In part two of our interview with punk/indie filmmaker Nathan Mowery, we dive into Relentless capturing the spirit of its subject, Diamond Dallas Page. How Dallas inspires so many people, and Mowery's other recent feature film releases, including I'm Too Old For This Sh*t! – A Heavy Metal Fairy Tale, which is produced by former AEW World Champion Chris Jericho. All of this, and more, is covered in part two of this exclusive interview. Enjoy!
Relentless really captures the spirit of Dallas. It's so in your face, in a good way, and the pacing, it all feels like Dallas. How conscious were you of trying to inject that feeling and vibe of Dallas into the film?
“Man, Dallas is just always unapologetically Dallas Page, and that's what I love about him. He is the same person in the public eye and even behind the scenes. He's probably more of a saint in private. He does a lot of charitable stuff, and he'll call random people who buy the programs. A lot of stuff that he doesn't talk about, and I could put over Dallas' kindness forever. But his personality is always going to shine through, so it wasn't hard to work that in because that's just who he is, and like anything that he touches and is related to, it's also affected by him and his personality.
“DDP Yoga is very much Diamond Dallas Page all throughout. So it's easy to capture it because even when he's like presenting to a lot of people, he'll be like, “Oh, yeah, by the way, I'm going to say fuck. Sorry if that offends you. That's how I speak” (laughs). He is just who he is, and I love that about him. He can get anybody fired up. Whether it's getting old ladies really excited about working out or football players, current wrestlers, bodybuilders, or any type of person that you can think of, he's always trying to inspire them. You always get charged up after talking to him.
“For me, working with Dallas for that long, it's hard not to be inspired to go and do your own thing. It's funny, I left DDP Yoga last summer, and DDP Yoga's probably one of the only full-time jobs that I would do because I love freelance and having freedom and doing my own thing. That's how I am wired and who I am. Dallas is one of the only people that I'd work a steady job for. It was just awesome, and he was always saying, “Hey, Nathan, one of these days you're gonna outgrow me,” and the day I brought it up that I am ready to do my own thing because my freelance stuff is starting to blow up, making it difficult to maintain both at a healthy level, and he was so supportive of all of that.
“You edit a video like Relentless, and you see a story of Dallas leaving his secure job to pursue his own vision, and you edit that for years, of course, it's hard not to be influenced. Also, working with AEW and seeing the same thing with Cody. So you get those take a chance on yourself messages hammering down on your head on a daily basis, so you can't be surprised when you actually do that. I love Dallas, can't say enough good stuff about him.”
I said that the opening of the film, where Dallas walks in slow motion, is a little cheesy. But because it's Dallas, it works, and you accept it.
“I think, usually when people speak like that, they are either just being dramatic or they're trying to hype things up. But everything that Dallas speaks, he speaks with conviction, and he speaks with a deep belief that what he's saying is true. I believe that anyone who listens to Dallas can agree. So when he gives that opening monologue or speaks in an interview, you're like, “Yeah, I hundred percent believe in what this guy is saying,” because that's the effect that Dallas has. You can tell he actually believes in what he is speaking, and he has the credibility and evidence to back up everything that he talks about, so I think that's what makes him be able to say whatever it is that he wants to say, because I do believe it's true. It would be cheesy if it wasn't true, but it is true, so that's what makes it work.”
To this day, people in Hollywood and the general public can still be dismissive of professional wrestling. I do feel the perception of wrestling is changing, and I feel Dallas has been a huge part of people discovering the real and powerful human stories that exist in this world. Would you agree?
“Yeah, definitely. That's the thing I love about Dallas – I think, a lot of times, you see things with Dark Side of the Ring or countless other documentaries of all these wrestlers who have gone through these really dark times, but that's the thing, especially in today's day and age, wrestling is changing a lot. I think even with AEW and their work environment, they're trying to change the way wrestling is perceived. It's no secret the wrestling world and culture hasn't exactly been the healthiest thing in the past, and there has been a lot of people, unfortunately, overtaken by demons. So the thing with Dallas coming in and offering this level of positivity, offering a hand to people who are beat up, whether it be physically or mentally and helping them by extending a branch to get out, I think is just incredible. And I think it changes that.
