Fearlessly risking your own personal safety in order to selflessly save and protect the life of someone else, especially someone you don’t know, from their enemies is an admirable trait not everyone has the endurance to do. But when someone continuously makes that brave and powerful decision, and sets out to make it their life’s work, they undoubtedly prove what a heroic person they are. That’s certainly the case with WWE Superstar Mike “The Miz” Mizanin’s noble soldier in director William Kaufman’s new action thriller, ‘The Marine 4: Moving Target,’ which is now available on Digital HD, Blu-ray, DVD and VOD. The third sequel in the popular ‘The Marine’ series also stars WWE Diva Summer Rae in her feature film acting debut, and her character also determinedly and dauntlessly fights back against her opponents.

‘The Marine 4: Moving Target’ features the return of American hero Jake Carter (Mizanin), after his triumphant and courageous return home to America in ‘The Marine 3: Homefront.’ The former sergeant of the MARSOC United States Marine Corps, who’s now working in the private sector, is assigned to protect a “high-value package”–Rachel Dawes (Rae), a beautiful whistleblower who’s trying to expose a corrupt military defense contractor. But a heavily armed team of mercenaries has been hired to kill her, along with anyone who gets in their way, and it’s going to take a fearless one-man fighting machine to stop them.

Mizanin and Rae generously took the time recently to talk about filming ‘The Marine 4: Moving Target’ during an exclusive phone interview. Among other things, the actors discussed how they were both drawn to appear in the third sequel in the popular thriller franchise because not only do they consider it to be an honor to authentically portray a soldier from the Armed Forces, and showcase what true heroes they are, but they also wanted entertain their fans from the WWE; how Mizanin spoke with both Kaufman and one of the security guards from the WWE, who both have experience serving in the Armed Forces, to help him better understand how to physically and emotionally portray Jake, particularly in times of crisis when he was on his mission; and how they both took a different approach to their performances in ‘The Marine 4: Moving Target,’ as opposed to when they’re in the WWE, as they were able to have several takes to perfect their scenes in the film, if needed, as opposed to only having one opportunity to recite their lines in the ring, as they film their wrestling sequences live.

ShockYa (SY): Mike, you reprised your role of Jake Carter, and Summer, you play Rachel Dawes, in the new thriller, ‘The Marine 4: Moving Target.’ Why were you both interested in acting in the film, and continuing the story of Jake in the action series’ third sequel?

Mike “The Miz” Mizanin (MM): Well, anytime you can play someone from the Armed Forces, and in this film, he’s a Marine, it’s a huge honor. But there’s a lot of pressure that goes along with it, because there are men and women fighting wars and being real heroes. So I took the pressure, and thought maybe I could use it to hopefully entertain all of the real heroes who are fighting overseas, and are actually at war and putting their lives on the line. It’s the little things you can do to make sure your performance is authentic, and those who are serving appreciate it.

Summer Rae (SR): Also, the WWE has such an amazing fanbase-our fans are so loyal to us. Having WWE Studios support these films, and put together these DVDs, is an amazing experience. It’s such an honor to be in this type of film. It was also a great opportunity to work with Will Kaufman, our director-he was amazing. A lot of the stunt guys on the set were so good with putting our fight scenes together. So it was just an all-around great opportunity.

SY: What was the preparation process like for the film-did you both do any research before you began film, including speaking with anyone in the Armed Forces?

MM: It’s actually funny that you asked that. One of our security guards for the WWE is with the Armed Forces, so Jake Carter was basically becoming him. Jake in ‘The Marine 4’ is now in a private security firm, and he has to protect a whistleblower, as she has a bunch of secrets, and the bad guys don’t want her to release those secrets. So my character’s job is to protect her.

The security guard for the WWE has to make sure there aren’t any jumpers who get into the ring. So his job is really to protect us. So I would shadow and talk to him.

Will was also in the Army, so I would also pick his brain. I would speak with him, to make sure I was holding the guns right. I would also make sure that when I would walk into a room and clear it, I did it correctly. I also worked on how you walk and talk with a gun. You have to become that type of person as you’re playing this type of role. I did the best I possibly could with it.

SY: Speaking of Will, what were both of your working experiences creating the story, characters and action sequences with him on the thriller?

SR: Working with Will was great for me, because this was my first time acting in a film. He made me feel so comfortable from the day he first called me. He has a great open door policy. No matter what time it was, I knew he was awake, and planning for the next day. I could ask any question of him. He also brought such a positive excitement to the set. He really wanted to make the film be really amazing. He has an opportunity to shoot another film now, so his success is definitely something that he deserves.

