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The busiest man in Hollywood is about to get a little busier. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is set to star in The King, an “epic-sized” film from director Robert Zemeckis that will follow the story of Hawaiian king Kamehameha, according to Deadline.
The film is based on a script by Randall Wallace, who is known for writing Braveheart, hence the comparisons already to that epic war film.
Johnson already has a massive slate ahead with Jungle Cruise, Hobbs & Shaw, the sequel to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and Red Notice already locked in, but with the personal connection to the material—Johnson’s family has connections to Hawaii, lived there for a time, and his grandfather’s wrestling nickname was the “Flying Hawaiian”—this project seems to be a main priority for Johnson.
Deadline’s Mike Fleming writes that the film likely will shoot in 2020 due to Johnson’s busy slate, and that the project is one that Johnson has been thinking about for years. Fleming wrote that when Johnson was working on one of his early films, The Mummy Returns, Johnson said “that his dream was to one day play Kamehameha.” Now, that dream is becoming a reality.
The king is described by Deadline as “the legendary king who was the first to unite the warring Hawaiian islands, which fulfilled the prophecy that surrounded his fabled life since birth. He took control of Hawaii’s destiny, and gave the islanders leverage in advancing the culture in trading with the foreign ships from Europe that began showing up on the shores of islands that must have seemed like paradise, albeit a sometimes dangerous one as explorers like Simon Metcalfe and Captain James Cook discovered before Kamehameha forcibly unified the islands.”
Johnson became even more motivated to shoot The King after filming Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle in Hawaii in 2016. Johnson’s production company, Seven Bucks Productions, “wanted a visceral historical epic” in the vein of Braveheart, so they enlisted Wallace to write the script, and soon after they were able to lock in Zemeckis, who is known for films like Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Flight.
We’ll bring you more about The King as the news develops.