In show business (or really any business), they don’t come much bigger than Dwayne Johnson. He is the highest-paid actor in the world, according to Forbes, and his worldwide film total is estimated to be in the billions. And now, in a new movie opening this month, Johnson wants to be the next big superhero.
In the DC Comics universe, Black Adam is an imprisoned-violent demigod out for revenge.
Correspondent Tracy Smith asked Johnson, “Do you think he’s evil?”
“Sometimes I do,” he replied. “Well, I think of him as an anti-hero. But it’s like reading the Bible. It’s interpretive.”
And it’s a role that seems to fit him like a tight superhero suit.
But it seems Johnson’s real superpower may be his humility.
An only child, Johnson had the humblest of beginnings: his dad, Rocky Johnson, was a professional wrestler in an era when road trips were big and money was tight. “We were nomads,” he said. “We had that life until I was 16. We lived on the road. And I spent a lot of my time growing up in the back seat of a car.”
He went to college on a football scholarship, but injuries and bad luck eventually sent him back home, defeated, with only seven dollars to his name. Years later he would name his production company Seven Bucks Productions, as a reminder of where he started. But in the mid-90s, he turned to wrestling as a way to lift himself out of poverty.
In his autobiographical comedy “Young Rock,” Johnson recounts how he started wrestling on WMC-TV in Memphis under the name “Flex Kavana” and how a friend named “Downtown Bruno” gave the future superstar a place to stay . its degraded trailer.
Turns out the trailer park in Walls, Mississippi is still there – and so is his old friend Bruno Lauer.
“Finally! The Rock is back in Walls, Mississippi!” Lauer cheered.
Their old house was pretty much as they had left it too. “I haven’t been here since,” Johnson said. “This is my first time back. So it brings back a lot of memories.”
Smith asked, “What are you thinking?”
“Tracy, I’m so grateful. I’m grateful to have a friend like Bruno, grateful to have the opportunity I had, and life is so amazing. It can be, you know, just… real.”
Talk about amazing: Johnson went on to have huge success in the wrestling world as “The Rock,” and in 2001 he made the leap into movies. After some early success, Hollywood tried to mold him into a “typical” leading man. “They said, ‘Okay, great. But now here’s what you have to do: You have to stop working out so much. You have to lose weight. You can’t call yourself The Rock. You can’t talk about wrestling. Let’s stay away from all these “.
“Is that all they told you? ‘Don’t be that anymore’?” asked Smith
“That’s right. Well, I tried it, Tracy, I tried to get smaller, to lose weight. It just felt wrong.”
“And you just started being yourself…”
“That was it. When that happened, a funny thing happened: Hollywood conformed around me. And years later, I’m sitting here with you.”
So while she can take down big screen baddies, she can also sing in a Disney animated movie, “Moana.” and he can be funny (or at least try to be) like a font of bad jokes in “Jungle Cruise”.
He also owns a wide range of businesses, including Teremana Tequila, and it’s no secret that he loves to drink and sell it.
But Dwayne Johnson says his favorite role is dad to his three daughters: his two youngest girls are often seen on his Instagram page.
Smith asked, “So, do you really enjoy these tea parties?”
“Tracy, I love them!”
And here’s the thing that seems to make the public love him even more: he’s actually been (seriously) discussed as a presidential candidate. A 2021 poll showed nearly half of voters would pick him for the White House.
But when we asked, Johnson told Smith he wasn’t going to run for the White House. “It’s off the table. Yes, it’s off the table,” he said. “I will say this, because it requires a B side to this: I love our country and everyone in it. And I also love being a dad. And that’s the most important thing for me, is being a dad, number one, especially during this time, this critical time in my girls’ lives, ’cause I know what it’s like to be on the road and be so busy who was absent for many years when my first daughter was growing up at this critical age At this critical time in her life. And that’s what the presidency will do. So, my first priority is my daughters.
“Sure, CEO sounds great! But the number one thing I want to be is a dad. That’s it.”
So, he can play a big superhero, no problem. But in real life, perhaps the only thing bigger than Dwayne Johnson’s muscles, aside from his ambition, might just be his heart.
Smith asked: “If Black Adam is fueled by rage today, what are you fueled by?”
“Oh, that’s a good question. You’ve saved her. That’s good! If Black Adam is fueled by rage, I’m fueled by passion. I’m fueled by passion. I run in everything I do. Yes. Especially my daughters . So, I’d say it. I’m fueled by passion… and tequila!”
To watch a trailer for “Black Adam” click the video player below:
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John D’Amelio production story. Edited by Lauren Barnello.