He has been dubbed "Franchise Viagra" for his ability to boost (and in some cases, flat out rescue) film franchises from Fast & Furious to G.I. Joe. So why doesn't every director move Heaven and Earth to work with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Well, many do. But the busiest man in Hollywood only has so many hours in the day. His most recent movie, Rampage, recently topped the global box office charts, and to celebrate the victory, Rampage director Brad Peyton joined CinemaBlend's ReelBlend podcast. We got to talking about Rocky, and the attributes he brings to a production, so Peyton -- who has directed The Rock three times now -- broke down exactly why every filmmaker needs this guy on their team. Peyton said:
For me, he's amazing because he is coachable. The closest analogy I can give is having a superstar player on a team. As the director, it's really like I'm the coach. ... What Dwayne is is he's like the star athlete. He's the guy who the whole team is going to follow because he has these intangibles. One of his biggest intangibles is that he's fearless. He's willing to try anything. He's really willing to put himself out there. One of his other intangibles is that he just knows his audience really well. He knows what people want to see out of him. Even when you are directing him, he has these things in his mind of, 'I should do it this way because it's the way I would do it, it's the flavor I would bring to it.'
This likely comes from Dwayne Johnson's own history with professional sports, having played football in college and -- of course -- dominating the WWF and WWE before breaking into films. Rock knows how a team should operate, and he seems to have brought that ensemble-based mindset to his film sets. Also, the man loves a challenge. And he'll never back down from a challenge. Brad Peyton has a very funny way of describing it, telling ReelBlend:
Dwayne's one of those guys where you present the challenge, and he is going to succeed come hell or high water. I love this about him because it's really easy to... I'm an excitable director. I get enthusiastic about my job. And so when I need Dwayne to do something that's difficult, it's the equivalent of being able to be, 'You see that wall? I need you to run through that wall.' [laughs] And he's like, 'That wall?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, that wall.' And he's like, 'Fuck that wall!' And I'm like, 'Alright, roll camera. Here we go!' [Laughs] And then, you know, he does it! And I go, 'That was awesome! Do you think we could smash that other wall there? But do you think this time we could say the line here instead of there? And then say, I don't know, smash the wolf?' And he's like, 'Yeah, let's do that!' And it's cool because in some ways, you found someone where you are able to get excited, and you are able to get enthusiastic with, and you can present these challenges to.
The Rock is on a roll. And a good deal of his success can be contributed to the fact that he does have complete awareness of what his audience wants from him. But it did take years for him to figure it out, and that growing process led to movies like Scorpion King, The Game Plan and Doom. His collaborations with Brad Peyton have been hits, so it was great to hear from Peyton himself how they operate as a team.
To listen to the complete conversation with Brad Peyton, give this week's ReelBlend a spin down below:
Rampage is in theaters as we speak. ReelBlend is a weekly podcast hosted by Sean O'Connell, Kevin McCarthy and Jake Hamilton. Follow the show on Twitter, and subscribe to the show on iTunes if you like what you hear!