Edge

How Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Became a Hollywood Sensation

From the first time he raised a taunting eyebrow from the squared circle of the WWE, Johnson has captivated a growing global audience of fans who can’t get enough.

How Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Became a Hollywood Sensation
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty

We ask a lot of Dwayne Johnson. And he always comes through. Johnson has yet to encounter an obstacle he couldn’t overcome. He’s outlasted earthquakes (San Andreas), genetically modified rage animals (Rampage), scheming, murderous drivers (the Fast & Furious series), even mouthy comics (Central Intelligence and Jumanji). His screen heroics have made him one of the most bankable Hollywood stars in history—as close to a sure bet as you’ll find in today’s fragmented film industry. Over his career, Johnson’s movies have returned more than $8.9 billion in box office earnings worldwide.

In his newest adventure epic, Skyscraper, Johnson plays a former FBI agent and wounded amputee who must rescue his family from the tallest building in the world, which also happens to be set ablaze. We like his chances.

MAN OF THE CENTURY

From the first time he raised a taunting eyebrow from the squared circle of the WWE, Johnson has captivated a growing global audience of fans who can’t get enough of his physicality, wit, and outsize charisma. Producer, actor, wrestler, best-selling author, philanthropist—Johnson fills so many roles, you have to wonder if there’s more than one of him.

Despite his enormous success in the entertainment realm, Johnson never strays far from his athletic roots. He’s no green-screen concoction when it comes to strength and athleticism. Johnson looks the part because he works at it.

A former college football player at Miami, he still trains like an elite athlete. He lifts heavy. Stays lean year-round. Doesn’t skip leg day. A true Muscle & Fitness guy. In fact, he was named Man of the Century by this magazine in 2015.

Perhaps it’s his dedication to hard training that makes the Mr. Olympia contest so intriguing to Johnson. Unlike some who look down on bodybuilding, he’s an enthusiastic fan of the sport. His appearance at last year’s Mr. Olympia in Las Vegas was one of the weekend’s highlights, but Johnson made certain to keep the spotlight on the athletes competing.

Like Arnold Schwarzenegger before him, Johnson leveraged a distinct persona in a nonmainstream sport (or at least one not covered on ESPN) and became box office gold. Like Arnold, Johnson has expressed an interest in serving in political office, hinting at a desire to run for president.

It should be no surprise that Johnson would be intrigued by public service. He already generously gives back, using his social media platforms (e.g., 113 million followers on Instagram) to support numerous charitable causes, including The Rock Foundation, which is dedicated to the welfare of children.

Flaming skyscrapers are one thing, but can anyone fix our broken political system? Don’t count him out. Johnson is one of the few unifying forces left in a divided nation. After recent events, a Dwayne Johnson candidacy doesn’t seem so implausible.

Yes, it just may be time for the United States of The Rock. Because sometimes all you need is a big guy with a big heart.

Topics:
Comments