Dwayne Johnson’s a busy man. I mean, like, "12 movies on his slate" busy. But the man-mountain must have a very hard time saying no to offers, because he’s about to throw another potential action film onto the ever-growing pile.
The Rock will next be seen in Central Intelligence, a comedy-thriller co-starring Kevin Hart that will be directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (We’re the Millers). That pairing must have gone very well, for Deadline now reports that Thurber has a pitch for an actioner that he’ll write and direct that will be The Rock’s version of Die Hard, only set in China. The trade says that simply putting The Rock’s name in a Die Hard-type pitch has inspired a bidding war between several studios, including Universal, Sony and Paramount.
There was a time when every movie being pitched in Hollywood fit into the "It’s Die Hard in a BLANK" mode. Once Bruce Willis reinvented the genre with his cocky cop against a tower of terrorists, screenwriters dropped action heroes everywhere from a bus (Speed) to a boat (Under Siege) to Game 7 of the NHL’s Stanley Cup finals (Sudden Death):
The problem is, precious few of these movies were any good. Even the Die Hard series had trouble capturing the white lightning that was the original movie, and while we LOVE The Rock in his action movies, the premise of "Die Hard in China" has us scratching our heads. There aren’t a lot of details in the Deadline story about a plot, just a promise that Dwayne Johnson would play "one man against extraordinary circumstances" in a story set in "the Middle Kingdom." So we will wait and see.
As we pointed out in our above list, The Rock has so many projects on his slate, from Fast 8 and Baywatch to remakes of Jumanji and a possible Doc Savage movie with Shane Black. Even if he were to complete all of these movies, he’d likely be preoccupied from now until 2020. So, will Thurber wait for him? Or, if Central Intelligence becomes a massive hit, will the studios fast-track this Die Hard pitch, and force The Rock to push some of his other, half-developed movies further back?
The Rock is in demand. It’s a good problem for him to have, but sooner or later, some of the movies he has on his Wish List are going to have to disappear… or he’s going to learn how to say, "I’m too busy for that one" somewhere down the line.