WWE superstar The Miz is a busy man these days. Not only does he have a full schedule being a WWE superstar, but Mike “The Miz” Mizanin is also shooting the second season of Miz & Mrs., and his new hit movie, The Marine 6: Close Quarters, was just released on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital. This is the fourth Marine film where The Miz has portrayed Jake Carter, and it’s arguably the best one yet.
Directed by James Nunn, The Marine 6 finds Jake joining forces with Luke Trapper (Shawn Michaels) to rescue a kidnapped girl, Sarah Dillon (Louisa Connolly-Burnham), from a gang of international criminals, headed by Maddy Hayes (Becky Lynch). The film has a great balance of humor, action, and suspense, and also a twist at the end that most fans won’t see coming. If you’re into action movies with some clever one-liners, then The Marine 6 is for you.
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with The Miz, and we talked about the inspiration of his Jake Carter character, what it was like working with Shawn Michaels, what makes Miz & Mrs. standout from other reality television shows, and what it’s like to wrestle in a Big Four pay-per-view like Survivor Series.
Carter Lee: Hey, Miz. How are you, sir?
Mike Mizanin: Hey, Carter. I’m doing phenomenal man. I’ve got a movie coming out. I got WWE. I got a little SmackDown Live tonight. Can’t beat it.
CL: Awesome! I’ve watched The Marine 6 twice over the last two days.
MM: Why? Because you liked it so much or because you needed more questions?
CL: [Laughing] I really enjoyed it, but yeah, needed more questions. I’ve seen all the Marines, and you’ve really made this your franchise, starring in four of the six movies. How does it feel to complete your fourth film as Jake Carter?
MM: Reading the script before we even started production or anything, I knew this one was going to be very special. Not only do we bring in Shawn Michaels, HBK, as kind of my partner in crime, but bringing Becky Lynch, who is the hottest superstar in all the WWE right now, I knew this was going to be something special. Then reading the script I was like, ‘Oh, man, we really gotta do this one good.’ It was fun. I was nervous. I was excited. It was just one of those situations where you just really want to do your best, as I always do, but this one was very, very special to me, and I really wanted to hone in and make it special for the audience as well.
CL: Well, I think you definitely did that. I’ve never enjoyed a Marine film more than this one, and I really think you did a great job. Congrats to everyone.
MM: Oh, wow, thanks man.
CL: My pleasure. I noticed in this film that there seems to be more humor than the other ones. You seem to have this natural chemistry with Shawn Michaels. I talked with Shawn earlier this morning, and he really attributed that to you and said that you were a great leader for everyone. The movie is still action packed, but I felt that the utilization of more humor really added to this one.
MM: All of the Marine movies that I’ve done, there’s always a bit of humor. Reading this script, I was like, ‘That’s funny. Okay, that’s pretty funny. That’s good. Okay, great, this will be right on par with all the other Marines.’ Kind of, action packed with a little one-liner here and there, and a lot of action and fun. But then, we get on set. To see what Shawn Michaels does with the Luke Trapper character.
You have to understand, to be in anything, whether it’s a WWE ring or onset, Shawn Michaels has an immense amount of charisma. He says that I made it easy for him, he made it easy for everyone. Not only that, but Luke Trapper on the page is funny, but when Shawn does it, you’re laughing out loud. The entire time on set, we just couldn’t stop cracking up. We had fun, we had an incredible time.
I think just bringing in Shawn Michaels is what brought the funny to this one. In the film, you don’t even see how funny Shawn really is because they had to take a lot of it out or else the genre would have changed. We would have been making, like, Lethal Weapon instead of Die Hard, which is kind of the realm of what they have been. We’ve always done a Die Hard kind of theme, and now bringing Shawn in, it’s more like a Lethal Weapon. He is just so incredibly funny. So yeah, trust me, we absolutely saw it right from the get go when Shawn brought that Luke Trapper character in, like we have something special here.
CL: That’s great. I really thought you all shined. I spoke with Becky Lynch just a few minutes ago and she said that this took about 21 days to shoot. That seems really fast.
MM: That is correct. Each film has usually taken about 21 days. I think Marine 5 was 19. I mean, it’s a nonstop fast shoot, and it was very grueling, but it was fun. Anytime you can make a movie and be elite in a movie, that’s just what it’s all about.
CL: You’ve always given Jake depth, and in this one even more so. What or who was your inspiration for this character? I’ve watched a lot of your films, and I feel like Jake Carter has been the character that you’ve really owned the most.
MM: When I first started with the Marine franchise, Scott Wiper was my director. I had taken some acting classes, improv classes, but now I was a lead in a movie, so I had to really hone-in the craft. Scott Wiper is a very method type of director, like he likes his actors to go into it and really be that character. So, the first time I played Jake Carter, I wouldn’t call it method because I don’t even think I would know what method is, but it’s as close to method as I’ve ever been.
When going into this theme, I trained with a lot of armed forces. How does a marine look, walk, talk? Why is he doing certain things in this movie and every movie? I always look at it like that, but I also watch other movies. Scott really helped me with this— In WWE we have to be big. We have to play for the last person in the last row of the arena. When you go into a movie, it’s very small. The smallest little glimpse of an eye can be captured. So, I had to really tone down just me, in general, as an actor, and that sometimes is very difficult to do. A lot of people from Broadway have a hard time going into movies and TV because it’s just so small— So, I watched a lot of movies, and Scott gave me a lot of movies, like The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.
