Stephen Dorff was coming off the grueling production schedule of True Detective’s third season when he started the work to become Cash Boykins, the volatile brawler of MMA drama Embattled. The HBO anthology series had taken a lot out of him, and he dropped weight for the role, so the path to becoming a welterweight roughneck was already uphill.
“I was running on fumes after True Detective, but I was excited about Embattled, and I had this surge of adrenaline that lasted a month,” says Dorff. For four weeks before filming kicked off in Alabama, the veteran actor worked with trainer Josh Perzow to get into combat-fighting shape. “My whole life was working out and eating during that time.”
Not making weight wasn’t an option for Dorff, who’s a long-time fan of mixed martial arts, and would be sharing his set with UFC headliners like