Q&A: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars in Tooth Fairy, opening this Friday. SI.com's Jimmy Traina recently spoke to Johnson about the movie industry, wrestling, his time at The U and much more.
SI.com: The wrestling crowd, who were fans of "The Rock", now see you playing a tooth fairy. Tell those people why they should go see you in this movie.
Johnson: Oh, that's very easy. The intention in 1999 was to entertain. My intention in 2005 was to entertain. My intention in 2010, as the tooth fairy, is to entertain and make you laugh.
SI.com: Has it been an intentional move on your part to do so-called "kids movies," or are those the best scripts you've gotten?
Johnson: It's a matter of the material that comes in. The scripts that have come in over the past three years have been really great, broad comedies. A couple are considered in the family genre. Tooth Fairy is considered a broad comedy. So it's just the material that's come in. I did a couple of action comedies, Get Smart and The Other Guys. So it's a matter of timing. It wasn't a conscious, concerted effort to do three movies in a row that had family qualities. But when I first started acting 10 years ago, the goal was to work in every genre and have a wide base and a wide foundation of work that would then propel me for the next couple of decades. It was conscious to not stay in the action genre. Looking back, I have a nice, diverse field of work. And after this comedy I'm getting ready to do a great action movie called Faster.
SI.com: And once you have a big hit with a family movie, I would imagine the payday becomes pretty good to do them again and again.
Johnson: It all depends on the size of the movie. A lot of people have a misperception of the salaries. In my case, I'm in the business of getting movies made and getting them done. The payday depends on the budget, too. Now's a time, during this economic crunch and everybody's feeling this industry wide, is to be a bit more savvy with your pay structure and how you want to structure these deals, so it's important for me to get movies done. To answer your question directly, when you have a big hit, it's a nice a nickel that you're able to make.
SI.com: You're also a hockey player in this movie. Did you have experience playing? Did you know how to skate?
Johnson: Well, I grew up in Hawaii and then Miami. Those weren't necessarily hotbeds of hockey. I had never been on the ice before until this movie. It was very eye opening and sobering. Within two minutes we recognized that we had to get some great stunt doubles to make me look good. The majority of the skating in this movie is not done by me. And when you do see me on the ice, I'm rigged and wired to take some pressure of my Achilles. I ruptured my Achilles about three years ago and I had to get it reattacehd. My mobility in my ankle is really limited.
SI.com: Switching gears, ESPN recently aired a great documentary on The U. You played for the Miami Hurricanes and we even saw you a couple of times during the show. Have you see the show?
Johnson: I've seen a little bit of it.
SI.com: Were you asked to participate?
Johnson: I was. I know the producers. I just didn't get a chance to be a part of it.
SI.com: Based on the documentary, there were some crazy people on that team, and I mean that in a good way. Is there a story you can tell us about someone or something that happened that didn't make the show?
Johnson: There's not necessarily a story or one particular player I can tell you about. But there is a bigger story that I can share with you. I came in as a freshman in 1990. To be able to go in a play with a swagger and confidence, and talk trash and be part of a winning program that was trailblazing at that time was important to me. That's the reason I signed up to play for Miami. That's why all of us signed up to play for Miami. Coming in 1990, my first bowl game was that infamous Cotton Bowl. So not only was there a winning tradition, we trailblazed on many levels in terms of what to do and what not to do, and we changed how the game was played. I would never make excuses for the fights we got into, but some of the activities after the fights, I don't condone. And I was one of them, chasing mascots into the stands at San Diego State, doing things like that which was poor judgment. In the heat of the battle sometimes fights break out. But the one thing that the documentary didn't show that I wish they would've is aside from wanting to playing with great aggression and enthusiasm, we also had the mentality that we would outwork every team in the country and everyday we were committed to that mindest. In the weight room, outside of the weight room. In addition to we're gonna "hit, stick and bust d--- and talk s---" which was a saying we had, in addition to that, we were gonna outwork everyone in this country. And my time at Miami helped me in terms of creating The Rock. Really talkin' trash in an over-the-top way. It started back them.
SI.com: Since you mentioned The Rock, any plans to go back to wrestling now that the WWE has a weekly guest host?
Johnson: Sure, sure man. You bet. I do plan on going back and hosting. I was actually gonna go back this month, but the day I was going to host, I had to go to Mexico for promotion of the movie, so we had to cancel that. I've remained close with Vince McMahon over the years, but here's the key. It's not just to go back and host. I don't want to do that. I want to go back and host and do something special. I want to entertain the fans in ways they haven't been entertained in years.
SI.com: I recommend doing some songs. Those were always classic.
Johnson. We're gonna break out the songs. We're gonna do it all.
SI.com: Two great ones I remember are you and Stone Cold doing The Gambler and Margaritaville together and then when you were a "bad guy," you sang an original tune trashing Sacramento while in Sacramento.
Johnson: That was great. That was one of the "The Rock Concerts" we did. I'm gonna give you a line that I'll never forget. It was a take off on that song, Kansas City. The lyrics were "Leaving Sacramento, Sacramento I won't stay because I'll be sure to come back when the Lakers beat the Kings in May." And everyone in the crowd was like "AAARRRGGHHH" and went crazy.
SI.com: Since we covered the movie and the wrestling, I was hoping I could just ask you some quick, rapid fire questions. The only wrinkle is that these are the questions we ask a college cheerleader every week.
Johnson: [Laughing] Sure, that sounds fun.
SI.com: What is your best physical feature?
Johnson: My fist.
SI.com: If you have to watch one movie on a loop forever, what would it be?
SI.com: What's the most played song on your Pod?
Johnson: Till I Collapse from Eminen.
SI.com: What is your worst habit?
Johnson: Looking in the mirror.
SI.com: If you could trade places with someone for one day, who would it be?
Johnson: [Laughing] No one.
SI.com: What talent that you don't have do you wish you possessed?
Johnson: [Laughing] Again, nothing.
SI.com: What would you want your last meal to be?
Johnson: Filet, baked potato, steamed broccoli and tequila.
SI.com: What three things would you take on a deserted island?
Johnson: My iPod, my woman and the good Lord.
SI.com: Who is your celebrity crush?
Johnson: Penelope Cruz.
SI.com: Who are five people, living or dead, you'd like to have dinner with?
Johnson: Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, Steve McQueen, my grandfather and grandmother.
SI.com: OK, three bonus questions. SI's Swimsuit Issue comes out in a couple of weeks. Who is your all-time favorite Swimsuit model?
Johnson: Toss up between Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum.
SI.com: Do you have a Super Bowl prediction?
Johnson: Absolutely. Jets-Vikings with the Vikings winning. There's a U connection there. Minnesota's head strength and conditioning coach Tom Kanavy was my coach when I was at Miami. Plus, Brett's been a buddy of mine for some time.
SI.com: Last question: Do you have any advice for Tiger Woods?
Johnson: [Laughing] No comment. No comment.