Dwayne Johnson is better known for his wrestler alter ego, ‘The Rock’, but that macho persona no longer defines his career. The 43-year-old has taken Hollywood by the throat – no pun intended. Since leaving the ring, he’s starred in a wealth of films, his newest “San Andreas,” which is gearing up to be a box office hit. Making the transition wasn’t easier, however, which Johnson reveals in his recent interview with Esquire Magazine. He dishes on why he left the world of wrestling, how he turned $7 dollars into a thriving business and his determination to create a long-lasting career for his family. Check out these excerpts:
On the transition from entertainment wrestling to the big screen:
When I first came into acting, I had great opportunities to make a decent movie. I had a run there in 2005, ’06, ’07—for a long time it was “Oh, he’s the best thing in the movie that’s not that good.” I started questioning: Did I make the right choice? Should I have stayed in wrestling a bit longer? And then budgets became lower and lower and the pay kinda stayed the same and there wasn’t a lot of growth.
Wrestling is intimate. You can reach out and touch the wrestlers. I don’t get that connection in movies, but the impact is so much greater. You’re able to craft a longer career in movies. In wrestling, there’s a shelf life, and some wrestlers don’t pay attention to the shelf life.
On how he feels about the physical toll of wrestling:
I think wrestling for $40 a night and eating at the Waffle House three times a day, wrestling every weekend at a flea market, then at a state fair or a car dealership or in barns, “blade jobs,” where I cut my forehead with razor blades… These days I never question, “Oh, do I deserve it? Am I a real man?” No.
On the meaning behind his company, Seven Bucks Production:
In 1995, I called my old man when I landed in Miami [after getting cut from the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders] and I said, “Dad, you gotta come get me.” I didn’t have a car at that time. He drove in his little truck from Tampa to Miami, picked me up, and we were on our way up I-75, the famous Alligator Alley, and I thought, Sh*t, how much money do I even have? Pulled out my wallet, and yeah, I had a five, a one, and some change. I remember thinking, F*ck, all I have is seven bucks. At that time I wanted so much more. Warren Sapp had just signed for millions of dollars in the draft. He was the one that actually beat me out of my position [at Miami] two and a half years earlier. Not to begrudge him at all; we’re still good buddies today and I’m very happy for him. But it was like the success I wanted so badly and worked so hard for for years was happening all around me to everyone else but me. And I’ll never forget that. The term “seven bucks” has a lot of meaning.
[READ MORE ON THE NEXT PAGE.]