Dwayne Johnson is both an archetype and an exceptional case. The former because he seems to embody the dream of every action actor: He has been a part of it for years Annual revenue around $ 100 million (via Forbes ) to Hollywood’s top earners and, with its latest blockbuster, puts Fast & Furious 9 and Black Widow in their place.
But he’s also an exception. As one of the few A-listers in the dream factory, his name alone can sometimes mean a box office success without having a well-known franchise behind him. So what makes Johnson so uniquely successful? The answer lies in his wrestling roots.
Wrestling was the action blueprint for Dwayne Johnson’s Hollywood career
Dwayne Johnson’s almost ten-year wrestling career as an eyebrow virtuoso and loudmouth The Rock was a tremendous success: By the time he stopped working full-time in 2004, he was ten times world champion of the wrestling associations WWE and WCW in various disciplines and was the main actor of great wrestling Events on TV records. In American pro wrestling it’s not about fighting power, it’s about personality – a fact that Johnson still benefits today.
Reason 1: Dwayne Johnson was able to practice his action performance every night
Currently in the cinema: Dwayne Johnson in Jungle Cruise
Because in a certain way a pro-wrestler differs little from a theater actor: Both stand in front of an audience on a stage and play a character. The Rock had the opportunity every evening during the tour rush hour to fine-tune its role, its mannerisms and sayings, the full power of its charisma to the reaction of the audience until this one snap with a snap could.
This daily test not only increased his acting skills but also increased his awareness of the audience. Johnson knows very well what potential his characters have in the audience and how he must design them and their surroundings in advance for maximum impact. It is therefore no coincidence that he also produces many of his films, most recently Jungle Cruise and Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw.
Reason 2: For Dwayne Johnson, action entertainment counts, not drama perfection
It is also not surprising that he sees the maximum entertainment factor for viewers as the goal of his films. While other stars in their roles the limits of their talent, their body, or good taste To try to sound out, Johnson basically commits himself to maybe two or three colorings of the figures.
First movie starring role for Dwayne Johnson: The Scorpion King
In Central Intelligence, Jumanji or Jungle Cruise he is essentially an invincible, if at times dull, leader. San Andreas or Skyscraper show us Johnson in a similar role, minus a lot of humor and plus at least half a family. He basically mimes in early works like Walking Tall, the Fast & Furious parts or the future Black Adam a muscular steam locomotive on a collision course with its enemies.
Surprising representations such as that of an underprivileged actor in Southland Tales or an unscrupulous but equally stupid weight training athlete in Pain & Gain are rare. He often talks about it on Instagram, for his fans “the hardest worker in the room” to be.
Dwayne Johnson in Pain & Gain
It is the same claim that he already made with his wrestling slogan “shut up and know your role“(“shut up and know your role“) has announced. Johnson is not interested in variety or extremes, ideally, a single, reproducible role should entertain millions of viewers to the point of ecstasy, as is the case with wrestling.
Reason 3: Wrestling showed Dwayne Johnson the perfect action-comedy mix
And for a persona whose goal is entertainment as widely as possible, wrestling is the ideal boot camp. In the arenas of a pleasure-seeking America have two main components: action and comedy.
Wrestlers are mountains of muscles, they are strong and sturdy and don’t take crap. For viewers, their world is simple: Conflicts are resolved with plastic chairs and body slams. But at the same time they have little in common with the hyperhumorous action icons of the 80s, like Stallone or Schwarzenegger.
Comedy Gold: The Rock with Kevin Hart in Central Intelligence
Because they are fully aware of the theatricality of their role: They are not hardened mercenaries or detectives or returnees from Vietnam, but gifted crowd pullers, puffed up birds of paradise in skin-tight costumes. You know exactly how wonderfully bizarre the wrestling mixture of gaudy is Spandex and Shakespeare’s stab in the back storylines affects the audience.
And it is precisely this combination of hyper masculinity and self-destructive humor that also covers an immense spectrum of viewers in the cinema: Especially the brute muscle manhood, which Johnson and Co. both confirm and tear apart down to the last, is currently certainly more fans than the wordless and jocular terminators of the past.
Are John Cena and Dave Bautista following Dwayne Johnson’s example of action?
The Rock takes advantage of this combination of basics and attitudes to rise to the highest Hollywood Hills as the perfect turning worker without airs (but with an Adonis look and top-notch humor). The triumvirate of his action formula – audience sensitivity, role perfection, contemporary Mixture of riot and laughing fit – That’s why colleagues like John Cena and Dave Bautista like to make use of it.
Wonderfully stupid: John Cena’s role in The Suicide Squad
Both play a mixture of comedy appearances (Dating Queen or The Spy from Next Door) and action fare (Army of the Dead, Fast & Furious 9), with their greatest successes being a mixture of both areas (Guardians of the Galaxy , The Suicide Squad).
But of course the success of the DJ formula also depends on luck and personal preferences: unlike Johnson, who already played his leading role in The Scorpion King a record $ 5.5 million one thing, Cena had to put up with cracking failures like The Marine for a while, until his acting career finally picked up speed as well.
Bautista, on the other hand, apparently prefers martial arts appearances and smaller, more complex roles to jumping over the big franchise hills. This is how his cast in The Man With The Iron Fist comes about. Or his portrayal in Blade Runner 2049: A little, incredibly remarkable appearance as a melancholy mountain by a man, Tired of running away
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So you could say: The Rocks recipe for success is certainly not suitable for every ex-wrestler in Hollywood, but is basically open to everyone. Perhaps this also requires the stoic routine of a man who daily Dumbbell after dumbbell makes his biceps grow.
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