It was the UK-based wrestler-actor-stunt choreographer Greg Burridge’s first press meet in Chennai and he was enjoying every bit of it — posing for photographs and talking to journalists about his acting debut in Tamil Vedalam Sollum Kadhai. Directed by Rathindran Prasad, this fast-paced adventure travel, will see him in the role of a ‘powerful antagonist’. He will also be choreographing action sequences.
“My character is a stark contrast to my real-life persona. I am sure this will be a different kind of experience to the audience. We’re done with the first schedule of the shoot and had shot 30% of it in Rajasthan,” he smiles.
Greg debuted as an actor in Rathindran’s short film Trial of Blood, and they have known each other since. He accepted the film because of its script. “This is a movie that’ll make history. I am not saying this because I am a part of it. I found the story interesting and many aspects of it are truly historic,” he says. “The film gave me the opportunity to fuse two worlds — wrestling and acting. I want to be like
Pat Roach,” he adds.
He promises to gives us some smorgasbord action sequences, and says, “Action sequences are like dancing… timing and synchronisation has to be perfect, and it comes over a period of time.”
Greg likes Chennai and gets excited talking about namma ooru. Sipping a cuppa, he says, “I have visited India thrice but this is the first time I am coming to this city. I am already in love with the people. I was told that restaurants here make delicious chicken gravy and grilled fish.
Even normal eat-outs have great food and can whip up amazing delicacies! I want to relish some of them, before leaving.”
He knows that South Indian food extends beyond idli and dosa. He laughs, “I am diet conscious and thrive on proteins. I like spicy food, too.While traveling, I make sure I eat whatever I like.”
He likes the Tamil film industry as much as he likes Chennai. Initially, he had no intention of doing films in India, but eventually realised there’re enough opportunities around. “I follow Indian films in London whenever I have time. They are high in quality and content-driven. I like Abhay Deol — he is a good friend. I watched Sultan (2016) and I loved it. I want to be a part of its sequel,” he tells us.
Language barrier was a challenge for Greg. He says he had to coordinate with more than 25 Indian wrestlers for an action sequence in the film. “I managed it well because everyone knew martial arts. Movies are universal. You don’t have to know the language to understand them,” he adds.
Is he interested doing more Tamil films? “Oh I would love to! I have always liked the storylines of Indian films. I feel Hollywood needs to work on them little more,” he observes.
Greg is all praise for Kollywood and its work culture. “The industry has knowledgeable technicians. Take Rathindran for example…he’s focused and keeps improvising every scene. He tweaks aspects of a performance to cater to the film’s needs,” he says.
Apart from wrestling, he is known to have inspired several people across the world to take up bodybuilding. He has worked on films including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011), and Ten Dead Men (2008) “Simultaneously, I am testing my abilities with filmmaking,” he adds.
A daily dose of fitness is a must for Greg. “It’s something for both my body and mind. It instills a sense of discipline into life. I work-out for four hours a day. That gives me positive energy,”
What’s next? “I want to be recognised as a good actor, and the rest will follow suit. I have no qualms about debuting as the antagonist. I concentrate on being honest and experience my characters. Also, I need to be passionate about what I am doing,” he says.