Dwayne Johnson was not the only pro wrestler turned Hollywood celebrity since the industry began looking out for those following in the footsteps of great performers like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. But The Rock’s name was not embedded within the industry with his debut, unlike the incredible launch and career-defining roles played by the aforementioned legends.
There were no impossibly successful franchises like The Terminator and Rocky waiting to greet him at the door. The actor who starred as a C-grade antagonist opposite Brendan Fraser in The Mummy Returns was a victim of horrifying CGI and poor script and the star was preparing to bid goodbye to his Hollywood dream even before he had begun.
Dwayne Johnson in The Scorpion King (2002)
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Dwayne Johnson Recalls His Early Years in Hollywood
In a decade-old interview with Howard Stern, Dwayne Johnson discussed how his debut in Hollywood was not affected by his already-established reputation in the industry founded on fame and success. The DCU star’s revelation proves that the actor’s current rapport as the lovable and approachable persona was one that had to be inculcated through the years, not something that he emanated from the very beginning.
“So, celebrities they shy away from me. Yeah, like they can’t talk to me or something. I don’t know what it is.”
The Rock in The Mummy Returns
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The Rock’s career hadn’t taken too long before catapulting to the heights of success. The star eventually found his specialty in the action genre, leading films that attracted crowds to the theatres like no other.
How The Rock Climbed to the Top Rungs of Success
The Black Adam star took his formative steps in an industry that was glowing under a production era that forever redefined the cinematic experience for fans around the globe. 2000-09 was a decade that established, evolved, and glorified fantasy and epic fiction in films, with franchises like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and Avatar taking the world by storm, beside action-packed franchises like Fast & Furious, Mission: Impossible, and Jason Bourne. Brendan Fraser’s Mummy trilogy, unfortunately, breathed its last during this evolutionary decade of the new millennia.
The Rock starts out in Hollywood alongside Brendan Fraser
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It was this threequel of the Mummy series that marked not only the extinction of Fraser’s career (marred by unspeakable treachery at an HFPA event) but also the beginning of an aspiring actor who would go on to become the highest-paid artist a decade later. But despite starting off in an adequately-budgeted film with a poorly-executed script, The Rock made use of the screen time he was awarded to the best of his abilities, only to find that the industry was far more difficult even for well-endowed debutantes than he had initially expected.
Dwayne Johnson particularly recalls in an interview with Howard Stern how he was asked to change his physical appearance if he wanted to move ahead with his career in acting. The leading men in Hollywood romcoms don’t look like they benchpress 200 lbs every day before leaving home for their designated meet cute moments and finding their one true love. That did not sit well with the WWE champion and he spun his career to suit his physique instead of changing the latter to accommodate the former. The result? The Rock is the #1 leading man of the highest-grossing action flicks of the past decade and the highest-paid star of 2022.
Source: The Howard Stern Show