“If you can have someone like Jake ‘The Snake' Roberts be sober and be able to go into AEW, that's huge. That's a testament to show that everything that Dallas talks about to be absolutely true. So, yeah, I absolutely do believe that he's changing it for the better, and I think wrestling is, I hope, on a trajectory to be just a healthier thing in general. Just between DDP helping all the vets out and just this newer generation of wrestlers – you know, it's funny because a lot of the old-timers I meet are like, “Back in my day, we used to party.” But it's just like, yeah, well, nowadays young wrestlers are not about doing cocaine and cheating on their wives, they just go play video games. I feel that is a way healthier way of going about it (laughs).”
Now that Relentless has been out for a while, what have the reactions been like? Have they exceeded expectations?
“It's really exceeded expectations for me because anytime that I put out anything, and I think a lot of people who are creative's can attest to this, it's like: “Is anyone gonna care about anything that I ever put out?” Me throwing that out there, I knew just based upon the kind of results and reactions we got by releasing YouTube content or Facebook content, and how much that was able to affect people's lives. You know, we saw what the Arthur video was able to do, but now we have all these stories in one place, so I knew it was going to affect people in a positive manner.
“Now it's just like, we get a lot of messages about how it's affecting people in a positive way and – it has like a five star review on Amazon Prime. It has a bunch of reviews, where you just go through them and everybody is saying incredible things about it. I think we'll really start to see the impact that Relentless has had in a few months from now, when people have implemented those kinds of things into their personal lives and start seeing physical manifestations of those goals, so I'm excited to see that later down the line. So it's going to be awesome.”
Speaking of your journey, you had back-to-back releases. You had Relentless, Cherry Bombs, and I'm Too Old For This Sh*t! – A Heavy Metal Fairy Tale. Tell us about that?
“So Relentless came out, I believe, last week of December. Then I did a video called the Cherry Bombs Presents: Macabaret, and it was kind of a concert film/art type horror thing. It's just like – it's a really abstract piece. But it was like a live stream, and we streamed it like nine times, and it did really well. It was visually just the wildest thing that I ever did. I don't even know how to explain it. It felt like Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses meets Kill Bill meets a music video – there was just a lot of stuff going on. It's visually an odd thing, but I was really proud of it.
“The other one that I put out was a documentary Chris Jericho produced called: I'm Too Old For This Sh*t! – A Heavy Metal Fairy Tale. That came out the first week of January, and that's also doing really well. I'm so excited, that was a – we were talking about retrospective versus real-time docs. The first half of it [I'm Too Old For This Sh*t!] is retrospective, and the last half of it is in real-time. So it's like, let me catch you up on how we get here. Alright, you're caught up, now let's do the thing.
“But basically, the story of that documentary is, there was a heavy metal band in the eighties called Siren. They weren't that big, but they were blowing up and picking up a lot of steam, and they were going to get signed and everything. That fell through, and they kind of fell apart and fell out, as a lot of bands and friends do, and then you fast forward thirty-something-years later – a lot of these guys haven't played in bands or anything. The guy that we follow is the drummer, and he's working a regular job. He's just a dad, a normal human being. And then all of a sudden, all these people from all over the world start messaging on Facebook, “Hey, didn't you used to be in Siren back in the day?” Then one thing led to another, and Siren, the band, gets offered to play this massive festival in Germany. And so it's about the band getting back together and putting aside all their differences and going to have the dream show, and I just follow them in Germany.
“Jericho was talking to the drummer because they were friends, like, as he was trying to put the band together, and Jericho was like, “This is a great idea for the documentary because one or two things are going to happen, either it's going to be a total sh*t show or you guys are actually going to get together, play great, and they'll actually be a crowd to see it, and that'll be a really heart-warming tale.” So either way, it was going to be great.”
Relentless can now be watched in its entirety on DDP Yoga's Facebook.