The CharlotteFive Podcast decided it wanted to be stylin’, profilin’, limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin’ n’ dealin’ son of a guns this week, so we brought on Rory Karpf, the director of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary on Ric Flair called “Nature Boy”. Here is just a small excerpt of what was talked about on the podcast. For the full interview, click and listen below.

How much convincing did you have to do to get Ric to talk about his life?

“Not much. He wanted to do the film. He really liked 30 for 30, and was excited that he would be the first wrestler to have his own 30 for 30, so he was game.”

He recently had a really bad stint in the hospital, including being placed in a medically induced coma. Many thought he was on his death bed. Have you talked with him since? Were you communicating with him or his family at all through that process?

“He was on his death bed, I mean he was in a coma for 10 days. I was (in) communication with his fiancée, Wendy, and his daughter, Ashley, and they were kind of giving me updates. I went and visited him about four or five weeks after he initially went down, in like a rehab facility. He looked pretty rough there – very thin, but he’s on the mends. He was just in Greensboro last weekend and he looked really good. He’s really been given a second lease on life. He’s not drinking. That’s probably the biggest difference. He was told if he drinks again, he’ll die.”

What did you think was one of the most shocking moments in the film?

“Honestly, that he said he slept with 10,000 women. It was like a different person every night for like 26 years. I actually got into a debate/argument with an executive at ESPN because Ric also said that he masturbates twice a day. The executive wanted to [cut it] cause ‘it’s not that relevant to the story’. Not relevant to the story?! The guy just said he slept with 10,000 women AND he said he masturbates twice a day.”

What was the toughest subject to breach with him?

“Probably the death of his son [Reid] because when you really want to get something really emotional, you kind of have to get uncomfortable. For me one of the more compelling parts of the film is when I asked Ric if there was anything left unsaid, and then he says I feel guilty for being more of your friend when I should have been your father. I think that kind of just sums up the movie in a way.”

Reid Flair’s debut match on December 6, 2008 in Charlotte.

One of the quotes that stood out in the film was from Shawn Michaels, who said Ric Flair doesn’t really know who Richard Fliehr (Flair’s actual name) is. Do you think, at this point in his life, he’s starting to get to know who Richard Fliehr is?

“I think at this point he’s probably Ric Flair through and through. You’ve got to do a lot of work on yourself change. The longer you’ve been doing something, the harder it is to change. Ric Flairs says it in the film, Richard Fliehr was just a guy who went to one year of college and dropped out, and then was the Nature Boy. I don’t really think there’s a distinction between the two anymore, I think they’re the same. Richard Fliehr is Ric Flair.”

For much more with Rory Karpf, make sure to listen to the full podcast below.

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The CharlotteFive Podcast — presented by The Charlotte Observer and powered by OrthoCarolina — is a weekly podcast that aims to get you Charlotte Smart, Fast with fun, interesting and useful news about the city. It’s co-hosted by Sean Clark-Weis and Sallie Funderburk and is a production of the Charlotte Observer and 2WAVES Media.

You can follow us on Twitter @CharlotteFive, on Instagram @cltfive, and on Facebook, and you can shoot us an email to charlottefive@charlottefive.com.

Photos: Jeff Siner – Observer file photo, Christine J. Coons/Coons Photography, Ric Flair

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