Athlete To Actor

Written by Dalton Brown
Edited by Jakob Lewis Barnes

Let me start off by saying this, I’m not a fan of sports. Shocking, I know. It’s just that I could never get too excited about them, no matter how hard I tried. That’s not to say I’m completely oblivious when it comes to sports. I know of a few athletes, but the few I do know of are not because I’ve seen them play, but because I have seen them act. Pretty poorly, I might add. Whilst most athletes would probably be better off sticking to their day job, there are a select few that are actually decent actors too.

San Andreas

One actor that immediately pops into my mind – who is arguably a better actor than he was an athlete – is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. For those of you that don’t know, he was once a professional wrestler. Yeah, wrestling is a sport. Now he’s an actor. I’m pretty ambivalent when it comes to this guy, but when he’s given the right role he’s golden! For example: I thought his character in the movie ‘Doom’ was awful, while his character in the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise is actually quite enjoyable. Last year, Johnson starred in the surprisingly entertaining disaster movie ‘San Andreas’, and with plenty of projects coming up, including work on a ‘Baywatch’ reboot, The Rock is cooking up quite the acting career these days. 

Following in Dwayne Johnson’s footsteps is former wrestler Dave Bautista. After playing the role of Drax the Destroyer in the hugely popular ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, Bautista nabbed a role in the latest Bond movie, ‘Spectre’, as brutish henchman Mr. Hinx. Whilst this was a role with very little dialogue, the big guy did what he does best; look tough and smash shit up. We look forward to seeing Bautista stepping in front of the cameras again for the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ sequel in 2017, and hopefully plenty more projects in the future.

Drax the Destroyer

Arnold Schwarzenegger is another athlete turned movie star. He was once a professional bodybuilder, before he turned into a Terminator. Recently, the Austrian muscle man has joined the ‘Expendables’ franchise. He’s also been in some pretty shoddy productions like ‘Escape Plan’ and ‘Sabotage’. Although he’s been in a lot of movies, he is – and probably always will be – most famous for the ‘Terminator’ franchise. My point being, he’s sort of a one-hit wonder. He was in one great movie, ‘Terminator’, and then it just sort of stumbled downhill from there. Even the latest sequel in that franchise, ‘Terminator Genisys’, was damn awful. 

Then there’s Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players to ever grace the court, who decided to play himself in a movie called ‘Space Jam’. Luckily for Jordan, he had the likes of Bugs Bunny and Bill Murray to save his ass, as his acting skills are far from world class. Michael Jordan then, is a perfect example of what not to be; a man who managed to roll his Hollywood debut and farewell into one film, thanks to cheesy, uncomfortable acting. The latest basketball king however, LeBron James, has recently found success in front of the camera in last year’s comedy hit ‘Trainwreck’. The Amy Schumer production gave LeBron the chance to allow his theatrical side to flourish, and boy did he deliver, surprising us all with his comedic talents.

TRAINWRECK

We are seeing more and more athletes taking on these cameo roles, mainly in comedies where they play themselves. Last summer, Ronda Rousey popped up in the ‘Entourage’ movie, and to be honest she was terrible. But at the time, she was one of the biggest sports stars in the world so we forgave her. Hell, the world even let her dream of playing Captain Marvel. That is, until she got her head kicked in by Holly Holm and now we don’t really trust her to be a superhero. Maybe Holly could suit up and save the world instead?

In conclusion, there are plenty of athletes who have tried acting, but only a handful have managed to reinvent themselves successfully. Dwayne Johnson has cemented himself as one of Hollywood’s top action heroes at present, and he certainly earns enough money to suggest he’s doing a good job. Everybody loves Schwarzenegger too, despite the long line of shit movies he’s performed in on the back of the success of ‘The Terminator’ in 1984 (yes it’s been that long since he actually did anything credible). More often than not, this transition from athlete to actor is probably going to be an epic fail, but we hope they keep trying. Team talk time for all you sports stars with dreams of the red carpet: just be yourself and don’t be afraid to fail, you will get that knockout eventually. Or that three-pointer. Or whatever sports metaphor is appropriate here.

Can you think of a sports star who would make a great actor? Or maybe one who wouldn’t be so great, but who would be fun to watch trying? Let us know!
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