There’s a pretty straight forward path to becoming a UFC champion. Once you’ve made it into the league, you just have to keep winning all your fights and eventually you’ll get a title shot. Making it in Hollywood is a much murkier affair. All the talent and charisma in the world isn’t going to land you any roles unless you have the right gatekeepers opening doors for you.
Ronda Rousey has the William Morris Agency on her side, and they’ve been hard at work developing her from a fledgling actor to a hot box office property. She also has a few people she respects that blazed a trail ahead of her. Here’s who she mentioned as Hollywood influences in an interview with FOX Sports Australia:
“It’s a huge compliment,” she said of being compared to The Rock. “He definitely provides a model that I can follow, both him and Gina Carano have provided really good examples I can pull from to do my own play on a movie career.”
“It’s really helpful to have someone like him to show you can come from an entirely different industry and still succeed in Hollywood. I’m trying my best to do the same.”
Gina Carano was the proto-Rousey that carried the mantle of women’s mixed martial arts from 2006 to 2009. But after a confidence crushing loss to Cris Cyborg, Carano left the sport for Hollywood. Steven Soderbergh built an entire movie around her called Haywire, and she also appeared in Fast & Furious 6. There’s more interesting work on her resume, but what really sticks out next for her is a part in the Marvel film Deadpool.
Like Rousey, Carano had a bunch of doubt thrown her way when she crossed over from cage fighting to acting – some of it deserved. Soderbergh ended up redubbing her entire performance in Haywire, making people wonder if the original audio was so terrible he had no other choice. Future roles tended to be ‘strong and silent’ types, but she showed a major improvement as the lead in John Stockwell’s In The Blood.
Carano definitely showed what kind of challenges Rousey might encounter and overcome in Hollywood, while The Rock shows what dizzying heights her stardom may reach if she plays her cards right. With role models like that, Ronda Rousey seems to have a pretty solid base from which to build. So with all the career stuff seemingly taken care of, all she has to do now is pull off the actual acting part.