Wrestler proves king in the ring and on big screen
By LOUIS B. HOBSON --
World Wrestling Federation superstar The Rock, a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson, is proving to be a fan favourite in his new role as action hero. Johnson stars in the film The Scorpion King, a sword and sorcery action flick opening April 19.
HOLLYWOOD -- As the superstar of the World Wrestling Federation, Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock, may be unbeatable, unparalleled and even unstoppable, but he is not unflappable.
Last Thursday, The Rock attended the premier showing of his new movie The Scorpion King in Century City.
He'd seen plenty of footage of the sword and sorcery flick, but director Chuck Russell and his editors had just put the finishing touches on the final print that afternoon.
The Rock was set to do interviews all weekend so he and several cast members attended the screening.
"I thought it was just going to be us and the press people we'd be talking to, but I arrived to discover the theatre was packed with a real street audience."
The Rock was nervous.
He had no idea how the movie would play for an audience.
His fears were quickly allayed. When his chiselled hero, Mathayus, first appears dropping through the roof of a banquet hall, the audience erupted into applause and cheers.
Still, The Rock couldn't relax. He was waiting to see the reaction to two pivotal scenes.
Mathayus not only kisses the sexy sorceress, Cassandra, played by Kelly Hu, but seduces her as well.
"I always hated it in adventure movies when Arnold (Schwarzenegger) or Sly (Stallone) kissed the girl at the end of the movie, so I wondered how my fans were going to react to my love scenes."
To his surprise, there was barely a murmur when Mathayus took Cassandra in his arms and kissed her.
The next scene, when the camera panned away to show them naked in bed, the cheers were deafening.
"I was so relieved that they loved it that The Rock scored. I could sit back and really enjoy the movie after that."
As has been his fate for years, The Rock was mobbed by fans as he tried to leave the theatre.
He made no attempt to give them the slip but lingered to sign autographs and talk with his fans.
The Rock has already been signed for his next movie, Helldorado, an action flick set in the Amazon in which he will play a bounty hunter.
He hopes there will be a sequel or two for The Scorpion King and is looking forward "to the day I can do a comedy, a romantic comedy and even a drama. I wanted to be an actor even before I wanted to be a wrestler."
He has been conferring with his managers and agents about how he will be credited in the future.
It's one thing for him to be credited as The Rock in a movie like The Scorpion King, but will it work years down the line?
"We've definitely had discussions about my future billing, and right now I think we'll stick with The Rock. Everyone loves the name The Rock. It worked for Rock Hudson.
"I have no problems with a poster that would read 'The Rock in Sense and Sensibility.' "
The Rock doesn't have a wrestling match for a couple of months and he won't start filming Helldorado until the fall, but the time off doesn't worry him.
"My wife Dany (Garcia) and I had our daughter Simone just after I finished shooting The Scorpion King. Right now family is a huge priority."