Bangkok Press | 1/25/2012
Last year in the hyperkinetic film Fast Five, Dwayne Johnson growled and grumbled playing the role of a federal agent chasing a pack of auto-bandits in Rio de Janeiro. Johnson, also known as The Rock, is a prime cut of beef that glitters in the Brazilian sun; yet the man holds his character with gravity, zipping through the breakneck action with all scowl and no smile.
Next week, Johnson will switch into his goofy, all-smile mode _ this is something he’s been doing since his crossing-over from the sweaty wrestling ring to the Hollywood movie screen. The Rock’s first outing in 2012 is Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, an all-out family fun film taking place on what looks like Jules Verne’s (and Robert Louis Stevenson’s) imaginary lost world full of dwarfed elephants and gigantic bees. Along for this 3D ride are Michael Caine, the legend who also adopts a madcap guise, and Josh Hutcherson as a boy in search of adventure, preferably at the end of the world.
“It’s a conscious choice to pick roles that I’m going to enjoy, whether they be action or comedy films,” Johnson said in an interview last week during his press tour in Taipei, where Journey 2 opened to the fanfare of Chinese New Year (the film opens in Bangkok on Feb 2). Straddling the two sides of movie personality is a strategy _ one that happens to suit his gentle-giant appearance _ which is likely to nourish the career of this former wrestling superstar who slammed his way into Hollywood’s first bill with The Scorpion King exactly 10 years ago.