UFC Hall of Famer Georges St. Pierre on Fighting It Out on ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’
It turns out Georges St. Pierre as the mercenary George Batroc the Leaper wasn’t a one-off. The UFC Hall of Famer, last seen squaring off with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, has stepped back in the pirate-for-hire’s shoes for Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The retired mixed martial arts fighter has already appeared as the apparent leader of the criminal group LAF, kidnapping military liaison U.S. Captain Vassant (Miles Brew). Taking to the air, Falcon (aka Sam Wilson, played by Anthony Mackie) manages to stop him and his terrorist crew from succeeding with their mission.
But Batroc once again escapes. TV Insider chats with St. Pierre about working with Mackie, whether his character is coming back, and more.
How was working with Anthony Mackie?
Georges St. Pierre: Shooting with Anthony is great. He’s very charismatic and makes everyone laugh. On top of being a great actor, he’s just a great person to be around.
You’re in a similar situation in Falcon and the Winter Soldier as in the movie.
Yes, and I was definitely more prepared this time. My game has improved. My character has improved as well. You see him in the movie The Winter Soldier as a champion in savate, which is French kickboxing. You see him in the first episode [in the TV series] perform a power double leg takedown. He slammed the Falcon on the ground. That is not a technique from savate, so it indicates he has grown and improved his fighting skills because he knows he is going up against super heroes.
Did any particular character help inspire you in this role?
Batroc is a mercenary. I looked at Han Solo for inspiration because he was a mercenary and a good guy. He did stuff because he loves money. That’s all he cared about. The first part of the Han Solo story, you see him on the big screen he is very cocky and confident. That’s how I try to play my character.
And who’s your favorite superhero?
All my favorites are guys that do not have super powers, like Iron Man. What makes Iron Man so good is the fact he’s very smart with technological gadgets. Batroc is the same. He doesn’t have super power. He’s a champion in savate and champion in Olympic powerlifting. That’s why he can leap so high, because his legs are so strong. In order to take on the superheroes, he has to use his brain and different tactics. He uses the element of surprise like in Winter Soldier.
So, will we see more of you on the series…?
I can’t say anything about the next episodes. It’s amazing, though — I’ve always been a big fan of Marvel super heroes. For me, it’s a dream come true. It’s like someone who plays basketball having a chance to play in the NBA.
Are you pretty much acting full-time now?
When I did Captain America: The Winter Soldier I was focusing on competing in mixed martial arts, so all of my focus was on that. But after I retired two years ago, acting is now my full-time job. I’m training now for this just as much as I trained for mixed martial arts. That I was able to reprise my role as Batroc the Leaper, the timing was so perfect. And I feel very privileged to be able to work for Disney and Marvel.
How does your background in MMA help you with your acting?
There are a lot of similarities between fighting and acting. In fighting, you don’t want to telegraph your punches and kicks because your opponent will see it coming — you want to hide your game like when you play cards. I was acting my entire career; every time before a fight walking toward the octagon I was terrified and extremely uncomfortable, but I look like I’m excited and happy to be there. I was acting because I didn’t want to give an edge to my opponent.
Over the years you’ve been asked about the potential of joining WWE, which combines the world of acting with fighting. Where do you stand on this today?
Acting is my future. This is where I want to take my career.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, new episodes every Friday, Disney+.