MM: Not only that, but this script was very tough. We only had 20 days to shoot this movie. The director is the leader, and has to bring the cast and crew together to get everything done. I looked at the script and thought, there’s no way we’re going to get this done. But ultimately we did, because of Will’s leadership.

SY: Speaking of only having that 20-day period to shoot the movie, did filming independently on such a short schedule pose any challenges, or did it help build the creative on the project?

MM: Well, whenever you’re filming a movie in 20 days, it’s very hectic. But with ‘The Marine 4’ being my third movie, I felt like I was very comfortable on set. I knew what I had to do, how I had to get into my character and how to set an example for everyone else on set.

When you’re the leading character in a movie, you set the tone for everyone. If you’re late, everyone else is going to be late. But if you’re early, everyone else is going to start stepping up their game. If you’re one-upping each other, you’re all gelling together, and forming a positive atmosphere. That’s what I tried to generate for the entire cast and crew.

SY: How did the emotional and physical aspects of being in the WWE help prepare you both to appear in an action film like ‘The Marine 4?’

SR: I think being in the WWE helped us not be scared of performing the stunts in the film. The day we shot the fight between Mike and me was my favorite day on set. I was really looking forward to it, and we even got together over Easter weekend. We also got together on our days off, because we really wanted to perfect doing our own stunts.

So I think having a WWE Diva and WWE Superstar in this type of movie was an advantage. Not only can we act, but we can also perform our own stunts, and we could get the shots that we couldn’t get by only using the stunt guys. So our backgrounds were definitely a positive aspect on this shoot.

MM: Yes, Summer didn’t even want her stunt double even close to set. (Rae laughs.) It was one of those situations that when we were just rehearsing, and weren’t even on camera, Summer would ask, “Why is she here? I’m doing my own stunts.” (Rae laughs.) She was throwing herself on the ground…

SR:…and I was like, “I can do it!”

MM: She was like, “I wanted everyone to know that I don’t need a stunt double!” (Rae laughs.) We got it, Summer!

SR: Well, sometimes people think girls are fragile, and insurance is a big deal on set. I was like, “No, it’s fine! This is what I do in the ring! This is nothing compared to that! Look, I can bump on the ground, in the forest.”

SY: How does filming your fights and sequences live for the WWE compare and contrast to making a film like ‘The Marine 4?

MM: Well, they’re both very different in their approaches. When you’re in the WWE, you’re performing for that person in the last row. It’s also live, so you only get the one take. When you’re making a movie, you can flub a line, and you’re able to do it over. But if you flub a line in the WWE, people are going to start chanting that you got it wrong, and how much you suck, and how terrible you are.

SR: Oh yes, definitely.

MM: But you don’t get that automatic feedback on a film set that you get in the WWE. When you’re shooting a movie, only the director will be chanting, “You suck!”

SR: Or they’ll chant that you did great!

MM: So on a film set, you don’t get that instant gratification. But movies are a lot of fun to do.

SR: There were some things I would have to ask Mike about. They would have me do things a different way, so I would ask him, “Was it bad? Did I do it bad?” No one would tell me, so I wouldn’t know. They would just say, “Do it this way.” Mike would say, “No, Will just wants to try it a different way. It’s nothing on you.”

I took a lot of things very personally, because I’m used to that one take in the WWE. Since we’re live, if you don’t get it in the first take, that was it. So when we were going on the tenth take on a movie set made me think, “Oh, I’m slow in this.” So that was definitely something I had to get used to while we were filming.

SY: With John now working in the private sector, and is assigned to protect Rachel, a whistleblower who’s trying to expose a corrupt military defense contractor and has a heavily armed team of mercenaries trying to kill her, what was the process of trying to keep these two characters relatable to the audience?

MM: What helped me out a lot was the Tribute to the Troops with the WWE. I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan, and have gotten to talk to a lot of our Armed Forces about the lives they’ve lived while in a war zone. I’ve never felt more safe being in a war zone, surrounded by our Armed Forces who were protecting me. That’s exactly what they do, and these soldiers are the real heroes.

So the little thing that I can do is play a Marine the best that I can. That includes holding a gun right, scanning a room correctly and playing the fight scenes in a kill-or-be-killed manner, instead of being flashy and doing cool kicks. I’d rather make it gritty, hard-core and real. I used the information I received while being on Tribute to the Troops, including what they told me they liked and disliked about ‘The Marine 3.’ I really took in everything, so that I could really be great.

Interview Mike The Miz Mizanin and Summer Rae Talk The Marine 4 Moving Target (Exclusive)

Written by: Karen Benardello

By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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