UFC hall of famer Chuck Liddell (21-8-0) admits he wasn’t thrilled when he first read the part of Nelson ‘Nels’ Salvatore in the action thriller movie “Silencer,” which premieres Sept. 4. Fortunately, some timely advice from his manager put him on the path to an enjoyable experience and an unexpected movie billing with a rival he will be fighting in November.
“He seemed like one of those insecure, wannabe tough guys, not quite tough,” Liddell explained to MMA Crossfire over the phone. “I told my manager, who is actually my wife (Heidi), I don’t know if I want to play that part. She said, ‘Well, you want to be an actor, right?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ She said, ‘Well, you know that part, right?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ She said, ‘Well then, play it!’ And it turned out pretty good.”
“Silencer” also stars Danny Trejo, Robert LaSardo, Nikki Leigh, Johnny Messner, and Tito Ortiz (19-12-1), a former Liddell training partner and UFC hall of famer that fought “The Iceman” twice in the UFC. The two will meet again for the third time courtesy of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy MMA promotion this November at the LA Forum in Inglewood, California on Nov. 24. The film was shot in December 2017 into January 2018 and was filmed primarily around the surrounding Los Angeles area.
“I actually didn’t know Tito was in the movie until just recently,” Liddell laughed. “Someone sent me the poster and I thought they added him to the poster to be funny.”
The two UFC legends did not interact on the set, but it would not have been a problem, according to Liddell. “We would have been fine,” he said. “I’m a professional. I don’t like being around the guy, but we could have handled it. But this was back in December and January so we weren’t even close to putting the fight together.”
Liddell shared his thoughts on the performance of Ortiz, who plays the role of “Timothy,” Frank’s (Johnny Messner) friend and military colleague in the film.
“I think Tito looked better than he has in past performances, not saying much, but he did okay, I guess,” Liddell said. “Better than he usually does. He did call a Mexico, a Mexico, twice, but I don’t know. That was kind of weird.”
So, how much of “The Iceman” is in Nelson Salvatore?
“Nels is definitely not me,” Liddell clarified. “I think I would have switched with Tito’s character if I wanted to play someone more like me. I think Tito could have played my character, an insecure tough guy, but it was fun playing a different role, playing a wannabe tough guy that I don’t like. It was fun to play.”
Athough Liddell was only on set for two days, he learned a lot working with experienced actors like Trejo and Messner. “All the actors I worked with were great,” he emphasized. “I knew them, I saw their work. Working with Danny Trejo was awesome. My opening scene was with him and for me that made it real easy to get warmed up into playing the part. Going across from Danny made you feel like you were in the moment, that you were really there.”
The way Liddell sees it, “Silencer” opens the door wider to a promising movie career.
“I enjoy doing movies,” Liddell said. “I’m working at it, trying to get better at it. This is the next step forward. I like doing it, and I’ll keep doing it as long as they want me.”
Lidell is currently preparing a final camp for the Ortiz fight, but is pleased with the film and his performance.
“You don’t get to me see punch Tito, but you’ll get to see that soon enough.”