Dwayne Johnson

June 25th, 2015 Film, Maxim Australia, Personalities

The trailer makes San Andreas look pretty action packed, how much is in there?

A tremendous amount of action, but it’s a different kind of action because you’re dealing with Mother Nature. A lot of it is based on reality and research with scientists who worked on the script with us.

We had people from the University of Southern California, Earthquake Centre, decorated seismologists who worked on the script to make sure when they stepped away they could say the movie could really happen in terms of scientific fact.

There’s a ton of action because one thing happens, an earthquake will hit and then that will trigger another fault line to go off up in San Francisco which will then trigger a tsunami, so it’s a big domino effect.

Tell us about the character of Ray.

He’s one of these really special unique guys like a lot of men and women out there who are rescue pilots and fire fighters. One of the most amazing things is how in the face of calamity and trauma everyone runs away where they run towards it.

Any cool new skills working on San Andreas taught you?

I spent time with the helo rescue pilots trying to operate a helicopter to I understood the technical aspects of it, then spending a little bit of time with those guys to get inside their psychology.

But the most important and compelling material was working with the earthquake scientists. We broke down the script with them and learned all about tectonic plates and how they’re real and how much research has been done in terms of being able to call in an earthquake 30 to 60 seconds before it happens.

In all movies, whether they’re action movies or dramas or comedies, the research is fun and it’s important but this was a type of research that was very eye opening. It’s very real.

Did learning all about that stuff make you a bit more scared about the possibilities?

Not so much more fear but more awareness. It’s a scary thought.

You’ve worked with San Andreas director Brad Peyton a few times. Are you guys in some sort of movie sync now?

Brad’s hungry to be a leading filmmaker. He came to Budapest where we were shooting Hercules and sat down with us to pitch why he’s the director for the job.

Spielberg has been his biggest inspiration, in terms of captivating an audience and immersing them in the action. Brad not only wants to use that model but take it to another level and I think you find that in San Andreas.

You look pretty comfortable flying a helicopter in the trailer. Do you have a flying bug of your own and want to own a plane or helicopter?

Never. I enjoyed it in the movie when I was able to fly a helicopter, but I got to be honest with you I love my pick up truck. I have no interest in flying my own plane or buying a plane.

So you actually did the flying in the movie?

Well I had help. In a helo you’ve got two guys who actually fly it at the same time, so I can look like I fly very well.

I’m sure you take something different from every movie. What have you taken from San Andreas?

We don’t delve in it too much in the movie but it’s okay to fail. I know what it’s like to get a divorce. There were parallels with myself and this character but he also loses his daughter, without giving too much away. One of his daughters dies on his watch, he’s not able to save her and he hasn’t forgiven himself.

He’s carried the weight of that blame for so long and the irony is that he’s a man who saves lives and he couldn’t save his daughter’s life. So we were able to play with that throughout the script.

It’s happened to me in the past, whether it’s divorce or asking what kind of dad I’m going to be to my little girl. You make mistakes and you like to think you’re learning from them. So without getting too heavy into it, you walk away from San Andreas thinking mistakes are okay, we all make them.

And what are audiences going to take away?

I think they’re going to find it thrilling and really relentless. It’s one thing when you’re shooting, you read the script and you have a good sense of what you’re shooting. Then you watch it for the first time and it blew me away.

It’s very relentless and just continues to go and go because it’s a domino effect when one thing happens another thing happens, it’s not contained. These things happen in a big way where millions of people get affected.

It’s thrilling, it’s entertaining, it’s informative. I watched it with my whole family and we left the theatre in a state of shock and then once you calm down from it you start to think about how we made it with the tanks and water and tsunamis and everything. So it was all those things and afterwards audiences are going to be really intrigued about how we made it.

Do you consider yourself the last action hero now the old guard has moved on, or a new class of action hero?

I know what you’re saying and I do appreciate it, but no. When I first got into the business probably in 2000, there were Bruce Willis and Stallone and Schwarzenegger, those guys were on top of their game. They were huge movie stars. The three of them specifically were always very supportive of my transition when I came into Hollywood and I appreciate that.

But the goal was never to become the next ‘that guy’. The goal was to be me and work in all different genres. I was prepared to fail because I also knew I didn’t come from an acting background. I didn’t come from a performing arts school, my performing arts was the ring and 50,000 people every night and that was valuable to me.

So I also got into business of being a sponge. I wanted to work in different genres, comic and dramatic. Whatever it was, I just wanted to try and have a diverse career. So to be where I’m at today is really what I wanted to be. Not the last action guy, just a guy who had a pretty good career and wanted to try different things.

Being an action guy you’re also very comfortable working with green screens and effects. How about 3D?

Very comfortable. It’s a fascinating part of filmmaking. It’s also really fascinating when you have a director who’ll only use visual effects to augment and extend the shots, shooting everything directly in camera to make it as real as you could possibly make it.

As an actor we’ve all worked in front of green screen with the monster or robot that isn’t really there or whatever it is, but this was very different because it was the elements and Mother Nature. Those elements are way different from an alien, bad guy, tank, anything like that.

And as 3D continues to excel it’s hitting a wonderful crest right now in technology. It happened for us on Journey 2: Mysterious Island, we were able to use James Cameron’s equipment that hadn’t been used for anything except Avatar. We took that and advanced it for Journey 2: Mysterious Island.

Your fitness is an inspiration to millions. What’s your fitness advice?

I don’t judge. It’s easy to think everyone has time to do it, but we all life a very different lifestyle. It just works for me and becomes my anchor, same thing for someone else might be meditation or just going out and having a cigarette break. Some people need that. I have friends who need that. So that’s just my thing, you know what I mean?

But the best advice is to find something you like doing – walking, yoga, quiet time. You don’t necessarily have to be active, just whatever quiets your brain and makes things balanced. Life is crazy as it as. But if you’re not into physical activity then the advice is always be careful about what you eat. You got to find the balance.

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