VERNON SCOTT FOR THU, 10/4
Mane is a professional wrestler who has fine-tuned his considerable bulk for an acting career playing a character named Sabretooth in "X-Men (2002)" and, appropriately "How to Make a Monster."
His arrival in Hollywood was seismographic inasmuch as he is 270 pounds, 6-foot-10, but soars to 7-foot-2 for his role as Sabretooth.
For all his size, Mane is in awe of women in high heels.
"I wore lifts for Sabretooth," he complained this week. "It takes time to get used to walking on high heels. I don't know how women do it. Fortunately, I only wore them for six months while we were shooting 'X-Men.'"
Mane, a handsome rascal, is not unaccustomed to pain. For 11 years he took his lumps in the ring as a villain in professional wrestling.
"There's a lot of pain in wrestling," he said.
A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Mane moved to Los Angeles to escape the pain of Canadian winters.
"I'll take palm trees to snow any day," he said. "But I've got to go back up there for the sequel to 'X-Men,' which they're preparing right now.
"I'm used to traveling. As a wrestler I moved around from Canada and the U.S. to England, Germany, France, Japan, Austria, South Africa.
"My ring names were Nitron and Big Sky. In that business you have to come up with a gimmicky name to sell yourself.
"I was the heavy, the heel. They thought my size was intimidating, but I'm really a nice guy. I guess that's why they call wrestling 'acting.'
"I won't say wrestling matches are fixed, but there is a little bit of theatrics involved," which may be the understatement of the year.
"There's skill involved too. It's physically demanding and you can get injured easily if you don't know what you're doing -- or what your opponent is doing.
"For me it was a great career for starting off in the movie business. Anyhow, when you're my size you don't want to sit behind a desk. It would have to be a pretty big desk."
Mane says a wrestling background is excellent preparation for other careers, mentioning Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura and muscleman actor Hulk Hogan. He is too young to remember such ground-breakers as Man-Mountain Dean and other bone-crushers of yore.
"I was lucky enough to get out of wrestling before I became well-known and stereotyped," he said.
"I never wrestled Hogan, but Ventura commentated on a number of my TV matches.
"Acting is a lot easier than wrestling although actors work longer hours, but they treat you better. And now I'm watching my weight so I don't get too heavy for the camera."
Mane seeks to avoid being typed in action pictures, hoping to establish a versatile career in drama and comedy.
"The transition from professional wrestler to actor was a pretty natural one," he said the other day.
"Wrestling is performed on the hardest stage in the world -- the four-sided kind where you can't hide anything. It's all out there for the world to see.
"As a wrestler, you create a character, a totally different persona, which translates easily into acting for stage or screen."
So far Mane has made several features and TV movies, including "Sinbad," "The Adventures of Joe Dirt," "Star Fighters," "Party of Five," "Son of the Beach" and "The Choppy Show."
He would like to work with Schwarzenegger someday, saying "It would be great if we could do something together. Our backgrounds are very similar and I admire his style.
"I'm looking for fantasy pictures and all kinds of projects. I studied acting extensively, but I don't want to be pigeon-holed because of my size."
"But there are a lot of tall leading ladies out there like Nicole Kidman ... " he noted. And I wouldn't mind working with women like that at all.
"'How to Make a Monster' is being released Oct. 11. It's about a computer-video game and my character adds weaponry and violence to it. Things go awry and the game comes to life and gets carried away.
"It's terrible, I don't get the girl. And I want to do that in the future.
That's why I'm starting my own production company."
At 36, Mane is pushing all the buttons to build a major Hollywood career, including a turn with Pamela Sue Anderson in an Oct. 27 episode of "VIP."
"I don't plan on returning to wrestling," he concluded with a grin.