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Its a rough job but I love being #JakeCarter. The director of Marine 3: Homefront, Scott Wiper, always said #JakeCarter was simply "Mike From Parma". He would call me MFP. He gave me classic films like The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly, Dirty Harry, Cool Hand Luke, and Die Hard to study. He'd send long emails telling me what to watch and why these guys were so good. We would spend hours talking about the films then dissect the character of Jake Carter in finding who he is and what he wants. One thing was for sure we didn't want the audience to see The Miz. We wanted them to see Jake Carter. And after all the talks we figured out that Jake Carter was simply MFP. I can't tell you how proud I am of being able to reprise this role again. Thank you Scott Wiper for putting in the time to allow me to feel ready and confident the first time I ever stepped on set as Jake Carter back in 2012. Now, 5 years later, I can't wait for everyone to see Jake Carter in The Marine 5: Battleground out on digital HD March 28 and Blu-ray April 25
He would write notes and tell me, ‘Watch Clint Eastwood walk into a room. What does he do? Why is he so captivating?’ I would ask myself these things, and he has an aura about him and doesn’t need to do much to be captivating. Then I went into Paul Newman movies, Cool Hand Luke. Why is Paul Newman so cool? What makes him so likable and so interesting and intriguing? Because I’ve always played a bad guy, and now I’m playing a good guy, and Cool Hand Luke is the coolest of the cool. Then you watch Bruce Willis and how he makes a whole new different type of flavor.
I took all these different characters from all these different classic movies, great movies, and I kind of combined them and made Jake Carter. What Scott and I developed was Mike from Parma. Mike from Parma is just a guy from Parma, Ohio, that did everything he had to do to get to where he needed to be, and that’s Jake Carter. Then take all the stuff I learned from training with the marines and armed forces, along with going to Tribute to the Troops. I was overseas. I’ve been to Iraq, I’ve been to Afghanistan, never fighting like the heroes over there, but I got to actually learn and see what they go through each and every time they’re out there.
Now, with each movie, 3, 4, 5 and 6, Jake Carter needs to evolve. He can’t be just the same average, everyday character, so that’s another thing, always evolving Jake Carter. Where’s he been? Why is he the way he is? And that’s kind of where I lead to Marine 6. [Laughing] Sorry for the long answer but it was a loaded question.
CL: [Laughing] That’s what I’m here for. I do appreciate the subtle nuances that you have given Jake over the last four movies, and I feel like that he is a little different each time we have seen him.
MM: Thank you. I really do try to hone my craft as an actor and give the audience something to root for. Especially if you’re playing a marine, you’re playing someone who has given the ultimate sacrifice. We don’t know the life they live. I went over on a USO tour last Christmas with a lot of people, and it was absolutely incredible to see these heroes are over there during Christmas away from their family. They don’t get to see the birth of their child, some of them, and it’s just an incredible thing, an incredible sacrifice, and these are the people I’m paying tribute to in this movie. And I’m no hero. I’m not a marine. I’ve never been in the armed forces. So, as much as I can be true to a real life marine, I will do that.
CL: That’s awesome. I think you did a great job with it.
MM: Thank you.
CL: I know you only got a couple minutes left here. Do you have anything next on your plate, as far as acting goes.
MM: Right now, I’m so busy with WWE and our hit show Miz & Mrs. on the USA Network. Maryse and I are so incredibly busy with everything that we’ve been doing. I have this movie coming out, we’ve been shooting the second season of Miz& Mrs., as well as team captain of the Survivor Series team. There’s a lot of things going on, but I’m always up for an incredible script, so the next time I see an amazing script, I’m going to get in there and hone my craft even more.
CL: Right on! You know, I really liked Miz & Mrs. I’ll be honest, reality TV just isn’t my thing. But I decided to give it a chance and watched it with my fiancé, as it seemed like it may be a good couple show, and we really enjoyed it. That’s really rare for me to enjoy reality TV. Nothing against the genre, it’s just not my thing typically, but this seems a bit different from other reality shows. We actually binge-watched it because we got into it a bit late.
MM: Thank you. When we set out to do the show, we wanted to create something that people really haven’t seen yet. We knew it was going to be reality, we knew it was going to be about us, but we wanted to do it our way. We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, but we wanted to make a shiny new one that’s different, that’s interesting. I was on the Real World and the challenges, and with Maryse being on Total Divas, we kind of took all the things we liked about doing a reality show and then basically said, ‘Let’s make this our own.’ My hope is that people like it so much that maybe we win an Emmy. You never know.
CL: I would love to see that happen. In regard to the pay-per-view, Survivor Series is part of the Big Four. Obviously, this isn’t your first Survivor Series, but is there a different feeling when you’re going to perform at a Big Four pay-per-view?
MM: It all depends on the audience. Whenever it’s the Big Fours, there’s a certain type of electricity that the audience feels, and when the audience has that electricity, it makes it so much better for the show. So, that’s why we’re excited because we’re excited for the fans. We’re excited to hear the audience boo who they hate, cheer who they love, and really just get into it. That’s really what it’s all about.
CL: Well, I know you have to run, unless there is something you would like to add.
MM: I just want to say thank you very much for the interview. I appreciate you guys allowing me to talk about The Marine 6, Miz & Mrs., and the WWE. So, I appreciate it. Thanks for the interview.
CL: I appreciate. Thank you. Enjoy your day and have a good show tonight.
MM: Thank you. Enjoy your day.