I was Rocky’s Hair Stylist back in the late 1990s. He had just moved to Hollywood from Tennessee and was trying to break into the industry; working various jobs to make ends meet. From being a promoter for Jack Daniels, to being a bartender at clubs.
You know, the life of a struggling artist! Paying real life dues!
Our client/hair stylist relationship was a positive one. I enjoyed making this unique looking actor look ‘even better.’ It wasn’t difficult, he was already striking. I just put the finishing touches on him.
After time, as he began booking more and more gigs, the studio and production companies would have his hair cut on set. My role as his Hair Stylist was no more. Ironically, in Hollywood, this is the nature of the beast and very common.
Today, I see Rocky frequently at Gold’s Gym-Hollywood; always focused in an intense work-out regimen.
!!Don’t bother The Rocky when he’s working out!!
He is a full time Stuntman and is working towards his ‘dream job’: being a Stunt Coordinator.
North Hollywood has become his second home. If not shooting at CBS Radford, you’ll find him at his favorite dining spots, Hugo’s Coldwater Canyon or Pitta Kitchen, studying scripts.
Half Saudi Arabian and half Tennesseean (wrap your mind around that for a moment), he laughs at most of his stunt jobs because he’s cast as the ‘perfect terrorist.’ “I love it! It pays the bills. I’m happy to be the terrorist if that’s what’s going to put the bacon on the table.”
Rocky sat down with me at Starbuck’s The Grove, greeting me with a warm hug. He couldn’t wait to update me about his life. He’s excited. And he should be. He’s planning well and wisely:
Waide Riddle- Hey, Rocky, you look great as ever. Even better than I remember.
Rocky Abou-Sakher- Thank you. I’m feeling good.
WR– You should be. You’re shooting two projects and got three in the can. Not bad.
RAS-(He chuckles pondering these facts.) Yeah…
WR-You’re from Tennessee.
RAS– Yes. Half Tennesseean and half Saudi Arabian. My mom’s from West Virginia… I went to school at Middle Tennessee State. Then got involved into the rodeo circuit.
WR– Rodeo circuit?! No way! (I laugh)
RAS– Yes, way! I rode and did it all.
WR– You actually rode.
WR– Damn, I love it. I remember as a kid in Texas going to the rodeos in the 60s and 70s and watching in awe. It’s a completely different world, isn’t it?
RAS– It is, but I loved it.
WR– You miss it?
RAS– Yeah, parts… It’s in my blood.
WR– Where in Tennessee are you from?
RAS– McEwen! And raised Catholic!
WR– You know, Rocky, got a lot going on in those veins of yours.
(We both laugh)
WR– You are one hot blooded man.
RAS– You might say that.
WR– You’re definitely on a roll right now with your career. What is your goal… what do you want to achieve?
RAS– I want to be a full time Stunt Coordinator. That’s my Love.
WR– Do you have a ‘dream job’?
RAS– YES! Being cast to do Stunts in the “The Magnificent Seven.” An amazing experience.
WR– Do you think it will take anything away from the original classic? The original is a true favorite on many ‘Best Lists.’
RAS– I hear what you’re saying, and no. It’s a fantastic homage to the original. If anything, it will only celebrate it and honor it. I was in love with the first one and to be apart of this remake, it’s a job I will forever be proud of.
WR– Point taken… now, you were very insistent on bringing up your project, “Boulevard.” It was Robin Williams last film project and you were Stunt Coordinator… I’m giving you the floor…
RAS- Waide, it was a privilege to work with such a great artist as Robin. He was a genius. He was so discipled and could break down a script so easily. He was nice and genuine to everyone on set. Now, I was extremely disappointed that the LGBT community did not do more for the film. Support it. Market it. Whatever. It was a great film with an important message and the film disappeared. What happened?
WR– I remember a couple of trailers and a couple of short reviews in local magazines… and that’s it.
RAS– Yeah. That’s what I mean. I was really disappointed that the gay community didn’t jump on this one. Robin plays a man who comes out in his later years and the journey he takes to explore who he is…
( His hands go up in frustration and he shakes his head in personal disbelief)
WR– (I pause myself; I feel his annoyance) I’m sorry… hmm… I don’t have an answer to that, Rocky. Maybe, perhaps, it will get a second life during awards season.
RAS– I hope. It deserves it…
WR– Let’s switch gears…“Mad Max: Fury Road,” one of my favorites this year, what did you think of the Stunt Department’s work?
RAS– Fun. Practical. Entertaining.
WR– Another favorite,“The Town.”
WR– I agree. From start to finish. I personally think Jeremy Renner was robbed on that one. Have any favorites this year of your own because of Stunts?
RAS– “Mission Impossible” … “Southpaw.”
WR– Favorite color?
WR– Boxers or briefs?
RAS– Boxers, briefs and none.
(We both laugh.)
WR– You’re versatile. Do you have any advise for someone interested in pursuing Stunts?
RAS– Get a second job to support your stunt habit. (He laughs with a devilish grin)
WR– Excellent advice. A third and fourth part time job, too. True life in Hollywood… Marriage Equality, how do you stand?
RAS– Oh, yeah. Why in the hell would anyone care who you get married to. They’re called ‘stupid people.’ Stupid.
WR– Do you want me to use that word?
RAS– Yes. Stupid. Cause that’s what they are. I can’t believe people are obsessed with a subject that shouldn’t have been a subject in the first place…
WR– I love seeing you riled like this… OK, now, what is your mission?
RAS– Climate Change. It is THE TOPIC that should be on everyone’s lips. Period. That’s what people should be talking about. Not who’s getting married to who. Greenland is melting. Iceland is melting. Antarctica is melting…
How do you feel about it?
WR– Well, I believe we have great influence on the Earth. Mother Nature and Father Nature are going to pretty much do what they want to us. We, Humankind, are in the way. We are very irresponsible on how we are treating our ‘Home.’ Our planet. And, nature will have a consequence for that. We are now seeing it everyday around the world, just as you stated.
RAS– And that’s just the beginning. How can someone not see it?
WR & RAS– Stupid.
WR– “WestWorld” the series… you’re?..
RAS– Stunt work as a ‘cowboy.’
WR– That’s it? That’s all you can tell me?
RAS- Confidentiality Clause… it’s all I can say.
WR– Oh, C’mon… “WestWorld,” it’s based on the 1973 Sci- Fi film starring Yul Brynner and James Brolin… now, what would you like to add regarding the series?
RAS– Sorry, I can’t.
WR– Well, did you at least have fun?
RAS– Kick- ass!
WR– (I’m laughing) OK, I tried. Is there any stunt you haven’t done that you really really want to do?
RAS– Yeahhhh… be lit on fire and do a high free fall.
WR– … and that’s Rocky’s typical day at work.
RAS– I love it!
WR– Congratulations. I’m very proud of you. I love seeing my friends succeed and thanks for giving me your time.
RAS– That’s it? We’re finished? That was fun.
WR– You can save me another interview in the future.
We both stand and he gives me a power hug. When you get a Rocky hug, you know you’ve been hugged!
WR– Thank you.
RAS– Thanks, buddy.