On The Rock

Dwayne Johnson’s popular epithet, ‘The Rock’, perfectly personifies his physical mien and his emotional fortitude

With his new flick, ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’, set to hit the screens before Christmas, Dwayne Johnson is, assuredly, upbeat about the upcoming holiday season. His role as Dr. Smolder Bravestone in the sequel/reboot to the 1995 film is expected to bring much needed festive joy to his legion of fans as well as film buffs, who have been waiting for the second outing in the Jumanji series.

The first Jumanji film featured Robin Williams as Alan Parrish and, in a show of homage, the new one is said to include a reference to the character. Johnson sees his presence in the new film as an honour to the memory of Williams. He’d said, “It was the opportunity that we had to introduce Jumanji to a whole new generation… It was my personal way of paying homage and respect to the one man who created the Jumanji magic to begin with – Mr. Robin Williams.”

Dwayne Douglas Johnson’s tough persona does hide his warm and endearing relationship with his fraternity and his fans. In an Instagram post during the promos of the film, last month, he recalled meeting Williams for the first time. “I was a star struck bumbling idiot that couldn’t even get my words out… He literally calmed me down with that smile and laugh.”

Actor, producer and professional wrestler, Johnson, regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all times, is humble in his approach to his craft and in his dealings with his fans. He tasted success very early on… It started with the national championship as a college football player for the University of Miami in 1991 – before wrestling happened. It was only in 1995 that he began training for a career in professional wrestling, just like his grandfather and his father, Rocky Johnson.

From 1996 to 2004 Johnson gained mainstream fame in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) and was the first third-generation wrestler in the company’s history. He made a part time comeback between 2011 and 2013 and, even today, does make appearances, on and off, for the company. His wrestling accomplishments include WWF/WWE Champion – 8 times, WCW/World Champion – 2 times, WWF Intercontinental Champion – 2 times and WWF Tag Team Champion – 5 times. He is the sixth Triple Crown Champion in WWE and has won the 2000 Royal Rumble.

His cinematic success began in 2002, with his first film, ‘The Scorpion King’, for which he was paid US$5.5 million, a world record for an actor in his first leading role. It was his role of Luke Hobbs, in ‘The Fast and the Furious’ franchise that gained him worldwide recognition. In 2016, he was the world’s highest paid actor; the same year Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

What makes Johnson so special is his ability to achieve success in everything that he does. Even his autobiography ‘The Rock Says…’ debuted at No. 1 on ‘The New York Times’ Best Seller list in 2000. As he says, “Success isn’t always about ‘Greatness’, it’s about consistency. Consistent, hard work gains success. Greatness will come.”

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