Paul Wight Was Up For A Role In ‘Gladiator,’ Explains Why Vince McMahon Wouldn’t Sign Off On It
Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling
Paul Wight could’ve been in Gladiator if WWE and Vince McMahon had given him the OK to appear in the movie.
Paul Wight recently spoke with Chris Van Vliet on his Insight podcast and revealed that he’d been up for a role in the 2000 film Gladiator starring Russell Crowe. As Wight explained it, he tried to get Vince McMahon to sign off on the movie role, but it was turned down because Vince was “paying him to be a wrestler.”
“There were so many projects I couldn’t do because of the WWE schedule. When I first signed with WWE, Nick Cage reached out to me because his son was a big fan of me. Nick Cage was trying to hook me up with this Russell Crowe movie, but it was being shot in Spain. I would have to be in Spain for 6 weeks for it, but I’m thinking Russell Crowe is going to be a star, Nick Cage wants me, I’ve got it,” he stated. “I go to ask Vince and he says ‘I’m paying you to be a wrestler, not an actor.’ So that was the end of that. So then it’s like, ‘Yeah you are paying me a lot of money to be a wrestler, I will go back to work sir…’”
Wight did have some acting credits on his resume, including his infamous role as “Captain Insano” in The Waterboy and as a giant Santa in Jingle All The Way,but those roles came while he was still a member of the WCW roster. Wight says being turned down was disappointing, but now he’s getting a chance to take on the projects he wants to do, and wrestling promotions outside of WWE are a little more flexible with allowing talent to take outside roles.
“There wasn’t as much crossover in the wrestling business then. For a while, WWE was very against wrestlers crossing over into movies. Then eventually they got into the program. So I am there watching Gladiator, that would have been good to be a part of. But now with AEW,” he pointed out, “I can be a part of all sorts of projects. Having that freedom to build the Paul Wight brand [is good]. Because it’s their [WWE] intellectual property, so when you leave you have to rebuild yourself.”
One of the projects Wight recently took on was the role of “Palindrome” on the Fast and Furious: Spy Racers series on Netflix. Wight has now been on two seasons of the show and you can read more about how it’s challenged him as a performer, and more about his AEW in-ring return at this link.