It’s hard to find a second movie star like The Rock – Dwayne Johnson, who has escaped the image of a “muscular shoulder” wrestler to become a real actor in the Hollywood movie world.
On the occasion of The Rock Dwayne Johnson’s birthday (May 2), let’s look back at ELLE Man’s life with his dark childhood and his transformation to the glory of this man.
The blood of the wrestler and the “dark” childhood of The Rock
The Rock Dwayne Johnson spent most of his childhood in small apartments in California and New Zealand. Wrestling is something inherent in his blood. Because his father, Rocky Johnson was the first African American wrestling champion while Dwayne’s grandfather, Chief Peter Maivia was the first Samoan to enter the American wrestling scene.
When Johnson was 14 years old, the family moved to Honolulu to make it more convenient for his father to participate in WWF wrestling matches. Here, Dwayne’s father succeeded with The Ring – the wrestling team joined by him and his friend Tony Atlas, becoming the first group of black people to win a championship like “The Soul Patrol”. The family’s finances were secured at that time. However, after a series of currency crises, Johnson’s family economy has reached “bottom”.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter: “ We try to live on $120 a week. We came home one day to find the door was locked and there was an eviction notice on it. My mother started screaming, crying and collapsing. She kept asking ‘Where are we going? What we will do?'”
Finally, the family’s financial bankruptcy forced Dwayne Johnson to fall on a “dark” path when he was just a teenager. “ In the Waikiki area there are a few high-end stores like Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Armani, jewelry stores,” he said. “There are a lot of wealthy tourists shopping in Waikiki. We will target their money, jewelry and clothes and then sell them for the best price possible. “
So, during his teenage years, the police station was one of Dwayne Johnson’s favorite places. But also through that, he realized that in this world there is one of the few things he can control on his own without depending on finances, that is his body.
He once shared: “I thought: What can I control myself with these hands? The only thing I can do is work out and build my body. Because the successful men I know are the ones who know how to build their bodies.”
Fateful meeting and “rugby” dream
When Johnson was 16 years old, he was 6’4 (1m93) tall and weighed 225lbs (102kg) and enrolled at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, where he found the teacher who first led him on the football path.
The rebellion of the teenager Dwayne Johnson created this fateful meeting. During a school day, instead of using the student restroom, teenager Johnson swaggered into the teacher’s restroom.
“A teacher walked in,” Johnson recalls. “His name was Jody Cwik. He said to me, ‘Hey, you can’t come in here.’ I paused, looked at him, and replied, “Okay, I’ll be out when I’m done!” And I continued to wash my hands. He just watched silently, not saying a word.” It was at that moment that cemented Dwayne’s life with Cwik. That night, he decided to seek out Mr. Cwik to apologize for his swagger in the daytime.
“He shook my hand. I will never forget that handshake and he said: ‘I want you to do something for me. I want you to go out and play rugby for me’. And I went out, and I played rugby for Jody Cwik. He is my coach and second father. “
When it comes to Cwik, The Rock pays absolute respect. “I love that man. I will never forget the influence he had on my life. Our relationship was shaped by the empathy he had for a rebellious child who treated him harshly and disrespectful.”
As Johnson rapidly developed in rugby career as with defender. His life also began to improve. “My thought process started to change. That’s when I started thinking about my goals and what I wanted to achieve.”
After graduating from high school, Johnson received a scholarship to play football at the University of Miami. But here, a big problem in The Rock’s college football career began with the arrival of Warren Sapp – a famous football player. Dwayne Johnson was gradually pushed to the bench and his number of appearances also decreased. Johnson graduated from Miami in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, but the young man was not ready to give up his dream of playing football. He eventually joined the Calgary Stampede as a reserve defender but was sacked two months before the end of the season.
“My dreams, defeated again ,” he once revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. “At that time for me, without rugby, my future was crushed. It was the worst time of my life.”
“The Rock” and the king of the American wrestling village
Not giving up easily, Dwayne Johnson turned back to physical training. Once again The Rock stepped through another ruin and rebuilt his life. And he realized that what made him special had been running through his veins for a long time. That’s the wrestler!
