Millions of wrestling fans recognize Dwayne Johnson as The Rock — a trash-talking heavyweight who started wrestling in the mid-1990s until leaving for his burgeoning career in Hollywood movies in 2004. However, not only has Johnson recently returned to wrestling, he is also curiously hitting the busiest and most impressive streak of his acting career. In speaking with Moviefone to promote his latest film Snitch, Johnson reveals what he loves about being an actor and why he thinks he’s had more success in Hollywood than other wrestlers-turned-actors.
Though Johnson is best known for big-budget action roles, he reveals that he and the cast did the smaller-scale Snitch because they believed in the story. He explains, “We’re all in the acting business, and I’m lucky to participate in movies that are big, fun, global movies, but I’m also very fortunate to take part in a movie like this. It’s not a big-budget movie. Everyone involved in the project did it out of passion and were all really moved by this story. It never gets old, I love acting whether they’re big action movies or smaller dramas with action, like this.”
Snitch also gave Johnson a chance to act more vulnerable than usual. He says, “Playing big, heroic characters with heart is always a lot of fun. I enjoy making movies like that, and a lot of people love to live vicariously through those characters. In a role like this, vulnerability comes into play immediately. As an actor, you open yourself up emotionally and put a lot of trust in the hands of your director. I jumped at that opportunity. I also enjoyed playing someone who wasn’t necessarily considered “your hero” and in the face of adversity, doesn’t immediately stand up and save the day.”
Compared to other pro wrestlers who became actors — such as Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, John Cena, and Terry Funk — Johnson’s success in movies has been nothing short of incredible. When asked why he succeed far beyond his fellow ring veterans, he replies, “I think what I did differently was in the approach. When I first broke into acting twelve or thirteen years ago, my approach was ‘I want to become a good actor.’ I have an immense amount of respect for acting. I’ve always loved movies and was always fascinated by movie-making. But to become an actor, I wanted to commit myself. And to quote one of my favorite actors, Robert De Niro, ‘I just got lucky.'”