How to be more like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Let’s be honest: if you said ‘I’m going to make a mega-budget adaptation of a plotless 1986 arcade game about giant monsters smashing up buildings, which almost nobody remembers’ most movie executives would laugh you out of the room. Then, just as you were being escorted out by security, you’d casually add ‘starring The Rock,’ and they’d apologise profusely and start throwing bricks of cash at you.
That’s because The Rock can do anything. He’s one of the biggest stars in wrestling history, and one of the only men with beatdowns of both Hulk Hogan and John Cena on his resume.
He’s played the lead in 20 films grossing a cumulative $4.1 billion dollars (just beating Arnold, whose numbers are 27 and 4.0, FYI). He’s got a hit HBO show and his own mega-successful production company. He eats roughly 821 pounds of cod a year. And even if it seems a bit daunting, you have to admit you could do with being a bit more like him. Here’s how it’s done.
No, harder than that. #HardestWorkerInTheRoom is the artist formerly known as Flex Kavana’s main mantra, and he lives it by scheduling workouts and conference calls for hours of the morning you’re only dimly aware exist, rising at 4am to hit the iron by 5am and the breakfast bar before most people are out of bed. Then it’s onward to juggling and promoting up to a dozen projects at once, including films (he has about twelve on the way), TV shows (Ballers for HBO-strength drama, upcoming NBC series The Titan Games for Gladiators-style physical tomfoolery) and a full slate of programming from his own production company, Seven Bucks. Oh, and he’s also got a new product line with Under Armour. And two daughters, with a third on the way. And a dog. You absolutely cannot fit in as much as him and probably shouldn’t try, but if you want a nudge in the right direction, download his free app The Rock Clock to let the big man yell at you (and play guitar!) first thing in the morning. Yes, there is an option that lets you sync your phone with The Rock’s, so you wake up when he does. No, there is no snooze button.
Have A Back-Up Plan
Sounds contrary to the usual ‘burn your boats!’ business advice? It is. But consider this fun fact: Arnold Schwarzenegger was already a millionaire from his property investments by the time he started his film career, and credits his early success to being able to pick and choose parts without being desperate for cash. The Rock hit Hollywood in a similar situation. ‘I wasn’t afraid to take risks, because I had a dollar in the bank,’ he explains. ‘I wasn’t driven by money as much as I was driven by making a successful transition.’ If you’re planning an abrupt life-change, consider how much wiggle room 3-6 months of savings will cover you, especially if you’re able to live cheap – and remember, sometimes burning your boats just means you don’t have a boat when you really, really need one.
Play to your Strengths
When he first made the leap to Hollywood, The Rock’s then-management team advised a rebrand under the Dwayne Johnson monicker – no more wrestling references, no more raised eyebrows, and a lot less muscle. That worked okay, but – says the man himself – ‘something just felt off.’ Cue a 2011 course-switch that saw his ex-wife become his official manager, a return to the WWE after a seven-year absence from live shows, and a more impossibly jacked Rock than ever. Slightly less than two years later, he was Hollywood’s highest-grossing actor, raking in $1.3 billion at the box office in 2013. The moral? There are a lot of leading men who are charming, and a lot of people who can convincingly chuck a dude through a plate-glass window, but almost nobody who can do both. Work out what your unique combination of strengths is, and then (ideally) how you can make millions of dollars from it.
…But be ready to grow
Not just from the cod. The Rock has – if we’re all being honest – starred in some stinkers, but everything from his big-screen debut as a CG crab-monster in The Mummy Returns (where he won a Teen Choice award for best villain, thanks) to Doom (which, uh, netted a Fangoria Award nomination for Bloodiest Beatdown) came as a learning experience for the big man. Now, after getting the hours in, he’s as comfortable in family films as gritty revenge thrillers, and as convincing doing comedy as he is singing songs as a Polynesian demigod. He credits the growth to the same process he used to get good at football and wrestling: find good teachers, and surround yourself with people that challenge you to get better.
Be gracious in defeat
Yes, this is an odd thing to say about a man who once threw Stone Cold Steve Austin off a bridge, but listen, no listen – he’s mellowed in recent years. When Baywatch – a rare clanger in the Johnson filmography – got a Razzie award for being impressively terrible, the big man took to Twitter with grace and aplomb. His acceptance speech? ‘Look, we made Baywatch with the best intentions and it didn’t work out like that, but I humbly and graciously accept my Razzie and I thank you critics and thank you fans.’ Something to remember when you’re reaching for the steel chair during your next performance review.