Johnson first appeared in the WWF in 1996, fighting under a name that was a combination of his father and grandfather’s nickname, “Rocky Maivia”. And as fate has arranged, the first opponent he has to fight is Brooklyn Brawler – who is also his father’s first opponent.
Success quickly came to Rocky Maiva when he defeated and claimed the title from Triple H on Monday Night Raw.
During his wrestling career, The Rock has won the WWF/E Championship seven times, surpassing the old record held by Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart. He is considered one of the most famous wrestlers in history. However, in his heart, Johnson wanted something more: a chance to become a Hollywood star.
Great transformation into Hollywood movie capital
Although, it is not uncommon for American wrestlers to “encroach” into the cinema. But in the end, they still returned with the delicious dish that was already laid out in the arena. Johnson said: “As a child, Harrison Ford was my favorite actor. He’s great! Strong and romantic when flirting with girls. I want to be such a man. Then, I want to be Elvis Presley too. And at the same time, I think I also want to be Chuck Norris now. So I wanted to take all the role model men at the time and create an image for myself.”
Johnson finally got his start in the movie world in 2001 with the role of Mathayus, widely known as the “Scorpio King” in The Mummy Returns. Although it was a small role, it was enough for the film producers to see the potential in The Rock’s performance. Not long after that, The Rock received an amount of $ 5.5 million, a record salary for a side actor, to appear in the lead role in a separate film about the character of the Scorpio King ( 2002).
A warrior with a beautiful body like a statue, who later turned into a half-human, half-scorpion demon was made using CGI techniques of the early 21st century but still enough to scare the audience to death. The scorpion king image is a perfect way to introduce The Rock to a wide audience that has no interest in WWE.
Since then, The Rock no longer appears regularly on the WWE ring but instead on the big screen. In 2004, he officially gave up the throne of the wrestling village to become a rare muscular star in the history of the world entertainment industry.
Adi Shankar, producer of The Gray and a huge fan of wrestling, told The Wrap: “Most wrestlers just bring their ring to the movies. They don’t need to change their image.”
Instead of choosing to be just a muscular wrestler ready to fight in action movies. The Rock has chosen for itself a more diverse and transformative acting path than its predecessors. He appeared as the opposite of Sean William Scott in “The Run Down” or as an interesting gay man in “Be Cool”. The Rock also constantly “friendly” its image by adding to its acting treasure family films such as the role of the funny tooth fairy in “The Tooth Fairy” or the father. emotional uncle in “Journey to the Center of the Earth 2”.
Besides acting, Dwayne is also one of the favorite voice actors in animated films such as “Family Guy” (2010) or “Moana” (2016). For many children, The Rock is not a tough, scary wrestler but a big but funny and safe uncle. Something that was difficult for previous wrestlers to do.
“If you take the humor out of The Rock, you won’t have anything left,” commented one film commentator on The Rock. In 2015, The Rock once again became the highest-grossing actor in Hollywood thanks to the tremendous explosion of two blockbusters ” San Andreas” and ” Fast & Furious 7″ .
In 2017, The Rock returned and “rocked” the big screen with many different roles. In “Baywatch”, he transformed into the chivalrous and brave captain Mitch Buchannon against the impulsive, disruptive “rookie” played by Zac Efron, which earned The Rock a nomination for “Male Lead” Best Comedy Series” at the Teen Choice Awards.
The blockbuster “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” that followed during the year-end holiday season also earned more than 533 million dollars, more than 5 times the production cost. With humorous acting, The Rock and his teammates received a series of positive reviews from critics. Roten Tomatoes, a popular movie review site, gave the film a 75% positive rating, with the review: “The movie is a pleasant surprise.” Continuing and steadily in 2018, The Rock continues to “knock” the big screen with giant genetically modified super beasts in the explosive blockbuster Rampage with a global total of over $400 million (as of 16/02). May 2018), compared with $120 million in production.
Through a dark and rebellious childhood, Dwayne Johnson is an image for finding and pursuing her dreams. From a rugby player to the king of the American wrestling village and then to a million-dollar actor of the Hollywood movie capital. The Rock has never shown any signs of stopping and accepting its own safe limits. That’s what made The Rock – Dwayne Johnson brand what it is today.