Diamond Dallas Page ('Driftwood')
'A True Diamond In The Rough'
Directed and co-written by Tim Sullivan ('2001 Maniacs'), 'Driftwood' stars some of the hottest young talent working in Hollywood today, including Raviv Ullman (Disney Channel’s “Phil of the Future”), Talan Torriero (MTV’s “Laguna Beach”), Cory Hardrict (“Lincoln Heights”), along with World Champion Wrestler turned actor Diamond Dallas Page (Devils Rejects).
Chatting recently to World Champion Wrestler turned actor Diamond Dallas Page, and being that his character - the sadistic Captain Doug Kennedy - runs the "Attitude Adjustment Camp for Troubled Youths" in the film, I first wondered why he'd taken the role and how much of the real DDP had he put into the creation of the character?! DDP "Well, let me tell you. I went to Howard Fine's Acting Studio here in Los Angeles. Howard was voted as the number one acting coach by all the actors. And I was fortunate enough to go to his school. And Howard and I hit it off like best friends. He's a big wrestling fan so we really jived. And he taught me so much over a three and a half year period that I was with him. I could never have done this role as the Captain without having had that background. Without having had that education of how to define an actor and how to develop a character bio."
"So there are little pieces of me in the Captain because you always bring yourself to every role. But there was a lot of back story that I wrote into this. There was only thirty pages written of that script when I got the role. When I met with Tim Sullivan I was coming in for the role of Norris. And two and a half hours later - after we'd talked about my books 'Positively Page' and 'Yoga For Regular Guys' - the next day he called me up and told me that I wasn't right for the role of Norris ... and that he wanted me to play the Captain."
"Remember, there was only thirty pages written at that time, Bro and there was that whole opening scene where I knew there was going to be a lot of dialogue. So I asked him if he was sure, as I'd never done a role anywhere this big. And he said that after spending two and a half hours with me, getting to know me and my work ethic that he knew I could do it. I would never have even tried to take on a role that big at that time. It was just all in the stars ... the way they lined up."
Didn't you also get to write a little into the script? "When they were writing the script I had sent them my character bio - which was three pages. I wanted to know if that was how they saw this guy. And Chris Kobin called me up and said, 'You are a great writer. Can we use some of this?' And I was like, 'Seriously?!' You gotta remember dude that I was reading at a third grade level at the age of thirty. I grew up with ADD and dyslexia. So, for someone to say that I was a great writer who I consider by reading some of his stuff a real great writer, I was like, 'I am?!'"
So just what element of DDP found its way into the character of the Captain? "Well, I came from a broken family. My dad dropped me off at my grandmothers when I was eight years old. He was a good guy but back then he couldn't even spell the word father let alone be one. So I just took my life up until that point, bouncing around like a pin ball and then put it into the Captain's world. And in the Captain's world he did stay with his father, but his father was just a motherf**ker," he laughs long and loud."
"It's like dad's take their sons hunting and fishing. Well, in my back story this guy took the Captain into the back woods to go hunting ... and then left him there. Because he wanted to teach him survival techniques. It took him twelve days to get home," he laughs. "And then I put him directly into the Marines as a hard headed, jar head Marine. And there was this fat, out of shape, overweight drill sergeant who was this real ball buster to the Captain back then. And so he ended up beating him to death with a baseball bat. I needed to be able to justify him acting the way he did."
"And so when Howard [Fine] watched the film with me he was so proud. He looked at me and said, 'Dallas. The most beautiful thing about this piece is that you never judge the Captain.' What I learned in class was that you gotta trust that you put the work in. And I obviously put so much work into that role. I just want this movie to be seen."
How long was the shoot and how much did it cost? "We shot this movie in just 15 days in October of 2005. It cost a million and one, came in under budget and we shot it in 15 days ... and got those performances. It was crazy. And that place where we filmed it. Boy, you could never have picked a better place than that. For grabbing ambiance, forget about it," he laughs.
