Ronda Rousey Says Making Mile 22 Was ‘Therapeutic’

The one-time WWE star says her role in the new CIA thriller let her show a more vulnerable side.

In both her early acting roles and her previous career as a UFC champion fighter, Ronda Rousey says she has been trained to hide her feelings — which is why her role in the new movie Mile 22, as a covert CIA operative named Sam Snow, was such a nice change of pace for her.

“There’s a lot more vulnerability to her that I’ve never really had the opportunity to portray up to this point,” says Rousey when we sit down with her and co-star Carlo Alban at the press day for Mile 22. “I think it was not just a great experience, but an actual release or therapeutic for me in some way to let that out — maybe it’s been pent-up this whole time and I’ve just been waiting for this opportunity!”

Rousey’s character Sam is part of an elite team led by Mark Wahlberg’s Jimmy Silva, who are tasked with going on the missions that diplomacy or even military action cannot solve. As a result, they are officially not part of the U.S. intelligence structure or even considered U.S. citizens — but they are among the most highly trained and ruthlessly efficient operatives the country sends out.

Co-star Carlo Alban (Prison Break), who plays team member William “Dougie” Douglas III, spoke about the training that the actors went through to nail their roles.

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“We trained with an Navy Seal and a Army Ranger,” he recalls. “We also trained with a Marine for a couple of days, and there were a lot of members of the military that were also on the crew.” He adds, “We had weapons training. They taught us how to use these weapons properly and safely, and they taught us how to represent them, because we were representing them in a manner that was accurate and respectful.”

Mile 22, which is directed by Peter Berg (Patriots Day) and also stars Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead), Iko Uwais (The Raid) and John Malkovich (Deepwater Horizon), is out in theaters now.

Don Kaye is a Los Angeles-based entertainment journalist and associate editor of Den of Geek. His other current and past outlets include Syfy, United Stations Radio Networks, Fandango, MSN, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Screencrush, Fangoria and many more. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @donkaye