Stratus knuckles up for film debut with Bounty Hunters

Brian Lusczki     March 2, 2012

For a practitioner of such a relaxing and spiritual exercise as yoga, Trish Stratus sure has built a reputation for being a scraper.

Granted, much of that comes from knocking noggins for a decade with the best offered by World Wrestling Entertainment - the mecca of the business that saw its greatest success during Stratus' time with the company.

But even those who had trouble differentiating the performer in the ring from the actual individual felt that perhaps the seven-time Women's Champion would mellow out upon retiring from the squared circle to run Stratusphere, which has become the country's largest yoga studio, located in her home area of Vaughan.

They should have known better.

Trading in her traditional workout gear for a whole lot of bullets in the action flick Bounty Hunters, you can almost sense the twinkle forming in her eye when Stratus talks about how the magic of Hollywood has introduced a new way for her to appreciate delivering a good tail-kicking.

"It's pretty awesome to be honest with you," she explained to on seeing herself for the first time on the silver screen, which occurred last year at Actionfest Film Festival.

"I've seen myself fight for ten years. But to see myself fight with sound effects was a whole other thing that I've never seen before and man, is it cool!"

In Bounty Hunters (available on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, a few hours before Stratus takes a commemorative red-carpet walk to promote the film at the AMC theatre at Yonge and Dundas) the former fitness model plays Jules Taylor, who is part of a team of fugitive recovery agents charged with the task of bringing in an informant that has a $100,000 bounty on his head.

But a mafia boss also has an interest in this man and offers the squad ten times the fortune if they simply turn the stoolie over to him, which they resist.

This doesn't sit well with the bigwig so he brings in a team of assassins to take care of business. And if some blood gets spilled along the way, so be it.

Seeds for the project were planted in the winter of 2009, when director Patrick McBrearty (Psycho Ward) pitched the script to Stratus during a Christmas fundraiser at her yoga studio. She read it over the holidays and filming started the following year, with Stratus learning the fighting form of krav maga for the movie.

Its premier at Actionfest was well received and sparked interest amongst fans of the genre. But predictably, their anticipation paled in comparison to that of the wresting fans who've been clamoring for over a year on Twitter and other social media sites for a release date.

While post-production work and shopping a film around for distribution is a time-consuming exercise that is simply just part of the business, Stratus seemed borderline apologetic for the time it took to hit shelves after filming concluded.

"My fans were buzzing about it as soon as they heard I was filming a movie and I just felt bad; like I couldn't give them anything."

But Bounty Hunters is worth the wait, she promised - particularly for one battle scene with supporting actress Andrea James Lui, whose background in martial arts meshed perfectly with Stratus' style when they knuckled up for the cameras.

Because of their respective athletic heritages, the pair not only did their own stunts but were pretty much given free-range by McBrearty to write the fight scenes, which Stratus said produced a bit of "juicy" film history.

"I think we approached the scenes not as stunt women but as fighters and I do believe this is why this movie has such an element of realism to it," she said.

There is a solid chance Bounty Hunters will not be the only time Stratus fans will catch their heroine on the screen this year as there have been a lot of rumblings she will return for another series of WWE's reality show Tough Enough , in which she acted as trainer and coach for a group of aspiring wrestlers.

Rumours of the return of TE grew last year with a premature tweet from fellow coach Bill DeMott announcing another installment of the series will be filmed. But Stratus is quick to clarify nothing has been made official, as WWE has been primarily focused on other projects, including the launch of its own network.

Nonetheless, she is definitely open to the idea.

"I thought it was a great show and I loved working with (trainers) Steve (Austin) and Booker T and Bill,' she said. "It's all about timing with me. As long as I'm available and ready to do it, absolutely."


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