The Miz is going soft, and he’s not at all sorry about it.
The WWE Superstar known for his brash attitude and astronomical arrogance is showing a different side to his personality in Christmas Bounty, an ABC Family original movie airing as part of its “Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas.” The plot revolves around Tory Bell (Francia Raisa, The Secret Life of the American Teenager), a former bounty hunter turned elementary schoolteacher who must return to her New Jersey hometown when an old foe is released from prison and threatens her family. She tries to accomplish this while keeping her current fiance (Will Greenberg) in the dark about her former life.
So where does Mike “The Miz” Mizanin come in? That would be as Mike, Tory’s old flame, with whom she must work closely to dispatch the enemy. But the more time they spend together, the more Tory becomes conflicted between her two lives. This might leave audiences in a quandary, too, about just whom to root for — a position not unfamiliar to a pro wrestler.
“I’m hoping that people are going to be rooting for me, but if they root for Will’s character, then so be it,” The Miz told me as he was prepping for that night’s edition of WWE Raw. “I just enjoy the fact that people are going to be rooting for someone, and hopefully that is me. They root for me in the WWE; hopefully they root for me in this movie.”
The Miz, who first came to the national spotlight in his pre-wrestling days on MTV’s The Real World, is embracing the chance to show what he can do with not only the action scenes in Christmas Bounty, but also the “comedy, as well as drama, action, and — I’m not one to lie about these sort of things — a little bit of romance.” His previous experience as a leading man was as a more traditional square-jawed action hero in The Marine 3: Homefront.
But the biggest thrill for The Miz might have been that he was acting in a Christmas movie, which, if all goes well, could be watched for years to come.
“Oh, man, that was absolutely incredible,” he says. “It’s not every day you get to do a Christmas movie. I grew up watching Christmas Vacation, and A Christmas Story was filmed in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, so it’s always pretty wonderful to do that.”
Don’t let all this peace, love and goodwill talk fool you, though. If anyone needs any reassurances that The Miz is still a badass, the Awesome One just defeated his former tag-team partner Kofi Kingston at Sunday’s Survivor Series.
Movies are, however, in his future. Comparing his two worlds, though, The Miz says the differences are stark. “The WWE is only one take. You only get one take to do that. With movies, you get as many takes as you need. If you need 45 takes, you get 45 takes. The fact is, The Miz only needs one take. That’s the difference between doing WWE and everything else.”
If he does become successful onscreen, it will have something to do with how much he studies his performances. No, The Miz is not going to be one of those actors who can’t stand to watch themselves.
“I watch everything I do,” he says, including his wrestling matches. “There are some people that really don’t like watching themselves. I watch, critique, and I dissect everything. I’m not one of those people that doesn’t like watching themselves. I enjoy watching myself. That sounds really conceited, but it’s OK.”
Christmas Bounty airs at 7pm Tuesday, Nov. 26, on ABC Family.