During the past three years, Dwayne Johnson has certainly elevated himself into the go-to actor for tough guy action movies. From almost single-handedly resurrecting the Fast & Furious franchise to starring as Hercules, a G.I. Joe, and pumping iron with Mark Wahlberg in Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain, Johnson gets another shot to lead an action movie. This time around, it’s San Andreas and contrary to the scoffing cynicism the movie will likely be met with, Johnson spoke at the press conference for the movie saying that the film was grounded in science and had a lot of heart. But don’t kid yourself, there’s plenty of badass Rock moments in this one and he shared a few thoughts about the film below.
On how he went about creating his character now that he’s branded as an action movie tough guy
I read script while shooting Hercules in Budapest. Read it all the way through and it all came together really quickly. When you’re constructing a heroic character, one that can play a part in anchoring a big movie like this, that’s a real-world movie with real men and women in terms of first responders, the level of detail is really extraordinary. We had many detailed conversations to understand the relationships because there’s a responsibility that comes when you play first responders. There’s also an expectation from fans, globally, that are used to what we’ve been delivering and so we want to take that and raise the bar with this script, which was very well written. We had the opportunity to create something that was special and unique, but also ground it with heart and science.
On how San Andreas is grounded in science
I just saw the movie in its final, final completion. There’s the element of the first responders and the families and there’s also, more importantly, the anchor of the science behind it. Prior to Paul [Giamatti] coming on board we had the top earthquake scientists pour over the script, challenge the script and then ultimately walk away from it saying, “This could happen. We hope it doesn’t, but it could happen.” I think when you have that in the script and have the top scientists give it that stance, then you have to have someone come on board who is able to act it with conviction and credibly.
On the movie that inspired him as a kid and how San Andreas is like a Spielberg movie
When I was 8 years old, I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, was so inspired, loved the movie, like “I want to be that guy!” Charming, cool, kicks ass, cool with the ladies but I had no connection to Hollywood so to be sitting here today, I’m grateful and very happy and I will say, for the record, that I received a letter from the gentleman who directed Raiders. Very cool. You know who that is. I’m not a name dropper….. Steven Spielberg! He reached out and said a lot of cool, motivating things. We were talking about this script while we were in Budapest and saying how much it’s like a Spielberg movie. A big, grand spectacle, but grounded with a lot of heart and character.
San Andreas is in theaters May 28.