Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock, has been one of Hollywood’s top box office draws for two decades. But this wasn’t always true, especially early in his Hollywood career when he was transitioning from pro wrestling to acting. He faced a bit of pushback from the film industry, leading to insiders telling him to change his image and approach. He was told to be more like George Clooney and Will Smith, and The Rock revealed how he used this advice to change as Black Adam fuel.
At one point, Johnson was just a rising star, fresh off his first film, The Mummy Returns. In pushing to get more acting roles, Johnson faced some harsh feedback from some Hollywood higher-ups. They informed him his WWE persona wasn’t going to fly if he wanted to be at the level of Clooney and Smith. The Black Adam star opened up to Good Morning America about how he used their criticisms as fuel for the superhero film, saying:
So Hollywood was telling him to take away all the trademarks audiences have come to love. Denying important aspects of his past would’ve made him less genuine and more pretentious to moviegoers who knew him as a pro wrestler first. They wouldn’t have gotten those occasional check-ins from Iron Paradise. Dwayne Johnson's size and stature alone made him the perfect actor to star in action flicks like the Jumanji sequels and Rampage. Thankfully, he was able to turn those early Hollywood struggles into a potentially compelling movie performance.
But there was a period in The Rock’s career when he did drop the moniker and distanced himself from the WWE. Of course, at the time, it felt like the right move if Johnson wanted to have a real career in Hollywood. He admitted to feeding into the critiques at first before realizing he wasn’t being himself. Thinking about his early compromises helped him to relate to Black Adam's story. He explained:
Not only was Black Adam a passion project for the Hollywood mogul, but a personal one as well. The Rock appeared to find a kindred spirit in Black Adam going back to his days as a teenager. Like The Rock's 20-year career, it’s been an uphill battle getting the character to the big screen, including fighting for a film separate from Shazam!. Being true to himself and the character might pay off if those current opening weekend estimates for Black Adam of $70-75 million hold up.
Fans won’t have to wait much longer to see The Rock in Black Adam, as the film will arrive in theaters on October 21, 2022. Until it arrives, check out what other upcoming movies the actor will headline in the coming years, and also scan through the 2022 movie schedule to see what other superhero movies are being released.
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