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Samoa Joe's Biggest Challenge on Peacock's Twisted Metal? The Heat Under That Sweet Tooth Mask
Playing a psychotic clown really turns up the heat!
With Peacock's Twisted Metal (all 10 episodes drop tomorrow), professional wrestler turned actor Samoa Joe tackles his first major live-action role as Sweet Tooth, a lovably demented clown with no moral compass and an ice cream truck packed full of deadly weapons. Chatting with SYFY WIRE about the video game adaptation ahead of the SAG-AFTRA strike, Joe explained the challenges of finding the physicality of such an unpredictable villain who flits between emotions faster than a hummingbird.
"He is very chaotic — both internally and externally," he told us. "So whatever whim catches him at whatever time, you gotta switch into that mode and that moment and be ready to be just as crazy as he is."
While the fan favorite character featured in the hit PlayStation franchise was ultimately voiced by executive producer Will Arnett in post-production, Joe provided all of the physical work, acting alongside — and sometimes putting the beat down on — his fellow series co-leads: Anthony Mackie (John Doe), Stephanie Beatriz (Quiet), and Thomas Haden Church (Agent Stone).
Wanting cohesion between performance and voiceover, Joe and Arnett met up to discuss Sweet Tooth before filming even took place. "We had gotten together and generally discussed what he saw, what he was hoping for. And for me, it was just a lot of studying his previous work and understanding the inflections and the tone that he delivers with and trying to keep that in the back of my head as I’m playing the character."
Samoa Joe Talks Sweltering Twisted Metal Shoot
He described the production — which took place in New Orleans last summer — as "incredibly fun," especially once he got behind the wheel of the ice cream truck, whose deceivingly innocent jingle signals a brutal demise for anyone in the vicinity.
"You’ve grown up seeing this iconic truck rolling down the highway with chain guns mounted on the side," he said. "And then to actually be in the truck and see the guns spinning up, it makes for quite the wonderful moment."
The only downside of shooting in Louisiana in the summertime was the heat, which Samoa Joe was only too aware of while constantly under the Sweet Tooth mask. "It is a recipe for moisture-filled disaster," he confessed. "But the shoot was fun and what we put out was more than worth it."
Working in New Orleans did have its advantages, though. As a native of The Big Easy, Mackie enjoys the status of a local legend with plenty of connections across town.
"When he makes a food recommendation, he’ll send a little call or something ahead of time and everybody [at the restaurant] will treat you like family," Joe concluded. "He’s the guy to know if you’re in New Orleans, that is for sure. I think he should just run for mayor at this point."
All 10 episodes of Twisted Metal hit Peacock tomorrow — Thursday, July 27.
**This interview was conducted before the actors' strike.**