Interview conducted by Brett Buchanan and Mike Mazzarone
Kane is most known for being one of WWE’s longest tenured superstars, working for the company for nearly 20 years, and being one of the last active WWE wrestlers from the Attitude Era. His legendary career has been a diverse one, doing everything from wrestling The Undertaker at WrestleMania, to tombstoning Pete Rose and being one half of ‘Team Hell No’ with Daniel Bryan. Kane starred in his first film, See No Evil, in 2006, and now 8 years later he is back to reprise his role as Jacob Goodnight in See No Evil 2, set for release on VOD tomorrow, and Blu ray/DVD on Tuesday.
In this interview, Kane discusses his favorite horror characters, the possibility of a Kane origins film, his thoughts on Triple H’s leadership abilities, Daniel Bryan’s injury, a potential match with Sting, and his long list of travel partners over the years.
Who are some of your favorite horror characters and horror films in general, and how have they influenced how you portray Jacob Goodnight?
My favorite movie of all time is Silence of the Lambs. Of course Hannibal Lector I think is the greatest movie monster ever, whereas the other serial killers are just running around killing people, Hannibal is smarter than the rest of us, and that’s what makes him particularly terrifying. Also the first Halloween I thought was really well done, John Carpenter is a brilliant director. I really enjoyed the Nightmare on Elm Street series, because Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger was different, because you have the wisecracking monster.
I don’t know if any of them influenced my character Jacob Goodnight, because Jacob’s a little bit different, he’s like a hybrid. On the one hand he’s the large imposing Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, type of guy, but on the other hand he’s driven by different motivations than they are. He’s more of a real human being that has emotions, and has internal conflicts, and that sort of stuff. He is a little bit of the Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees physically, but when it comes to the other stuff, I just had to rely on my own.
How much influence has Vince McMahon had on the See No Evil films, and have you ever discussed movies with Vince, and his vision for WWE films?
Talking about the original See No Evil, because of course that was WWE Studios’ first movie, we talked about that one more than we did this one. Vince has hired Michael Luici, Michael is a veteran in the film industry, and Michael I think has a really great vision for WWE Studios. Basically we do 15 day shoots, and concentrate on the genres that we know we’re going to be successful in, Vince of course is part of that as well. I would say that’s sort of the overall vision of WWE Studios moving forward. We’ve had some really great hits with The Call, the first See No Evil of course was commercially successful, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re going to do in the future as well.
What would you envision happening in a Kane origins movie? What backstories that we’ve seen discussed on TV over the years do you think would be shown in a film like that?
That actually would be quite interesting, wouldn’t it? Because the thing that made Kane so unique, and such a great character in WWE, is that he does have a backstory that’s unique to him. He’s a character within sort of the WWE Universe, and he’s a clearly defined character. So yeah, that would be really cool, because you could get into the whole history of what happened with Kane and The Undertaker as kids, so that would be interesting.
You’ve talked quite a bit about your Libertarian views, endorsing Ron Paul in the last two elections. It was reported a few months ago that you were pursued to run in the Republican Senate primary in Tennessee, do you think you will ever run for office like fellow wrestling personalities Linda McMahon and Jesse Ventura have before you?
I don’t know (laughs). Politics is a very dirty, and rough business, and I don’t know if I’m cut out for it, so I really don’t know. That whole deal was more other people trying to talk me into it, than me wanting to pursue it on my own. But nevertheless, I don’t know in the future what’s going to happen.
Who have you enjoyed working with the most backstage when it comes to developing your character over the years, especially when it’s come to major character changes like the introduction of Kane, to going half masked, going unmasked, Corporate Kane, and so on.
There’s been a lot of people, and that’s one of the great things about WWE, everything’s a collaboration, and everyone has really good ideas, I don’t know if I can pinpoint one person. I think one of the big breaks of course from where I’d been before, was doing the Team Hell No stuff with Daniel Bryan. I really enjoyed that, and really liked working with him for that reason. Then of course The Undertaker has been extremely influential on my career, and helped me out a lot. He’s given me a lot of advice, a lot of the things you see on screen are actually his influences. But really it all boiled down to Vince, Vince is the guy that has the ideas, and puts them into motion, and we’re tasked with carrying it out. But overall I’d have to say that it really is a team effort, everything is.
