Gentle as a beast
Bob Sapp kicks off his Hollywood career and hopes he can
show his gentle side one day
By Chris Betros
The Beast playing a lawyer or doctor in a movie?
Why not? Bob Sapp says he is ready, able and willing to try
all sorts of roles as he launches his Hollywood career with
Elektra. I dont want to just play action heroes
and villains, said the 30-year-old former NFL player
who has carved a niche for himself over the past two years
in the Japanese entertainment world as a K-1 fighter and pitchman
for 10-15 products, including Panasonic and instant noodles.
Standing 1.93m tall and weighing 170kg, Sapp at first looks
fierce, probably because every time he meets Japanese media
and fans, they expect him to do his trademark roar. But today,
he is gentle and soft-spoken about his role in Elektra, a
spin-off from the 2003 Marvel Comics film Daredevil. Sapp
plays a ninja assassin named Stone who does battle with the
title character played by Jennifer Garner.
The director Rob Bowman had seen some of what I had
done in K-1 and on variety TV shows in Japan and asked me
to be in the film, said Sapp. My K-1 training
definitely came in handy, but the hard part was learning to
hold my punches. The stunt coordinator had to make sure I
didnt hit Jennifer too hard. Sapp was more concerned
with avoiding the snakes used by one lethal character on the
set, and a black bear that found its way into his trailer
on location outside Vancouver.
He has already appeared in one moviea Japanese horror
feature last year called Devilman, in which he plays a broadcaster
whose body is taken over by demons. It is the sort of schlock
that he doesnt want to get pigeonholed into playing,
hence his desire for something more cerebral. Ill
consider any role, especially one that lets me use my intellect,
he said. For the moment, Sapps main opponent appears
to be Michael Clarke Duncan (of Daredevil and The Green Mile
fame). A rivalry seems to have already sprung up between them.
At the LA premiere of Elektra, he actually challenged
me to a fight, believe it or not, Sapp said.
One thing that wont change for Sapp is keeping Japan
as his base, which is his gold mine. Hollywood knows
they can only rent The Beast, he said. Japan
created me and I will remain indebted to it forever.
Sapp travels a lot between the two countries and is constantly
in demand to do charity work here, which he is happy to accept.
You dont need super powers to help out. I feel
great being asked to volunteer my time.
Sapp has already finished his second Hollywood movie, The
Longest Yard, a remake of the 1974 film, starring Adam Sandler,
Chris Rock and Burt Reynolds. After that, maybe hell
get that call to play a movie doctor.
Peace Boat March
Demonstrators seek improving relations with China
Boat activists march to the Ministry of Education to demand
that the government mend frayed relations with China.
The group opposes textbooks that it says misrepresent
the past, and wants to promote peace with Japans
photos courtesy of peace boat
A word from your host
Whenever there is a press conference for a visiting movie
star, Kuro Erikawa is often there as emcee. When shes
not doing that, the Tochigi-born cinema personality
does TV and radio work.
How did you get into entertainment?
I studied child psychology at Aoyama Gakuin and thought I
would go into childrens education. But I started doing
DJ work for fun and it became a full-time thing.
Have you done any acting?
Yes, I played a nurse in a TV drama about ten years ago. Do
you work seven days a week? Often. A lot of your work involves
How many do you see a week?
How do you keep up your English?
I read the subtitles on movies. Its a good way to learn.
Of all the celebrities you have interviewed, which four
would you invite to dinner?
Will Smith, Johnny Depp, Ken Takakura and Meg Ryan.
Ive heard you dont use email or cell phones.
Thats right. It would interfere with my private time.
And how do you spend your private time?
Mornings are important for me. I get up around 7am and do
yoga, gardening, sewing or cooking.
What would you like to do in the future?
Walk the red carpet at the Oscars.
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