I always wanted to play a boxer because some of my favorite films, as a boy, were those great boxing movies, like 'Raging Bull', 'Rocky', 'The Set Up', 'Fat City and Hard Times'. I just loved those films.
I had been in the gym training for many, many years, but I definitely stepped it up when it was time to get into shape to play 'Lights'. I began trying to live the life of a boxer, and that means everything that you would expect.
Not all television scripts are created equal. And the process is ridiculous. They send you a script and want you in the next morning. That's not how acting works. You can do anything to me as an actor; I'm a very resilient guy. Just don't rush me. If you ask me to do it immediately with no time to prepare, I know you have contempt for actors.
I take my hat off to my friend, Mark Wahlberg, because I know that it took him a long time to make 'The Fighter', and he overcame a lot of obstacles to do it, and now the film is an unqualified success.
When I do a movie, I have the script. I know how it begins and how it ends. I know what my character does and where he's going. If I have ideas I want to express or changes I want to make, there's one guy: the director. It's different in television.
As an actor, you very rarely have the experience of picking up a script and getting a few pages into it and realizing that what you're holding in your hands is not just a role on a TV show, but it's one of those special parts that comes along, once or twice in a career. If you're lucky, you get an opportunity to do something really memorable and to be part of one of those rare shows that passes into that special category.
You have to really think about what kind of guy the character is and decide on a style that works, that complements my physicality and that's going to be believable, but also be compelling for the audience and for the camera.
I would say that one of the really special gifts about playing an athlete is that it's the best motivation you'll ever have to get in top shape and stay in top shape because you know that you're going to be expected to deliver.
You think like a boxer and behave like a boxer, and you try to live your life that way, being in the gym all the time and being careful to push the plate away at the dinner table. You don't need dessert. When you're out having fun, you ask for agua instead of vodka. It's very important.
If you're going to play a champion athlete, people expect you to look a certain way, and you also have to have the stamina to be able to continue to perform.
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