When WWE Studios announced they'd acquired the rights to the Leprechaun movie franchise, there was never any doubt who would star - Dylan Postl had been playing a leprechaun character on WWE TV for years, albeit a very different kind from the primeval beast that the movie intends to reveal.
Unusually for a WWE superstar, Postl in person seems slightly uncomfortable talking about himself, perhaps because in the ring he has mostly gotten by with grunts and body language. But at a Comic-Con roundtable, we managed to get a few good words out of him.
He never thought of being a movie star, thinking that becoming a wrestler like his hero the Ultimate Warrior was an unlikely enough dream for a little person. "I always wanted to do it," he says, "It was my only interest. I didn't like football. I didn't like baseball. I liked wrestling. Since I was six years old...A guy that is four foot, my stature, in a six foot, 250 pound world, shouldn't have made it. I made it.
Never dreamed of making a movie. Never. Never. Because I just cared about wrestling. Always thought, 'Ah, that'll be fun if it ever happens.' Because there's always hurdles for people like me. Then the Muppets came up, then Leprechaun came up. I was like, 'Wow, this is great!' And I still hold, and I just realized, no one has ever done two movies in a year while with the WWE. We can use that to our advantage. It's a sound bite."
When I asked if his initial WWE bad-guy persona, "Little Bastard," inspired the new Leprechaun in any way, it was clear he'd rather forget that character, saying "I hated it, I hated being called that." He's too nice for the name, mentioning that he made sure to pull his punches when placed opposite non-wrestling costars. "I didn't want to hurt them. The girls are too pretty and the guys are too pretty too! It was easy to pull the punches with that, where with WWE, I work with those guys every day of my life, so I just want to punch them in the face anyway."
Which isn't to say he was always happy - the heavy prosthetics made for some hard times, he recalls. "Day three, I'm in that make-up chair, and I was SO angry. I don't know why I was angry that day. I just remember I was so angry at the world, at being in this stupid make-up chair with these stupid prosthetics for three hours, knowing I'm going to take it off and I'm going to have to take it off and then I'm going to have to put it on again for three hours. I was going, 'I don't want to do this.' I said, 'Zach [Lipovsky, director], we don't need the make-up perfect this time.' He said, 'Yes, we have a tight shot.' I said, 'You always tell me we have a tight shot, Zach.' 'I just want it to be perfect.'"
He continues, "My eyes are very sensitive to touching - I blink a lot, and they had to get prosthetics, I swear they are touching in my eyeball. I was just - Toby and the special effects people, I was just cussing, I said, 'Toby, stop.' Every cuss word in the dictionary. But, seeing it last night, I am so happy that I went through it. It is so worth it! It is incredible how the creature turned out."
To blow off the stress, cast and crew came up with a unique way of bonding, which they called "High fives at five." As Postl puts it, "Five o'clock, every day, they'd blare - I forget which song it was - they'd blare it over the walkies, and everyone would stop shooting. No matter if we were in the middle of a scene, we would stop it down, blare the music, and everyone would have to high five. It was one of those uplifting, family things. It was awesome. It was really one of the coolest things I've ever experienced, shooting this film."
Much like his coworker the Undertaker, Hornswoggle is most definitely "old school." Asked about the effects, he proudly states that "I think this is one of the only movies this year that uses no CGI. We did it all. In this day and age, that's pretty hard to say. Every movie uses it. A lot of movies are just CGI. cough*NinjaTurtles*...the new Ninja Turtle film looks nothing like the old ones. That's what I grew up on. That's my movie! And it's nothing like that. I'm going to see it, and I hope it blows me away, and I hope it changes my mind. But so many of these movies, man. You can only make something fake so much, until you realize, oh, that's odd. If you're going to blow up a car, blow up a car! I don't know. I just don't enjoy CGI films."
Leprechaun Origins premieres On-Demand today.