You Can Thank Meryl Streep’s Harsh Comments For Convincing Conor McGregor He Should Act In Road House

Conor McGregor in Road House 2024
(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

Although Conor McGregor has been known as one of the world’s most famous mixed martial artists for many years, now he can also officially consider himself an actor. The Road House remake premiered to Amazon Prime Video subscribers on the 2024 movies schedule in March, and it saw McGregor playing Knox, the sinister muscle brought in to fight Jake Gyllenhaal’s Elwood Dalton. So why did McGregor decide to make his acting debut in Road House? As it turns out, some harsh comments from Meryl Streep convinced him to take the leap.

What Meryl Streep Said About Mixed Martial Arts

Back in 2017 (the same year she starred in The Post), Meryl Streep was given the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes, and during her acceptance speech, she had some choice words about what would happen if “outsiders and foreigners” were forced to leave the United States. In her words:

Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

Although her statement was met with applause from the audience, Conor McGregor and other athletes from the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) took issue with her negative perspective on mixed martial arts. Over half a decade later, McGregor thought back on what Streep said, and it motivated him to come aboard Road House.

How Conor McGregor Responded To Her Comments

In an interview with THR, MeGregor explained that there’s more to the athletic fighting he does than just merely throwing punches and kicks. Contrary to what Streep said, there is an art form to it, and he wanted to use Road House as a platform to show how much skill it takes. He explained:

Fighting is the most beautiful form of art, and you know, it’s a great thing to come into this game, which is also art. I was really taken aback because fighting is an art. It’s brutal also, so I can understand. It’s not for somebody to make a mistake; it’s real artistry for those who do what we do, so I came in [to filming Road House] with maybe a little chip on my shoulder and wanting to represent my sport and my art, give my best in this arena.

If you think about it, there’s an added layer of difficulty with shooting fight scenes in movies like Road House, because it’s not as though Conor McGregor and Jake Gyllenhaal were actually beating each other up. Their moves are obviously choreographed, but it all has to look convincing enough so the fighting doesn’t come across as fake when viewers are watching the action unfold. For Road House specifically, some of this work involved the “four pass method” that the stunt coordinator created. That said, there were times McGregor had to be reminded not to punch Gyllenhaal in the face, and once the the latter really got “clocked” by the former.

Working on Road House proved to be wise decision on Conor McGregor’s part, as many critics praised his performance as Knox (although Jake Gyllenhaal’s Dalton performance shouldn’t be overlooked). While Road House’s ending certainly could pave the way for us to see more from either character, there are certainly a number of other projects that McGregor could tackle next. If/when it’s announced he’ll act in another movie or on TV, we’ll let you know.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.