The Shoot is a first-person point of view piece written and shared directly from the people inside the business of professional wrestling. In this week’s edition, John Morrison opens up about his new film, “Boone: The Bounty Hunter”, which is a personal project that saw Morrison sell his house to help finance. The former WWE star is currently Lucha Underground’s world champion, and he is as passionate about his movie as he is his wrestling.
The best stories in wrestling are the real ones.
I am the winner of Tough Enough III from 2002. Yes, that reality television show about pro wrestling. Fifteen years later, I’m still standing, still taking people to Slamtown, still bringing the pain, and leaving a stain every time I get step into the squared circle.
People thought I was out of my mind to leave WWE in 2011. I was staring at a three-year contract extension, but I chose to gamble on myself.
That is when Boone was born.
My new movie, Boone: The Bounty Hunter, is my life work.
I sold my house to finance the film. I spent a lot of money on the trailer four years ago, with a plan to shop the trailer and raise the entire budget.
Well, that didn’t happen. Not everyone is going to have faith in the pro wrestler-turned-filmmaker. So, again, I gambled on myself. I refused to settle. I refused to accept anything less than a full-length feature film.
I was a film major in college at UC-Davis. I made a bunch of action shorts, and actually wrote, produced, directed, and starred in a feature my senior year. It was awful. I learned why those jobs are all separate, and that is why, to this day, I did not want to direct Boone. I know each one of these categories has a specific art to it.
When we finished writing, I took my writer’s hat off and moved to producing, casting, looking for locations, and action design. When we started shooting, I took the producer hat off as much as I could to focus on choreography, action, and acting.
I was so inspired when I watched CM Punk fight for the UFC last fall. For him, his passion is fighting. For me, it’s this movie. This film is a story. It’s a story about a guy who is grappling with identity.
Follow SI Wrestling on Facebook
This is my story.
Boone wants to be a hero, and he identifies being a hero as being famous. Over the course of the movie, he realizes that fame is not the right way to equate heroism. It’s art imitating life, and my life imitating art. In our business, a pro wrestler begins to blend into his character. That’s something I explored in Boone.
Boone is a reluctant hero who is self-deprecating, and is extra confident in a naive, boyish kind of way. He doesn’t turn people off and remains still likable. That was what I wanted for the character, and the action is parkour, pro wrestling, and MMA brawler style, which are all my fortes. I have spent fifteen years as a pro wrestler, and I wanted those scenes to be in the action.
If you think the stuff I’ve done in the wrestling ring is crazy, and I’m talking about my work as Nitro, Morrison, and Mundo, then you’re going to love what I do in Boone: The Bounty Hunter. I really push my limits physically. I almost broke my wrist, and I had to cast it up at the end of the movie. I fractured my left patella doing a cork punch. I sprained my ankle, and there were countless scratches and bruises along the way, and I’ve pushed my body over the line in this film. Literally and figuratively, my DNA is all over this film.
We all know that the A-lister in wrestling is The Miz, and I have no (current) plans to take that title from him. Forget A-lister, my only wish is to leave something that people will enjoy. This is my thank you to all the wrestling fans that believed in me. For some reason, you also decided to gamble on me. I’ll never forget that.
Without fans of wrestling, there is no Johnny Mundo. There is no “Mayor of Slam Town”. I am forever grateful. There is no career, no Mexico, no arguing with Rampage Jackson in the film. None of that happens without you, and I am aware of that. I am proud to be in a position where I can create content worthy of the people, and am extremely humble to be in that position.
So let’s go get Boone’d.