During a recent episode of 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff spoke on why Steve Austin’s character worked so well as a babyface. Here’s what he had to say:
He was forced into that by the evil Mr. McMahon. He became a renegade. At the core of that character, he was a renegade. People love renegades, especially when they’re standing up to the system and fighting the power……he’s a babyface. The point is, there was a story. The reason you were willing to accept Tony Soprano as a babyface, the reason why he was a protagonist is because you understood his motivations, and you could relate to those motivations. The story allowed you to. The story connected you to that character. He had admirable qualities – he loved his family, he had a sense of right and wrong as distorted and twisted as it may be compared to most of society. He believed in it, and that’s a quality that people can relate to and believe in.
But the story behind Tony Soprano and the looks we got at Tony Soprano’s life and his fears and insecurities helped you relate to that character and accept him as a babyface. The same thing was true with Steve Austin. The same thing was true with the Jax character in Sons of Anarchy. The same thing is true with a lot of Marvel characters today. They have flaws, and flaws are OK. Nobody is perfect. The idea of the 1970s and 1980s babyface – I don’t believe you can have anymore because the audience has changed and shifted. But there still has to be a story that connects you to characters in a way that you either really like them or you really hate them. Their personal flaws are not necessarily automatic disqualifiers, and in some cases, if those flaws are admirable flaws – family, friends, loyalty – and you can understand it because the fucking story told you to and gave you permission to, it’ll work.
You can listen HERE.
Credit: 83 Weeks. H/T 411Mania.