April 2002
Ringside at The Theatre : An Interview with The Rock

Ringside at The Theatre : An Interview with The Rock

Itís not the first time we have seen a wrestler attempt to transfer his skills from the wrestling ring to the silver screen. However, The Rock provides for an entertaining creation and development of The Scorpion King. The Rock definitely competes within the category of being labeled an action-star, but I predict that his shinning light will only get brighter after this performance. Blackfilm.com sat with The Rock to discuss the film and this new direction.

AH: Youíre trying to balance acting and wrestling in Hollywood right now. How do you think this will affect your persona in the WWF?

TR: I think that sometimes, the formula/rues donít necessarily apply to a character like mine. What makes a great baby face in the WWF is being a great heel. Those tendencies and elements of the type of heel I would be are across the board Ė very entertaining, which is very important to me. Even now, I ride a fine line of being a baby face in the WWF. Always being in jeopardy is the key and very important to me. I donít think it will be that hard to be a heel and then be on the tonight show, and then do another movie. Itís all the same guy really.

AH: How has being a dad changed you?

TR: It has changed me completely. You become a lot less selfish. The decisions you make are really based around how it affects the baby. You donít just leave the house whenever you want to. Now, itís a big deal to get everything ready.

AH: Are you worried about the track record of wrestlers in movies?

TR: Well, Iím not worried about it too much. The only thing I want to do, ultimately, is entertain the fans. I snuck into a screening and I hope those reactions were indicative of how the rest of America is going to feel about the movie.

AH: Did you enjoy going beyond wrestling techniques to be able to use swords and martial arts?

TR: Absolutely. I loved the idea of being able to step outside the box, doing a period piece and not having many wrestling moves in the movie, keeping a close eye on the dialog so that it makes the comedy come through. The fight scenes are great for this era of action films. We got back to the basics and the fight scenes were all relatable and still entertaining, which can be very difficult to do. It helped me a lot in wrestling, too.

AH: Did working with an Acting Coach help you in wrestling as well as this movie?

TR: Larry Moss discovered that a lot of my wrestling skills transferred to acting. My acting coach is a dramatic acting coach so he helped my performance in wrestling because I am a big fan of being in jeopardy and being flawed Ė thatís why I typically lose more matches than I win. My next project, in moving forward, will be with Universal. Itís a contemporary two-hander action comedy where I will use Larry Moss again for that. He was really great and he helped me to be where I needed to be [with emotions].

AH: How about those love scenes?

TR: Love scenes are fun, when they are real. With all the people standing around, waiting for a break, tied, etc. Ė itís a little strange. I give a lot of pros to Kelly Hu. She did great, especially given what she had to wear!

AH: Now that Hulk Hogan has passed the ďicon of pro-wrestlingĒ torch to you, are you going to be able to strike that balance between wrestling and Hollywood?

TR: Iíll try to balance both as long as I can. Itís very ambitious because I know it is very difficult and I am not too sure I will be able to do it. I will always appreciate what Hogan did for me. Oddly enough we have become very good friends. Iíll do the best I can. The difference in my era is that back then; Hogan was the only guy, now there are many others Ė a luxury of big players.

AH: Talk to us about your racial pride?

TR: I am very proud of what I am. My father is Black and my mother is Samoan. Whatís been interesting is that in the wrestling industry, my dad came up in the 60ís, and back then, he couldnít even use the same bathroom as the other wrestlers. Yet, fans would still cheer him and he was the champion. Its interesting that now, people see me as, just The Rock; not that guy of color, its just The Rock.

AH: Tell us about your interests in Criminology?

TR: Criminology has been something that has always intrigued me and Iíve always wanted to work for the Secret Service one day. As often as it happens in life, I took a different direction. At first I thought I was going to law school. Then I realized you actually have to go to class! So I took a different path.

AH: The Scorpion King cast is very diverse, seemingly color blind. What are your thoughts about that?

TR: I think its great. Itís such a diverse cast. Everybody plays out well. Steven Brand, Kelly Hu, Michael Clarke Duncan, my sidekick, even the little boy Ė all did a great job. I was really happy with the screening. Itís always about good and evil. I really liked my antagonist. Steven Brand did a tremendous job, very believable bad guy! Itís great to be able to translate to a different audience and be seen by a different audience. Thatís great. Itís a small price to pay for something you really want to do.