ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with iconic wrestler and actor Diamond Dallas Page about his role in High Heat. Page spoke about working with Don Johnson, his deleted scene from Rat Race, and more.
“An ex-KGB operative turned chef, Ana (Kurylenko) is targeted by the local mafia in a hit on her new restaurant to collect on her husband’s (Johnson) debt,” reads the film’s synopsis. “Now, Ana must rely upon her lethal skills as she goes on a deadly rampage to take out the entire crime syndicate one-by-one to save her restaurant and survive the night in this action-packed crime thriller.”
Tyler Treese: You’re looking sharp in the movie. You’ve got this nice suit on. What did you like about playing this villain? Because he has a smooth element to him.
Dallas Page: Anytime I do any kind of part, I always go into the backstory, like, “Who is this person?” He’s a piece of me, obviously, but how did he end up in this spot? So it’s really fun, creating that backstory and who this person is. Which, again, it’s a piece of me, but what’s my relationship? With my son, which is really a lot of funny stuff that goes back and forth because he’s a screw-up, but he’s my kid and there are times where some of my daughters have done stuff like, “Oh my God,” but that’s my kid! So you breathe a little bit on it and then you try to laugh about it.
Preparing for this role, if I was a gangster — and I knew guys, I grew up with guys who were good friends of mine who became gangsters. I’m from Jersey, so it wasn’t like I wasn’t around it, so I knew people who were a part of the business. So that’s the whole attitude I took with this guy: “Don’t take yourself too seriously.” Then what I loved about the director, Zach [Golden] … Tyler, you said you’d grown up watching me. So many of the kids who were anywhere from 5, 6, and 7 years old are now 35, 36, and 37 years old, but it goes on up. I had huge fans that were growing up in their 20s to me. So everybody between like 35 and 55 are all in power now, you know? So it’s like me playing this role is … they’ve gotten to watch me grow up as a kid and then they see what I’m doing with this. It’s just a lot of fun.
There’s some really great comedy in the film. I wasn’t expecting it to be so funny. You mentioned the relationship with your onscreen son, which is so funny. How was it working off him and getting to dig into him for being a screw-up, like you said?
Oh my God, first of all, he was a super sweet guy. I said, “Bro, I’m just going to play this straight, like how I would react in this scenario.” And he’s like, “Dude, I love it. Just come with it.” So he enjoyed the banter. That was that. There’s a couple really serious moments in that car where he’s really mad and a lot of guys had that real relationship with their old man, where they feel like they could never do anything. I thought Mick [ Ivan Martin], as the character, really played that well. It was funny. I love the first scene of getting the massage and how I react during that massage, being the problem. The guy who I thought did [an] unbelievable job too was the guy who was the masseuse, who played Gary [Jackie Long]. I just loved how everybody had fun with their role.
You get some screen time with the legend, Don Johnson. How was he as a scene partner?
Amazing. And I’ve got to be honest, I was … it’s Don Johnson. I’ve never really been intimidated and I got in my head in the beginning, but we were just running lines. I didn’t have the script. I knew my lines, I knew everything, but I was blanking. At some point he just goes, “Hey, you got this.” And he gave me a hug and I fucking hit it. I’m a red light guy. You put a red light on me, like is on [me]right now, I go, you know what I mean? I’m going to deliver the goods. When we hit that scene, he looked at me, he goes, “That was excellent.” He was super cool, man. I looked at all the work that he did. He did all of that work in three days.
Everything was shot around Don and it was amazing to watch him be the professional that he is. Who had a better run in the 80s than him? Nobody. But like a lot of big stars, eventually you don’t see him as much and they get typecast. Then he comes back with Watchmen and freaking Knives Out and all those other flicks he did. I mean, this guy’s still a huge movie star at 73. He looked phenomenal.
This was an interesting role for you because a lot of the time when they have a former pro wrestler in there, they throw in fight scenes just to have them. Have you do a Diamond Cutter for no reason, but here, this wasn’t really a fight-filled role for you. Was it nice, knowing you got this for being a talented actor and not just your wrestling past?
