kane than we previously knew.” .
Does that mean Kane’s character might be taking on yet a harder edge? .
“Definitely so,” says Jacobs, whose mat highlights have included tombstone piledriving baseball great Pete Rose at Wrestlemania XIV and pouring kerosene on announcer Jim Ross and setting him on fire. “I don’t know about a dramatic makeover, but something should happen over the next couple of months.” .
Jacobs shrugs off his current series of matches with former partner Big Show (Paul Wight). Their feud has continued to heat up, although the bouts have been critically panned. .
“One thing that’s always been difficult with two extremely large men is that we do some of the same things,” says Jacobs, the “smaller” of the two at 6-9 and 300 pounds. “This is nothing against other guys, but I always prefer having matches with smaller opponents. It highlights my strength. Big Show and I essentially have the same strength. We’re basically both doing the same thing. It can be hard at times. Plus people liked Show and I as a team. They don’t like us fighting each other. Our team was unique. We just went out there and destroyed everybody.” .
After nearly 15 years in the business, the former WWE world champion says his body is starting to feel the effects. For a big man less than a year from the age of 40, though, it’s holding up considerably well. .
“When anyone has to do this for any significant amount of time, you’re going to get more chronic aches and pains. On the one hand, I get them from what I do in WWE. On the other hand, I keep myself in really good shape so I can compete in WWE. It’s just a tradeoff.” .
Even more grueling, says Jacobs, is the wear and tear from the nonstop grind of traveling from town to town.
“I’ve found our travel schedule affects me more than the stuff in the ring. That’s the fun part. The travel is the actual work.” .
Jacobs says he has yet to set a time frame on how long he might continue to compete in the business. .
“It just depends. I don’t have any set time,” says Jacobs. “As long as I can go and am personally satisfied, I’m good. I’ve tried to invest wisely, so when that day does come, I won’t be under any great pressure to make those decisions.” .
– Midget wrestling returns to The Joe on May 16 on a Harris Teeter “Two For Tuesday” featuring a two-for-one ticket special. The program, courtesy of WTAT-TV and Q104.5, will take place on the concourse and will follow the 7:05 p.m. game between the Charleston RiverDogs and the Savannah Sand Gnats.
For more information or to order tickets to any RiverDogs game, call 577-DOGS (3647) or log on to www.riverdogs.com.