Not even a dislocated ankle could keep actor Maximiliano Hernández away from the set of “Warrior,” a sports drama following two estranged brothers fighting in the same Mixed Martial Arts tournament.
In the film, Hernández, 38, plays Colt Boyd, a trainer watching the development of one of the brothers who shows up at a local gym to get into shape. Prior to “Warrior,” Hernández starred in film such as “Pride and Glory” in 2008 and “Thor” earlier this year.
During an interview with me, Hernández talked about some of the misconceptions people might have of “Warrior” and what he learned from a doctor after dislocating his ankle two weeks before production.
I thought “The Help” was going to end up being the feel-good movie of the year until I saw “Warrior.”
Yeah, it’s touching a lot of people. When my family and I went to see the film, there were people walking out of the theater sobbing. I know it’s an emotional film, but I think it catches people off guard because they see this movie about fighting called “Warrior.” It seems to have this tough exterior. I think people have been pleasantly surprised how much heart it has.
Is there anything in the film you think will specifically attract Latino audiences?
There is a lot about the importance of family and togetherness. There is a message about treasuring the family you have. There are also certain religious aspects to it like the prodigal son returning and Cain and Abel influences. We didn’t expect that to come through, but they’re stories that are repeated through generations. I think a lot of Latinos will pick up on that and have a visceral and emotional experience.
Did you spend anytime prior to shooting in a gym like the one in the film?
Yeah, I did. I’ve been doing Thai boxing for a long time. We trained at a place in Pittsburgh before the film began. On the first day, I’m kicking a pad and I completely dislocate my ankle. It looked mutilated. This was the first day! I reached down and popped it back in. They took me to the hospital and they found out I had a bunch of hairline fractures from all the years of Thai boxing.
How long before the movie started shooting did this happen?
Two weeks! I was worried I was going to have to walk around with a cane for the movie. My foot was in a cast. I didn’t train anymore after that. I got to watch everyone else work out while I sat back eating ice cream in front of them.
Did you know a lot about Mixed Martial Arts before you joined the cast?
I did. I’m a huge UFC fan. I’ve actually been to a bunch of fights in Las Vegas. I love MMA. I really respect the sport. People try to bring it down by saying it’s human cockfighting, but it’s the absolute opposite. These guys are trained machines. They have to mix several forms of fighting into a cohesive motion. It’s a physical chess game.
What about other combat sports?
I love boxing. I would watch the fights with my dad. That’s where the real love of the game came from. Every time there is a Mayweather or Pacquiao fight we’re right there watching it on Pay Per View.
Do you have a prediction for the Mayweather Vs. Ortiz fight this weekend? Note: This interview with Hernández took place before the Sept. 17 bout between Mayweather and Ortiz.
Ortiz has a lot of heart and I pray that he wins, but I don’t think he will. Mayweather is at a different level. I think what Ortiz has going for him is that he has nothing to lose. To be honest, no one wants to see these little fights. We all know the fight we want to really see is Mayweather Vs. Pacquiao. That’s the one we’re all waiting for.
Do you think it will happen or is there just too much politicking going on?
I think it’s mostly politics. I desperately hope it happens. Right now, Pacquiao is the best pound-for-pound fighter. I think he is at his peak. But Mayweather is asking for a ridiculous amount of money. It’s not even about the love of the game anymore for Mayweather.
How do you think you’d fare fighting in the octagon?
(Laughs) I can tell you right now, I’d put my hands up and someone would take me down and tap me out in 14 seconds.