Absolutely, bro. Because, to me, I’m done with it. I’ll do some, once in a blue moon, but I don’t … I’m done with that. I’m going to be 67 in a couple of months and it’s all about how I hold back the hands of time. Jordan Levine … I always tell people, it’s not always about who you know or who knows you. It’s about who’s willing to say they know you. Who’s willing to pick up the call and make a phone call for you. That’s what happened in this scenario. Jordan Levine, who is the executive producer along with Jesse [Korman], his partner, those guys knew me from back in LA 15 years ago. They had said my name comes up all the time for different parts, but this one is like, “We’ve got to have DDP for this one.”
And to me that was … I didn’t have to audition [or] do anything cause they knew I could nail it. Just to be able to play the more relaxed version. And I gave Zach — because he wanted me to give him different cakes and different ways the guy would react. I loved his choices that he used, because less is more when you’re 6’4, 230 pounds. Less is more. I got to see it, and it’s hard for me to watch my own stuff. If I don’t think it’s at least good, I’ll never watch it again. But I watched this a couple times, so I know it was at least good
I talked to your Devil’s Rejects co-star, Bill Moseley, and he told me this great story about how you kicked him in one scene and he said, “Ow!” And then they brought in padding for him, so you kicked harder and he was like, “It hurt so much worse the second time with the padding.” Do you remember doing those action scenes there and what are your memories from that?
Oh God, I love Bill Moseley. When I was filming the scene, which became a montage in the bedroom, I loved what I did with that, and Rob [Zombie] didn’t use it. And I said to him, I go, “Rob, why didn’t you use that spot? Did it not come off right?” He goes, “No, it was amazing, but you were too funny. Like you were funny. And we’ve got a lot of guys doing a lot of funny things. I wanted someone who’s a straight badass and that’s what I decided to use.” So then I understood it. With Sid [Haig], who looked like a huge killer but very fragile at that time. Between him and Bill … I think I was spending too much time taking care of Sid cause I loved him so much. And Bill … he might have ended up on the stiff side of a kick or two. But what a great character, Bill Moseley’s character in Devil’s Rejects, like totally unforgettable. To me, Devil’s Rejects is the Reservoir Dogs of horror.
Speaking of deleted scenes, I saw this hilarious outtake from Rat Race where you’re throwing around Cuba Gooding Jr. I thought that was so funny. Do you remember filming that?
First of all, Cuba was amazing, but the whole idea was my idea about the trundle bed, pulling it down and they’re in the bed together — for anybody who’s watching, in Rat Race, he’s racing to get to the destination. He’s lost his clothes and he sees this house going down the road. He starts running after the house, gets in the house, and there’s a bedroom and there’s boxes and the house is moving like this. At some point, he’s putting on a pair of pants when the house hits a bump and he is jumping and it wakes Kimberly [Page] up, my wife at the time, who pops up and screams, Cuba screams. “Kimberly!” I hit the door at Cuba, he flies, goes in the Murphy bed and up into the wall and I pull the wall down or the Murphy bed, and they’re wrapped up in each other.
Oh God. Different level of funny. “You!” Cuba sold it unbelievably, and of course I beat the hell out of him in that spot. And that’s was why it didn’t get used, because when they showed that scene, people didn’t like seeing Cuba get his ass beat. That’s why they ended up not using it, because the scene was amazing. I actually got a letter from the director, I can’t remember his name right now, but he told me that he was bummed out because he loved that scene and it cost a lot of money to shoot that. It was really funny. If anybody’s never seen it go to — now that you said that, I’m going to actually pull that up and put it up on my page, because it’s such a great spot.
You’re staying busy. You’re a great speaker, DDP yoga, and all your other ventures, but what does your acting future look like? I know you have some upcoming roles lined up and some in post-production.
What I’ve been working was one of my own projects. If anybody has ever seen the The Resurrection of Jake the Snake, in 2014, we released that. That’s a documentary that’s [got] a lot of power to it. Recently, I’ve been approached about making that a movie — a scripted movie that’ll end up on a big screen, and they love the story. So that’s something I’m super excited about. Another show that we started filming, and it’s a docu-series, and it’s called Change or Die. We bring five people into the same house where we shot — did you ever see The Resurrection of Jake the Snake?
