Dwayne Johnson, the former professional wrestler dubbed “The Rock” (whom we all still call “The Rock” anyway), is a national treasure. Aside from starring in one of the most financially successful action movie franchises in history, the 44-year-old acting polymath boasts a resumé bedazzled with hit television shows, surprisingly good-looking film adaptations of classic programs, and pretty much the entire internet. He’s also, as this reporter and a roundtable of others found out last July on a Boston film set, apparently one of the nicest people in the business. Which is good news, because his neck was approximately the same width as our combined thighs.
Among the many, many projects Johnson has lined up for the next few years, his latest is Central Intelligence, an original action-comedy by We’re the Millersdirector Rawson Marshall Thurber and Mindy Project writers Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen. He plays Bob Stone, a badass CIA operative who recruits the one guy who didn’t bully him in high school, Calvin (Kevin Hart), to help him with a mission of the utmost importance. Sounds like your typical buddy comedy movie, right?
In a sense, Central Intelligence is precisely that. Yet as Johnson explained it to us as he answered our questions, it’s also about bullies and what it takes to stand up to them. Hence we witnessed the filming of a surprisingly tense, ugly, and action-free scene that hot July day, one involving Johnson, Hart, and an actor making a surprise cameo. Bob was physically the biggest thing in the room, but he was reduced to a scared, insecure teenager because of a slew of nasty words.
So what we saw in that scene, is that kind of indicative of who your character is when we meet him?
Right, when we meet him, he’s incredibly shy. Bullied unmercifully, he has a lot of quirks and idiosyncrasies. So that’s who we meet in the beginning of the movie. Because he was bullied, he quit high school after this one particular event. He decides to change his life. He works for the CIA and becomes very efficient as an operative. And, like a lot of things in life, when it’s time to pay the piper and face your greatest fears, sometimes it goes well and sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, [the character played by the actor making a surprise cameo] is my greatest fear.
He’s a different character for you. We’re used toyou as an alpha who’s always very confident.
Handsome. Continue reading