The last time we spoke to Dwayne Johnson, he said he’d earned the nickname “Franchise Viagra” because of his knack for injecting energy into lagging movie properties like the “Fast and Furious” and “Journey to the Center of the Earth” series. He’s at it again with “GI Joe: Retaliation,” grabbing the alpha position from Channing Tatum to lead America’s coolest covert military force. So we thought we’d see how Johnson could be deployed for other famous franchises — some struggling, some not. To our delight, he gave the assignment a lot of thought.
“You’ve got to give it thought because all these franchises are so beloved, and all of them have their own built-in mythology and affinity that’s global, which makes it very special,” Johnson says. “And it reminds me of when we were kids, how cool and fun big Hollywood movies can be.” With that in mind, here are his ideas:
“Star Wars”: “What is the cross between a Sith and a Jedi? I don’t know. Is there something in between that has a bit more neutrality, who vacillates between both sides? Kind of like a gray area, possibly. Being such a big fan of ‘Star Wars’ and the mythology of ‘Star Wars,’ my inner boy, my inner geek — which is a big geek, by the way — embodies both sides. So back when I was 8 years old I was both. And I don’t know what that’s called. What would that be?”
“Star Trek”: “My gut tells me we would have to create a character that puts not only the Enterprise but the entire [Federation] at risk in terms of destruction by one man. That’s where I feel like we should go with that. And I love ‘Star Trek,’ by the way, but it feels like that. That’s heavy, right?”
“Indiana Jones”: “That’s tough. I love George Lucas, obviously. I love Harrison [Ford]. OK, I hunt him down. I hunt Indiana Jones down. When I hunt him down, there’s a plot twist in there somehow where I then become the hero. (laughs) And I share the hero mantle of ‘Indiana Jones’ with Harrison Ford. Yes. Because of my 8-year-old inner-geek.”
“Twilight”: “All hypothetical, right? All hypothetical. Because this is not now saying that the Rock wants to be in ‘Twilight.’ (laughs) In steps the most manliest, toughest son-of-a-bitch of a vampire the world has ever seen. He grabs Kristen Stewart, pushes aside Pattinson and quietly yet firmly says, ‘We are now doing away with our boyhood ways.’ Hypothetically.”
“American Pie”: “Wow. Wow, I would say… I have no idea where I would fit in that. No clue, no clue.”
“The Avengers”: “I got it. I think I got it. I’m going to show you something right now. (pulls out his phone — see picture above) It is a great question to end on, because I have been thinking about this for some time. Sometimes there are moments in life where there are no words. This is one of those moments. And this is who I should be in the next ‘Avengers.’ (shows photo of himself dressed up as the Hulk for Halloween) No more CGI, just me.”