Who discovered it? "Tim [Sullivan] had heard about it though a friend of his. It was actually a children's prison. From ages 11 to 17 ... for 98 years it was actually a prison. And all the stuff you saw, from the bicycles stacked up to the sh*t on the windows, everything was real. The only set design was the hole that Raviv went in to."
"There were so many kids there that died, but what was really so eerie was that when we walked through the doctor's office when we first got there there were books and journals everywhere. It was like everybody had suddenly gotten up and left at the same time. Everything was kinda just left here. It was as eerie a place as I've ever been to."
Are there eerie things in real life that get to you also? "Sure, the first time I watched 'The Ring.' I let my imagination go just enough that you go, 'Ooh, that's disturbing. Could that happen?' That's the kind of stuff that if I'm watching it late at night and I hear something, I make sure my old lady's up," he laughs. "Something like 'Devil's Rejects' is totally disturbing ... and I was in it," he laughs heartily.
On the DVD special features there's a segment where you can't stop cracking up at a BBQ alongside Raviv! "Oh my God. I think it was because it was like five in the morning and it was the line, 'Go up there and spend the night with my little girl' that ...," he breaks down laughing again. "It was when I put my arm around him. It was almost like one of those ventriloquist dummies. We just burst man. It was so funny."
What have you been up to today? "I was just at Warner Bros. for a big meeting for my Infomercial. If you check out my site YRGworkout.com, you'll see what I'm talking about. And so I just had this huge meeting with them to do my Infomercial. How cool would that be?"
That would be great, but please do tell us more about your Yoga For Guys DVDs and such "I call it the YRG Workout - which is Yoga for Regular Guys ... and Gals! I only call it YRG. I don't even call it yoga. Because I was the guy who wouldn't be caught dead doing yoga the first 42 years of my life. I was a meat head," he laughs. "And then, at 42 years old in 1999 I ruptured my L4 and L5 in the lower part of my back. I had three different guys tell me my wrestling career was over."
"So at the time my wife was Kimberly and she told me to try and do yoga to try and heal my body. I was like f**k that crap! I ain't doin' that sh*t! That's not for guys! And, as it turned out I didn't have a choice. I had to try something, because at home at night I was a cripple practically. So I just started doing power yoga and as time went on in three weeks I started getting my flexibility and strength back. And then in less than three months, Bro I was back in the ring. At 42 they said my wrestling career was over. At 43 I was Heavyweight Champion of the World!"
"So, as with everything I do I try and make it my own. I may have taken things from certain people but I make it my own. And what I did with YRG was I took a piece of power yoga and I mixed it with old school calisthenics like pushups, squats, crunches. And what it does is build up your core strength. But not just in your core, but in your chest and your arms and everywhere. I then added to that Isometric's and Isokinetic's. And what that means is that you begin engaging your muscles. Like flexing your quads and your gluts. I always tell the guys to pretend they're in the joint," he laughs. "You take your arms and hands and move them like you're creating your own resistance. It's called Dynamic Tension. The bottom line is I put all this sh*t together and put a heart monitor on you. And if you go to YRGworkout.com you will see an unbelievable amount of regular guys - but I've got chicks too - doing one of my exercise programs."
Do you stay in touch with any of these people that sign up to be part of your programs online? "Yes, everybody that buys my DVD gets an email from me at some point. I thank them for coming on board, that I'd love to have their feedback, and then I ask them a few questions."
Would you ever consider taking part in a reality TV show? "I've already been offered three reality shows. And I won't do them as it's not about what I feel and what I want. They just want me to do something stupid in the beginning ... and I've worked way too hard to be a legitimate actor to go do a reality show that's gonna make me look stupid. I'm only gonna do something that helps people and is positive. And if that doesn't work then we won't do it."
"I call it positive bullsh*t out here. It's all positive," he laughs, "but it's bullsh*t till it's totally done."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
'Driftwood' DVD Purchase Link
'Driftwood' Video Stream
'YRG Workout' DVD Purchase Link
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