Yes. Fantastic documentary.
Yeah. Phenomenal. So that same house, I had six bedrooms and I kept that house. I don’t live there anymore, but I kept it. I brought five people in to Change or Die and our results are off the chain. See, we’re not a normal production company. We do DDP yoga, and if anybody wants to know more about DDP yoga, it’s kind of yoga for people who wouldn’t be caught dead doing yoga. But it’s got my flare on it, which changes everything. It’s not just workouts, it’s cooking shows and teaching people how to eat real food, because most people have no idea. Then it’s all this inspirational stuff, like you said, inspirational speaker. I do it all the time for big corporations, kids, for stuff on my Facebook site.
There’s always something up there. So keep people in check and accountable. Change or Die was taking five people and bringing them into the house and over a four month period, we filmed them. At the end of the four months, was it about weight loss? Kind of, but not completely. Was it about helping people who were beaten and broken up and broken down? Kind of, but not completely. Was it teaching people how to eat real food? Kind of, but not really. What it is is about the six-inch piece of real estate in between your ears. It’s about that story you tell yourself. It’s about that inner voice and helping you make better decisions. And the results were unbelievable. But because we’re a full-blown production company, we kept filming after the filming was done. Do you remember Butterbean? The boxer?
He was so bad that he was walking around like this [stands up, hunched over], like could not get past there, couldn’t do this. His back, his hips, everything were super bad and they wouldn’t operate on him until he got under 300, but he hadn’t been under 300 since he was in eighth grade. So that challenge was with him and trying to heal him. When you see where he is at today, it’ll blow your mind. Another person was Marcus “Buff” Bagwell and his dealing was with addiction and being overweight, but the weight wasn’t anything that was getting him how to eat real food and getting him to change that story because he didn’t think he was an addict. The stuff that we have is unbelievable. And where Marcus is today is unbelievable. It’s kind of like happened with Jake.
And then there’s three regular people that came in, two women and a young kid who is the heartbeat. His name is Taylor. This is a crazy story. I’m about to fill the last spot because there’s five bedrooms for one of my trainers to be in there when I can’t be there. And a buddy of mine sends me — he used to work with TMZ — he sends me a text with a picture of this kid and he says, “I want to buy a year on your app. I want to give it to this kid. I’m following TikTok, he’s really trying to lose the weight. Will you send me a 30-second inspirational thing that he can do it?” And I pick up the phone and I call him, I’m like, “Jared, do you know this kid?”
He’s like, “I don’t know him. I’m just following him. Me and my brother are going to split it. We’re going to want to give him your app.” I said, “I think I might have something better. Get his phone number.” So he got his phone number, gave it to one of my producers who works for me, Nadia. Nadia interviewed him. She calls me up and she said, “Dallas, we have to have this kid.” I said, “Okay, bring him in. He’s number five.” So he gets there, he thinks he’s 466 pounds because of the scale that he has at home. When you look up and down and you look at the scale and you’re over 400 pounds, the needle does this back and forth. So you really don’t get a true rating. But he really believed he was 466. He felt he was losing weight, he felt better.
Then he’s looking down at the scale, because when everybody comes in, we weigh them, measure them, and went through the whole lineup for what we needed for later on in the show. He’s looking down, I go, “Stop looking down. The scale’s going to talk to you.” He goes, “It’s what?” I go, “It’s going to talk to you.” I said, just stand there. And then it says 513 pounds. And he just broke down, started crying. I was like, “Bro, look at it this way. It’s not 583 pounds. So this is the beginning. This is it.” I go, “It’s going to change.” And his transformation was unbelievable over a four-month period. But remember, I told you we keep filming and as we keep filming and following, we realize that he is a food addict. If you’re in any kind of addiction issues, you lie, you steal, you cheat. It goes with every addiction. I know, I’ve been around enough of it my entire life. He needed to do stuff on his own rehab as well as Marcus. The results that have come out of it, like these stories we have, are unbelievable.