As Triple H has taken more of a leadership role in WWE, what have you thought of some of his initiatives like NXT, and did you ever think when you met him nearly 20 years ago that he would someday lead WWE?
He’s done a tremendous job with the Performance Center in Orlando, and with NXT. They have a great product, the guys that are coming out of there are really great. I was just thinking about that the other day, you could always tell there was something special about him. Certainly he knows the wrestling business like no one else, he’s got a fabulous mind. When you’re talking about people I’ve worked with who have influenced me as far as character development, he’s one of them. I don’t know which is more surprising, the fact that he’s in the role that he’s in, or that I’m still here in WWE 20 years later.
What was your and Undertaker’s process when it came to putting your matches together? Kurt Angle recently told us that when he worked with some of his key rivals half of the match would be structured, with the other half being improvised. What are your memories of working with Undertaker?
A lot of it is improvised, because you’ve got two guys who go out there and do it like that. I think that’s the best match actually, because you can gauge the audience, understand what they want, and go forward from there. A lot of it depends on what the venue is, because if it’s TV product, it’s a little different. I’d say that the chemistry between Undertaker and I, we gelled really well, I’d say that’s the most important thing, the fact that we were on the same wavelength regardless of how we were doing a match together.
Many fans have speculated about a possible Sting/Undertaker match, but how would you feel about having a match and feud with Sting?
(Laughs) That would be a dream come true, because Sting is one of the guy who I looked up to when I was a youngster. The dude was the face of WCW, and before that the NWA, one of the most popular wrestlers in history. That would be pretty awesome, and I think that a Sting vs. Undertaker story would be awesome as well, because you would see the faces of two different companies from the same generation collide.
You’ve been in the WWE for 19 years, can you recall who you have traveled with over the years, and who some of your favorites were?
(Laughs) Yeah I’ve traveled with a lot of different guys. When I first started, I traveled with Barry Horowitz, many folks may not know who Barry is, but at the time they were doing a storyline where Barry finally won a match after not winning one in years. Then I traveled with Zeb Colter for a long time, I owe a lot of my career to him. He got me a break in Puerto Rico when he was booking, and when he came to WWE as Uncle Zeb, we traveled together. Traveled with Al Snow for awhile, from our days in Smoky Mountain Wrestling together as tag team partners. Then for awhile we had this crew, it was myself, D’lo Brown, Mark Henry, and The Rock, in a minivan, or some variation of those 4 guys. I traveled with Mick Foley for awhile, and I’ve also traveled a lot with Goldust.
You’ve had some unforgettable character moments in WWE history like setting JR on fire, tombstoning Pete Rose, the wedding with Lita and the miscarriage with Snitsky, the Dr. Shelby segment, and many more. Out of your more comedic moments, which ones have been your favorites, and been the most fun?
The anger management stuff with Daniel Bryan, and also the wedding with Lita, although it wasn’t necessarily comedic, it sort of was, I think it was one of those immortal moments.
What were some of your favorite memories from working with Daniel Bryan, and did you know he was having injury issues when you wrestled him at Extreme Rules?
As a tag team, what was great about Daniel was the fact that we had such a contrast, we could do the Yes and No stuff, we could always do different stuff, and it worked. It was just so unique because you had two guys that were polar opposites and we would win matches by actually stepping on each other and doing that sort of stuff. It was really awesome, just some of the non-televised events, we would just go out there and have fun, and it was great.
I didn’t know the extent of his injury going into Extreme Rules, because he had sort of being dealing with that for awhile. He had some less invasive procedures to try to deal with it. It was just unfortunate, because that was the worst possible time that it could have happened for him, and I can’t wait for him to get back and be at full strength again.
Check out our recent interviews with Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Jeff Hardy, Randy Couture, Eric Bischoff, and Hornswoggle in our Sports section.
Also check out our interviews with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Brett Dalton, The Flash’s Rick Cosnett, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Jonathan Frakes, and Arrow’s John Barrowman in our Film & TV section.