Interview with Taavi Peelo

Taavi Peelo is the writer, director, and star of the upcoming film, Babyface. The movie will see Taavi playing the role of Johann Hunt, an Estonian hoping to follow his father's path and become a big name in the professional wrestling business. I had a chance to interview him recently and would like to share it with my readers. If you are interested in asking any follow up questions of him, you can find Taavi on Twitter @TaaviPeelo. As always, thanks for reading and make sure to check back frequently for new content.

Red: Your film, Babyface, is due early 2021 and tells the tale of an Estonian wrestler attempting to find fame by following his father's footsteps. What made you decide to make such a film?
Taavi: Originally we were hoping to release it in 2021 which was always the plan in my head. Considering everything that’s going on right now (especially pandemic) I don’t think it’s going to happen. We had to stop everything for months for those reasons. Seems like everything is starting to get back to normal. Slowly, but still. I think 2022 release seems to be little bit more realistic now. Fingers crossed. I always wanted to be an actor and filmmaker. Probably since I was 4 years old and I’m not even kidding. Also, I’ve always been a wrestling fan. Again, since very early years. I think the very first match I actually watched was Big Show vs Rey Mysterio. I can’t remember the year. I always had this idea to make a wrestling movie one day. It was always just a "future idea" until now. Every single year this "future plan" became more realistic. So I thought to myself, you know what? I’m going to make the greatest wrestling movie ever. Something that’s not been done before. Something different. Something that we can all be freaking proud of. I was so lucky to meet these wonderful people from UKW (UK Wrestling) who I have become a very good friends with. Whom welcomed me and other actors into their world. I have to say that I love every single second being part of this wrestling world/community. It’s amazing. You could have the worst day ever. You go there and you forget all your problems. It’s like a second home. Always feels good to go there.

Red: Since the movie will involve England as a core setting, I feel I should ask your thoughts on the #speakingout movement, seeing as it has hit the UK scene pretty fiercely. 
Taavi: Oh, it came like RKO out of nowhere. I woke up. It was beautiful afternoon (Yes, afternoon, don’t judge me) and I see so many posts on social media about the matter. I didn’t really see any details about it. Just people giving their opinions so to speak. So I didn’t know what was going on until a friend of mine messaged me and basically explaining what was happening. I was shocked. I was disgusted and also it made me feel sorry for the people who’s been suffering for so long. It takes some courage to speak out. Huge respect to everyone who spoke out. Remember, you’re not alone. You’ve been supported by many people. Included by me. I know quite a few people who’ve been trained by one of those individuals which makes me really angry. That’s where trust issues come from. This person was trusted and respected by many people. It really pissed off so many people in wrestling community. I hope this movement changes everything. It needs to be changed. Even outside wrestling. Not so long time ago very the same thing happened in film industry. It’s freaking everywhere. It needs to be talked about. Not just people involved with wrestling but everyone. It’s the only way to stop this. 

Red: What directors and films influenced this piece of work? 
Taavi: I’m trying to think if there are any directors who influenced this project. I honestly can’t think of anyone specific. There are so many directors out there who I look up to and respect so I guess it’s a mixture of many. Something small from everyone. Here’s something I haven’t mentioned to anyone yet. While I was writing Babyface I did study/research about Tarantino’s storytelling and about the ways he likes to write screenplays. I found out that the way I like to write is actually very similar to his. If I’d have to name one director then it would be him. When it comes to movies it’s exactly the same thing. It’s probably a mixture of thousands. It could be something very small. Sometimes even so small that most people would not even notice. You watch a movie with an interesting antagonist and you might like the way he eats cornflakes. You add that in. You watch a movie with a clumsy protagonist and you like the line he said before dropping a beer. You might change the word or two and add it in. You’ll make it yours. Just small things from everywhere. Sometimes you don’t even notice yourself what you’ve picked up and where. It’s more like getting inspired by other movies.

Red: Babyface was written and directed by you and also stars you in the role of Johann. What preparations did you partake in to get ready for that tall list of multitasking and why did you decide to wear so many hats? 
Taavi: For me the biggest and most enjoyable preparation was becoming a wrestler. To play a wrestler you need to become a wrestler. There is no other way around. You need to know how things work and what it takes to be in their shoes. I’m very humbled to even have this opportunity . It’s amazing. Everyone in UKW have been so supportive and helping me through this. If anyone from UKW is reading this, thank you so much. You’re the best. As soon as I had my first wrestling match (which ended with me getting superkicked in the face) I knew this is something I want to do more of. I have always heard wrestlers saying how they got addicted to this and now I know why. I know how it feels like. I truly hope I have many more opportunities when it comes to wrestling. Yes, there is also a lot of multitasking going on when it comes to Babyface. It just kind of happened. I strongly believe that a person who writes the script should also direct the movie. Why? Answer is very simple. When you write a script you have this idea or vision how you see everything in a movie. It could be the greatest thing ever but when someone else is directing there is a good chance it will look different from your vision. It’s not really a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong. This someone else could potentially to make it even better. You never know. I just believe if you write a script then you should also direct. When it’s possible. Sometimes it’s not. Also, I kind of saw myself in one of the leading character which is the reason why I also decided to take on this role. I realized that our struggles have been very similar which makes me confident that I can make it believable. I’ve kind been in this situation and still never giving up. To this day. I’m definitely doing this alone. We have so many amazing and talented people involved who are very passionate about this. We have the best team ever. It feels like everyone is just having fun. We are just one big crazy Film/wrestling family. 

Red: Which wrestling promotions do you watch and who are your top ten in-ring performers? 
Taavi: This is a very good question to ask because my answer will surprise so many people. I think nobody is expecting what I’m about to say. Should I go with my all-time favourites or just performers who’ve been recently active? I’ll make my life more difficult and go with my all time favourites. Oh, boy this is going to be shocking for so many people. 

1.Dolph Ziggler (Didn't see that coming, did you?) 
3.Seth Rollins 
4.The Rock 
6.Stone Cold Steve Austin 
7.AJ Styles 
8.CM Punk 
9.Chris Jericho 
10.Kenny Omega 

As you can already tell, I’m mostly watching WWE. I think there’s no surprises there. Especially by looking at my list. Lately, I have been watching little bit of AEW, which has so much potential to become even bigger. It’s really entertaining. Also, I have been watching UKW (obviously) which is one of the best wrestling promotions in UK. I would even go that far and say in the world. All UKW shows are full of energy and entertainment. Full of talent. If you have never seen UKW then you are missing out big time. If you have seen it already then go and press replay button. 

Red: Anything you'd like to end on?
Taavi: Babyface movie is all about entertaining people but also inspiring and motivating everyone to follow their dreams. Don’t give up. Never give up . It doesn’t matter what you want to achieve in life. It doesn’t matter how difficult it might be. It doesn’t even matter if you think it’s impossible. Always keep fighting for your dreams. No matter what. These are the things worth fighting for. Your dream is your greatest tag team partner.

Thanks to Taavi for taking an interest in my blog and requesting the interview. Please, consider supporting the film and make sure to go watch as soon as it is released!

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