The Notorious Renaissance – InkedMag


In the realm of modern-day prize fighters, one name reigns supreme: Conor McGregor. As McGregor embarks on his latest adventure in Hollywood, stepping into the villainous role of Knox in Road House with characteristic aplomb, he brings a wealth of experience and passion. With his chiseled physique, steely gaze, and undeniable charisma, McGregor electrifies audiences, making a smashing mark on the silver screen.

McGregor’s aura doesn’t end with his tattoos or legendary UFC stats. From the iconic tiger sprawled across his abdomen to intricate designs adorning his arms, McGregor’s ink goes beyond body art, a visual tribute to his journey and unyielding spirit.

What makes his leap from the ring to the reel so intriguing? It’s more than the mere allure of a cool celebrity crossover. It’s a testament to the ever-evolving landscape of entertainment, where boundaries between sport, entertainment, and lifestyle blur to transcend convention. His journey from the gritty streets of Dublin to the glitz of Hollywood speaks volumes about the power of unflinching self-belief. Buckle up and brace yourself as McGregor unleashes his inimitable brand of magic.

SP: Your journey from MMA fighter to cast of Road House is remarkable given your working-class Dublin street-cred roots. I’m sure you have turned down multiple movie roles in favor of this robust opportunity to remake an iconic film. What did Director Doug Liman say to you to get you fired up?

CM: Doug and producer Joel Silver presented the total package. First off, I’m a big fan of Patrick Swayze and the original Road House. Hearing Jake Gyllenhaal was involved, alongside Billy Magnussen, that really pricked my ears up — the opportunity to join an amazing cast. Shooting in the Dominican Republic, with the backing of Amazon Prime and MGM Studios —that was a big draw too. Then there was sheer lucky timing. [I was] recovering from an injury from my last contest, so I had time off to allow for the shoot.

SP: As someone known for their fierce competitiveness, how did you temper down your inherent “alpha-ness” to embrace collaborative engagement with castmates?

CM: We had an amazing team that encouraged me to add my flair in the right places. That was key. Action director and stunt coordinators Garrett Warren and Steve Brown gave us lots of free reign — they laid the foundations and the bricks, then we added our own throttle and drama to it. They were so receptive and gave us so much confidence with doing that, that we continued to evolve the action sequences every step of the way.


SP: Road House is a beloved cult classic. Tell us about a meaningful scene that made it into the final cut — where you feel you truly embodied the Knox character.


CM: Right off the jump, busting into the roadhouse, I wanted to establish the character in an impactful way. Each time I added a layer to this “man about his business,” and I had a clear objective. You know it’s all business and pleasure with Knox, and that was really fun to play up in key scenes.

SP: Jake’s take on Dalton is much more philosophical than just a guy with a moral compass. In the original, Dalton is a bouncer with a sense of justice. How do you think Swayze’s 1989 rendition of Dalton would fare in 2024?

CM: Jeez, not so well. He probably wouldn’t last too long. This is why you see a more complex, sinister side of Dalton. Total credit to Doug Liman for reimagining this character for a new generation. It wasn’t written in the script this way; the Dalton character evolved as we shot, deepening as Doug got a sense of the way Jake and I amplified the conflict when we went head-to-head. Doug suddenly saw a wild look in Jake’s eyes that he wanted to draw out more, exploring darker shades. I was fascinated by this, that the mood could veer off in interesting directions based on chemistry the director sees on set.

SP: That must have been cathartic, sensing the movable feast of a moment on set. The film industry often requires actors to undergo physical transformations for roles. Since you didn’t have to “get ripped” for Road House, what out-of-your-comfort-zone challenge would you welcome leaning into for a deeper acting role? Singing, surfing, dancing, drumming… anything come to mind?

CM: I’m open to it all. My life experiences lend well to any role. I look at my life and feel I’m so far removed from reality at times, so why wouldn’t I give a new challenge a shot? Sometimes I feel like I’m an animal in the zoo, you know? No one really knows the real Conor. They’ve got estimations and assumptions, but that’s it. Let’s see what happens. Maybe more acting projects down the line, but right now it’s back to the fight game for me.

SP: When I saw how intricate, visceral, and “full send” the Road House fight sequences played out, I was gobsmacked, thinking… this is how McGregor gets over an injury? Ironically, your UFC trainer has to “protect you from fake fighting” in order for you to crush it on your return to the octagon. Were there any specific stunts that your trainer or attorney forbade you from engaging in on the set of Road House?

CM: No, nothing was officially off-limits. I do all my own stunts.

SP: Seriously? Even enduring simulated body blows and leg sweeps? Would you say you did 50 or 60% of the stunts that made it to the final cut?

CM: I’d say 98%. I was pretty much healed from the injury, but not to the point of returning to competition. The only thing they wouldn’t let me do was the scene where I fell backward down a flight of stairs.

SP: I’m glad they drew the line at the catastrophic stair crush.

CM: On the heavy fight choreography days, they had stunt doubles standing by at the ready. I just really didn’t think the guys looked like me, so I did it myself.



SP: I suppose that’s your “quality control” on the image and likeness front.

CM: Exactly. I was invested in the outcome at every stage.

SP: I assumed a team of lawyers would have had a list of 20 things that you’re forbidden to do.

CM: They do have a short list, but not for what happens on movie sets.

SP: You have come of age in the UFC arena — rewritten the rules and broken ceiling after perceived ceiling. After such a long and storied association with the league, straight up, what’s your take on Dana White?

CM: Height of respect for Dana. No Dana White, no UFC. He was all in — the boots-on-the-ground foot soldier working 24/7 from inception to rise and is still very hands-on as CEO.

SP: Your animalistic hype screams are legendary and rally up your most loyal fans. To me, it sounds like one part saber tooth tiger to two parts silverback gorilla. What hybrid beast or primal energy are you channeling in that moment?

CM: Gorillas! Check out my upper chest tat. This is my beast mode — my gym’s logo is my version of a gorilla. Straight up, when the silverback sounds, I’m gonna throw down. I channeled this famous image of a Siberian tiger diving for meat when we filmed the insane speedboat fight scene in the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a moment when I have to dive right down, practically into the camera lens to get that effect.

SP: I bet that scene got a visceral reaction at the South by Southwest premiere.

CM: They let out a roar for that one, yeah. Boom!

SP: The Dominican Republic has pretty solid nightlife options. Share memorable behind-the-scenes male bonding moments with co-stars Jake, Billy, and Post Malone that filming fans may get a kick out of.

CM: The most memorable bonding for me was the afterparty at SXSW. That was just wild; we partied till dawn. I made compadres for life on this movie. That we’re all in it together is the most powerful part of it all.

SP: Tell us about the temporary tattoos you sported for this movie. How did the special effects ink help get you into character?

CM: It helped greatly, you know, psychologically, in terms of embodying this hard-as-nails badass. An hour and a half in the chair every day on set, and “Knock-Knox” became the big thing. I actually love the character’s tattoos. The back tattoo was very cool.

SP: As one of the most-followed UFC fighters on social media with more than 70 million followers, what do you consider the most meaningful purpose that you used your social media platform for?

CM: Showing people a positive outlook on life, despite what you’re facing. For me, it’s about promoting positivity. You know, fun and happiness. I try to show fans a glimpse of my life.

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