Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Cements His Star Power on the Hollywood Walk of …

21 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Dwayne Johnson cements Hollywood success at hand and footprint ceremony.

The wrestler, now a successful movie star, punched the air as he placed his hands and feet in wet cement in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. But there’s one skill he’s only recently revealed: The Rock can dance. “I’m shooting a movie right now — it’s a big action comedy with Kevin Hart — and in it, my character was relentlessly bullied in high school, but loved to dance,” Johnson explained. “He becomes a CIA contract killer, but he’s still that young boy. Dwayne, 43, enjoyed huge box office success when he joined the Fast And Furious franchise for the last two films and has put his huge frame to good use in movies such as Hercules, Pain And Gain and GI Joe: Retaliation. “It’s crazy, before this event I took a moment back at the hotel and kicked everybody out of the room, I just had to gather my thoughts and be incredibly grateful … I’m very lucky.” “When I was eight years old I saw Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

So that’s why I’m taking dance lessons now.” You’ll have to wait until the summer of 2016 to see his full routine, however; that’s when “Central Intelligence” is set for release. I was such a big fan and I knew I wanted to be that guy, the guy who was charming with the ladies, who I thought was cool, a pretty tough guy but doing it with a smile, and the one thing I thought I could do at that time was be physical. “I had my mum take me to the store to get some boxing gloves because I thought to be a tough guy you had to fight. She got me some boxing shorts and I made a whip at home to be like Indy.” He added: “Today is so symbolic because of what it means about hard work.

Johnson made sure of that, hoisting a 10-foot-ladder around scurrying crew members and clowning with a makeup artist, flinching when she patted his brow. This man, who has inspired me over the years, told me: “You’re going for it, just keep going for it.” The 6ft 5in star will next be seen as a helicopter rescue pilot in disaster movie San Andreas, but he admitted he would not be much practical help in an emergency. The entertaining thing came naturally, early on. “I used to think I was Elvis, Sam Cooke,” he said. “I’d perform Richard Pryor monologues, like softly, because my mom didn’t know I was listening, sneaking the tapes, at the time. Johnson, 43, is gliding on monster waves of attention, thanks to an impressive run at the box office (as part of the “Furious 7” cast) and winning appearances in a televised lip-syncing battle and the White House Christmas celebration. As a wide-reaching, multiethnic celebrity at a time when audiences crave diversity, and a keen user of social technology amid a fast-changing media industry, he should be the four-quadrant hero of our time, appealing to old and young, male and female alike.

Yet he may be the oddest superstar we have, a known quantity whose accomplishments — box-office champ of 2013, four-time host of “Saturday Night Live” — are a continual surprise. Unlike the sequels and franchises he has excelled in, his next film, “San Andreas,” opening May 29, is his first top-lining role in a big-budget original story, so “the stakes are higher,” he said. Already, “in terms of consumer appeal, he’s in the league there with Brad Pitt,” said Henry Schafer, a spokesman for the Q Scores Company, which measures celebrity likability. Johnson has maintained a Q score that’s consistently way above average, topping Tom Cruise, Mark Wahlberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the earlier paragon of musclebound crossovers. Expectations were not high — he was still reciting a catchphrase (“Do you smell what the Rock is cooking?”) — but he thoroughly charmed. “He has a wonderful sense of timing, he has an innate theatricality and because he projects strength, the audience kind of relaxes with him,” Mr.

Michaels said. “He could do nuance, he could do subtle, he could do big and broad.” As soon as he was introduced to non-wrestling audiences, doors began to open. (After his appearance on “S.N.L.” in March, Mr. Johnson gushed that he had received a note from Steven Spielberg, whom he’s never met, praising his character work.) As he stormed the entertainment industry, moving from bare-brawn parts (“The Scorpion King”) to ones requiring a deft comic touch (“Get Smart”), Mr. In wrestling, “you’re learning body language, crowd psychology,” he said. “The Rock is really good and was taught to know his audience.” But even as his fan base was expanding, Mr. Pitt, George Clooney, Will Smith — did not have his carved 250-pound-plus physique, and he was advised, he said, to slim down to look more like other leading men. Johnson inveighed against the “cynicism” he felt curbed his ambitions at C.A.A., which also balked at a return to wrestling. “It’s everywhere, whether you’re in Hollywood or not, just cynicism,” he said. “But you get so much further with optimism and hope.” Yes, the man whose signature move was a chokehold body slam really talks like this.

He climbed back into the ring that year. (A representative for C.A.A. declined to comment.) In “San Andreas,” for which he earned a reported $12 million, Mr. When most of California is hit by an earthquake, he sets out to save his soon-to-be ex-wife (Carla Gugino), his daughter (Alexandra Daddario) and a few others. (The distributor, Warner Bros., changed the marketing after the Nepal earthquake, highlighting relief efforts.) Shooting in Australia, Mr.

Johnson on three films, said that even when he’s playing a baddie, “there is a great sense of accountability and decency about him.” Off screen, she added, “he’s just a really joyful person,” the kind who leaves singing voice mails on birthdays. “There’s a little homage to Frank Sinatra in him.” For Mr. Johnson, tearing up on screen was no big deal, he said. “I can cry like that — I hear a song sometimes, ‘Didn’t We Almost Have It All,’ by Whitney Houston, and” — his face crumpled into sadness. The most emotionally taxing part was imagining losing a child; he has a 13-year-old daughter with his ex-wife, Dany Garcia, and lives near her in Florida, with his longtime girlfriend, Lauren Hashian, a singer. (One of his strength coaches is married to Ms. It’s named for the sum in his pocket after being cut from the Canadian Football League in 1995.) Intimates call him D.J., but he also gladly answers to the Rock — that’s what President Obama, whom he’s met a few times, calls him. He graduated with a criminology degree from the University of Miami, and considered joining the F.B.I., though being a college football star intervened. “Ballers,” which counts Ms.

He plays a recently retired pro football player transitioning to money management for his flashier teammates. “That guy’s career was my dream,” Mr. Their well-recounted financial struggles — an eviction and paycheck-to-paycheck life, as he and his mother, Ata Johnson, followed his father, Rocky, on the wrestling circuit — fueled his transformation into the Rock. As a teenager, he bought a car for $40 from a drug addict, only to find, as he pulled onto the highway, another addict sleeping in the back seat. “We kicked him out,” he said, and then dumped the car in a Burger King parking lot. For “Ballers,” he envisioned his character as a male fashion plate, à la Carrie Bradshaw, so that people would tune in to see the three-piece suits and alligator shoes.

In the Rock’s universe, “I like the idea that any project I touch, there is a general sense of action begets action,” he said. “Hard work begets results.

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