"I just play assholes apparently," says former wrestler.

By Clark Collis
October 25, 2019 at 12:00 PM EDT

Phil Brooks (a.k.a. CM Punk) may have appeared fearless in the ring during his wrestling career, but the WWE Superstar admits to contracting a case of the jitters when he started shooting director Travis Stevens’ just-released haunted house movie Girl on the Third Floor.

“There’s definitely nerves, especially, the first two weeks,” says Brooks. “I’m looking at Travis and I’m trusting him. ‘Did we get that shot?’ ‘Yeah, we got it.’ But there’s also that sliver of insecurity that lives inside of everybody that was coming out in me. I told everybody, ‘Well, if after the first week you guys think I suck and you want to get somebody else to do this, you’re not going to hurt my feelings.'”

In the film, Brooks plays a troubled father-to-be who sets up renovating a house for his family.

“This is a movie that, the less you know going into it, the better the experience will be for you,” says Brooks. “I play a character, Don Koch, who is expecting his first child with his wife, and he buys a fixer-upper out in the suburbs to kind of start over with this wife, and as you watch the movie, you realize what starting over to him means. Don might not be the best guy in the world, you know.”

Girl on the Third Floor is the directorial debut for Stevens, who is best known for producing the movies Cheap Thrills, We Are Still Here, and Jodorowsky’s Dune.

“Travis is brilliant and on top of being brilliant, he’s a great dude,” says Brooks. “Me and him kind of jumping in to do things for the first time — my first lead role, his directorial debut — we held hands and jumped out of the plane together with no parachute, and it was fun that we got to do that.”

Brooks was attracted to the project in part because legendary producer Steve Albini created the movie’s score.

“Me, being a punk-rock kid from Chicago, I’ve known about Steve Albini since I can remember,” he says. “He’s produced some of the greatest bands. Even though he was obviously on a different side of the film, having our names on the same project meant a lot to me.”

A diehard horror fan, Brooks is sticking with the genre for his next movie, Jen and Sylvia Soska‘s remake of David Cronenberg’s Rabid, which will be released Dec. 13.

“Working with the Soska twins is a dream come true,” says Brooks. “I’ve been wanting to work with them for years, and they say that they’ve been wanting to work with me for years, and the planets kind of aligned. My character in Rabid, I play Billy, I’m a jerk. So, I’m two-for-two. I just play a–holes apparently.”

Girl on the Third Floor is now available to watch in theaters and on digital platforms.

Watch an exclusive clip from the movie, above.

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