Rolling with The Rock

Dwayne Johnson gives Total Film the skinny on Southland Tales and more…

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is late but Total Film has decided not to reprimand him. Mainly because when he eventually turns up a) it’s not his fault he’s late and b) he sincerely apologises. Also, despite losing a little bulk, Johnson still looks harder than an ape with an Uzi, so, apology accepted, we get down to chatting.

Firstly what do we call you? Dwayne? The Rock?
Either is okay. It started out as The Rock, which is cool, but thanks to the press I then became Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, which I am grateful for because, well, it’s my name!

OK, Dwayne it is. You’re relatively new to this acting lark but you seem to be making some good choices; Doom went to number one in the US box office. So what’s your secret?
Well I’m not sure I have a divine intervention or anything. It’s great to have a number one movie; it’s awesome. But as you know it’s difficult to make movies and it’s even more difficult to make good movies. So I’m happy to be number one right now. I thought everyone would go to the big Dakota Fanning movie with the horse.

Is a movie like Dreamer something you’d like to do?
I’d like to do a wider range of roles, sure, and I want to be challenged. Hopefully picking up a good sensibility of what is entertaining to the audiences.

You filmed Southland Tales with Richard Kelly, which must fit those criteria?
Yeah definitely. I actually did two dramas back to back. The first was Gridiron Gang

The Phil Joanou drama about a football team at a juvenile detention centre…?
That’s the one. I’m really excited about it. Every once in a while a movie comes along that’s not your $150 million blockbuster but everybody knows about it and anticipates it and it’s more of a $25 - $30 million dollar movie. It’s just one of those great movies about hope. It’s nothing that’s going to change the world at all but it’s just a feel-good movie and I like that. Richard Kelly I’m really excited about and Southland Tales was an experience. I loved working with Richard and the script just great.

Can you tell us about your character Boxer?
I play a movie star who has amnesia, so I don’t know I’m a movie star. I’m always searching for the truth; I’m a paranoid schizophrenic who hears many voices. I can forsee the future and the end of the world coming and it does and I’m extremely neurotic, which I’m sure is like many actors you’ve talked to, mentioning no names. It gets better, you’ll appreciate this; Sarah Michelle Gellar plays my girlfriend who plays a porn star in the movie and Mandy Moore is a senator’s daughter who is also my wife. So from that, you can imagine what type of movie it is! I am really excited about that movie.

We are too. You have a small daughter; any plans to make a movie she can actually see?
You can’t help but be a parent in this business and feel that way. So I am happy to say that the next movie I am going to do is called Daddy’s Girl.

That doesn’t sound like your usual ‘Rock’ movie. Can you tell us about it?
It’s with Disney and it’s one of those ‘Oh is that your heart? Let me pull on it a bit’ kind of deals. I play the best quarterback in the NFL. I’m very brash but not brash to the point of being unlikeable but someone who is popular. But my life gets flipped - turned-upside-down when I find I have a little daughter and then the comedy takes over. I’ve been talking to Disney for some time just looking for the right projects. I had passed on The Pacifier. I was glad for its success but just decided it wasn’t for me. But I am very excited about Daddy’s Girl so I’m glad you asked about that. I should put you on my payroll!

If you insist but we like to sleep in on Mondays.

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