clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Tyron Woodley discusses acting career, role in NWA film ‘Straight Outta Compton’

New, comments
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Tyron Woodley may only be 32 years old, but he's already preparing for his post-fighting life. The UFC's No. 3 ranked welterweight, Woodley recently finished filming his role in the upcoming NWA biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton,' and he described his experience working alongside the rap legends as nothing short of "surreal."

"It was kind of crazy," Woodley said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I'm sitting on set and Ice Cube's coming up and talking to me, asking me [questions]. There were a couple scenes where it was just me and the two lead actors, so it was really like a super intimate set.

"And to see Ice Cube walk on set and whisper into his son's ear, kind of get him into character, say, ‘hey, at this point I was going through this and I was feeling like this,' it was crazy. I can only dream to be in my son's corner and say, ‘hey man, take a deep breath, you lost that first round, brother, you've got to pick up the horse and get it rolling in the second round.'"

‘Straight Outta Compton' is currently in post-production with a tentative release date set for mid-2015. As Woodley tells it, he was first cast for a bit part in the film, but with a little luck -- plus an assist from his substantial facial hair -- he managed to secure a bigger role than initially expected.

"They wanted me to be completely clean shaved," Woodley explained with a laugh. "And you know, I don't try to make a fuss because I'm honored and blessed to be on the show, but I'm sitting there like, ‘so... you want it all off?'

"I didn't want to argue, but I was like, ‘okay, well, if we're doing this fight scene, and this (other) dude has to put a beard on' -- they actually put glue on his face and made him a beard, and then they wanted me to shave my beard off -- I'm like, ‘well, if we're doing kinda similar stuff, and he has to put on a beard, and I have to shave my beard, then... why don't we just switch roles?' They're like, ‘no, you can't switch roles, he got picked off of his read, they're different characters.'

"So I said okay, I sat in the chair. Me and the barber shooting the breeze, right? He's got the clippers on, about to get rid of my beard, and then somebody busts in the door like, ‘Hold on! Wait, wait, wait! They said they're going to switch characters.' So they switched us. Thank God, because I got double the amount of work, I got a lot of camera time, it was a completely different role than I went for, and then I got to keep just a little bit of the beard."

For now Woodley is back in the gym, readying for a Jan. 31 clash against undefeated Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 183, but he hopes his work on ‘Straight Outta Compton' helps his efforts in setting up a successful post-fighting career.

Woodley says he already has three more roles lined up for early 2015, including one which will require two days of filming right in the middle of his fight camp. But despite that, he vows not to lose sight of what's important and make the same mistake other fighters have in the past.

"I've seen it go the wrong way for athletes who try to think full-time fighting, full-time acting -- they don't go together that well. So what I do is, I kinda try to project," Woodley said. "Like, I wasn't expecting to fight in August, so right after the Rory MacDonald fight I had two or three movies lined up, and I had to forfeit those movies because I had the (short notice) fight (against Dong Hyun Kim), so I had pick fighting over the movie.

"But I already have those seeds planted, so when I retire and I'm done fighting, I can already have like 25-30 projects underneath my belt, and I can just move forward into doing it more like ‘The Rock,' be an action actor."