Chuck Liddell Talks Getting Into Character for New Role in WWII Film D-Day, Retirement for MMA, UFC Fighters Joining WWE

With his mixed martial arts career officially behind him, UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell is diving headfirst into his passion for acting with his role at Lt. General Omar Bradley in the new World War II film, D-Day. Directed by Nick Lyon and set for release in select theaters, digitally and on demand on Friday, D-Day centers around the 2nd Ranger Battalion and the bloody Battle of Pointe du Hoc during the invasion of Normandy, where soldiers had to scale a 100-foot cliff in order to secure a battery of German-seized cannons. The film also stars another UFC Hall of Famer in Randy Couture as well as Weston Cage Coppola and Jesse Kove.

Ahead of the film's release Liddell sat down with ComicBook.com to discuss why he chose the film and reflect on his time since his final fight against Tito Ortiz back in November 2018.

ComicBook: What attracted you to this role and this project?

Liddell: You know, it's the 75th anniversary of D-Day coming up. Well, when we shot it [June 6, 1944], it was coming up, but it's past obviously. They sent it to me, I read the script, I thought it would turn out well. I think it's a good job, it's an action packed film. It's a good story and a great part of our history.

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(Photo: Courtesy of Cinedigm)

Just curious, did you have any family serve in World War II?

My grandfather did, yes. He didn't talk much about it. He never did.

How do you get inside the head of a commanding officer for a role like this?

That was the hard part. You're trying to put yourself in a place where you know you need to get this done. It needs to be done, and you know you're sending these guys out on a suicide mission pretty much.

It's got to weigh on you. "I need to get this done. I need to send these guys, but most of them probably aren't coming back." That's a hard decision to do that. I liked that about the story, that it shows you that the humanizing thing that shows you about how harsh reality of war is. These men and women who are serving out there are required to make sacrifices like that all the time. They're protecting people that they care about, you know.

D-Day
(Courtesy of Cinedigm)

When MMA fans look at this poster of you and Randy, they'll probably immediately think back to the rivalry you guys had across your three fight. Is it weird being in the same movie with a guy that, at one point, you were trying to beat the hell out of in the Octagon?

No, not with Randy. I actually knew Randy when he coached at Oregon he came in, I met him at Cal Poly when I was bartending. So I've known him for years. We're both competitive if anything, especially what we're good at, fighting. There's always that competitive nature, but I really like Randy.

The last time a lot of people saw you was the Tito Ortiz fight back in November. You posted a video afterwards about how you were going into that fight looking for a sense of purpose. Roughly 10 months later, do you feel that you found it?

Yeah, I think I got that part out of my system that allowed me to go... Kind of looking back, I wish I'd respected the fact that I'd been out of a fight camp for eight years.

Thing is, I talk about ring rust. I was never worried about ring rust because it was never a thing but half of my career, even if I had a year off, during that year, I'd been in three camps for other people. This is eight years of no camp at all. So, you know, I didn't really respect it as much as I should've. I think it lit a fire under my ass to get going and doing something else and get serious about something else. So, and movies is one of those things I really still enjoy doing. If I'm not going to be fighting I've got to find something else I really can put my energy behind and start working at.

Are you indeed retired?

Yeah, I'm retired. I don't think I'll be stepping back in.

During an interview you did with Larry King last year leading up to the Ortiz fight the subject of WWE came up. At any point during your fighting career did Vince McMahon ever reach out to you with an offer to wrestle?

No. Actually, I used to hang out with Shane McMahon every once in a while, we would go out and party sometimes. Good dude. And he said 'If you're ever seriously interested about coming over we should talk.' But, you know I never really... I love fighting and I love being in real fighting and I mean I got nothing against WWE. I wouldn't mind doing that now too. It's just acting, going out and doing the acting. That's more like acting. Those guys, they're very, it's a lot of training for those guys. Those guys do some pretty impressive things in the ring as far as... I mean it's all staged, but it's still you know, it's not easy.

One of the things I've always had with that sport too, is... the difference between my sport and their things, see you're putting your trust in the other guy not to hurt you. Surrendering your body to him. Like, throw you and hope he doesn't hurt you. In my sport, I'm responsible for you not hurting me. I like having the responsibility on my end not yours.

In the past few years we've seen a lot of MMA fighters make the jump to wrestling. Why do you think a lot of fighters are finding success jumping from one to the other?

I think you bring the fan base with you. And then, if you can get out there and perform and do your [stuff], it's a little more over the top. I mean you see a lot of that with the fighters nowadays in the UFC. Seems like they're taking a cue from the WWE guys, some of them.

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You just get a little more over the top with the guys. Some things you've done before. You've faced-off with people, you've talked s— to guys. There's a lot of going back and forth. I think to do that it's just setting if you're willing to get out there and perform.

D-Day will be available in select theaters and on VOD and digital Friday, September 13.