Give props to your co-workers
Spend some time on The Rock’s Instagram – you know, really dive in there – and you’ll notice one constant among the promotional shots, suave suits and terrifyingly intense workout photos: the Brahma Bull is a man who believes in credit where it’s due. One minute he’s bigging up Rawson Thurber, his writer-director collaborator on the upcoming Skyscraper and Red Notice, the next he’s bigging up his strength coach Dave Rienzi or his wardrobe stylist Ilaria Urbinati. Yes, he’s not above a bit of shameless self-promotion on occasion, but he reserves the biggest plaudits for his co-workers, and there are loads of them. Next time you’re passive-aggressively tweeting about some people using the microwave for too long over lunch, pause and remember your mantra: WWTRD?
…And go to the gym
Yes, it’s mandatory. The People’s Champ started taking the iron seriously at 14, ‘Not for fame or a competition, but because we were evicted from our small apartment in Hawaii. So, I did the only thing I could control with my own two hands in hopes that one day my family would never worry about being evicted again – I trained.’ He kept it up through serious struggles with depression as a teenager, made more difficult by injuries that halted his fledgling football career and a break-up with a girlfriend – and still, of course, scrapes out time to ‘clang and bang’ six times a week. But there’s more to it than simply getting swole: Harvard studies suggest that strength training can help psychological well-being, as well as building the kind of mental resilience (researchers technically term it ‘grit’, his Rockness calls it ‘Warrior Mana’) that you need to build an eight-figure career. Crank up the tunes – the Rock recommends ‘Tech9, Jay Z, Tupac, Bun B and Kendrick Lamar’ – and have at it. And that’s it. Easy, right? Good luck.
What the Rock is actually cooking
Lots of Fish
Fact: you and The Rock probably already eat roughly the same amount of fat (about 107 grams a day) and his carb intake, considering that he works out six days a week, isn’t radically higher. The difference is the protein: almost 2,000 of the big man’s 5,000 daily calories come from it, with 1,000 from cod (it’s lean, anti-inflammatory and high in vitamin D) alone. Oven-roast it straight, or marinade it in Greek yoghurt, mint and lemon juice for a bigger protein kick.
The Rock’s cheat days are things of legend: carb-tastic explosions of cookies, pizza, brownies and sushi that occasionally look more daunting than his actual workouts. Pancakes are a constant: Rocky uses Aunt Jemima mix and chocolate chips with maple syrup, but if you haven’t just finished leg day then whip up a healthier option with two egg whites, half a mashed banana and a scoop of whey protein powder.
We’ll allow the most electrifying man in sports entertainment to explain his pre-workout concoction. ‘Water, two scoops mandarin flavored Carnigen, two scoops GlycoJect, one cup of Colombian coffee and an Espresso thrown on top of that for the kick.. and a lil’ secret sauce.’ Yes, that is a lot of caffeine. No, we’re not entirely sure what the other things do.
Who is the World’s Greatest Living Wrestler/Actor?
They’ve met in the squared circle, but not the Oscar noms…yet. So: who out of Dave Bautista, John Cena and Dwayne Johnson is really the best actor? Shortlist examines the form.
John ‘The professor of Thuganomics’ Cena’s comedy-heavy output hurts him here, with Bautista turning in a surprising range of roles over a relatively short career. Still, the Rock’s been in more than 40 films! More than 40! Top marks, even if he does dress the same in a lot of them.
Rock: 9 Cena: 6 Bautista: 8
A tough round for Bautista, who hasn’t had much chance to flex his vocal muscle in roles like Arun The Cruel and Tong Po. Meanwhile, Cena can obviously rap, but turns the singing duties over to Nick Jonas and Pitbull in his only animated feature Ferdinand, leaving Rocky to romp home with his gut-busting take on Moana’s You’re Welcome.
Rock: 10 Cena: 1 Bautista: 1
A tough round: the Rock’s no slouch, but scene-stealing turns in Sisters, Trainwreck and Daddy’s Home make a good case for Cena’s comedy chops. For outright hilarity though, who has more one-liners to beat Bautista’s none-more-literal Drax The Destroyer? Advantage: Dave.
Rock: 7 Cena: 8 Bautista: 9
John started strong in this regard, but he’s tailed off recently, while Bautista continues to beat someone up in almost every single film he’s in. The Rock, though, has an onscreen murder-count of 341, and has Rock Bottomed at least one dude through a table. No contest.
Rock: 10 Cena: 5 Bautista: 8
Winner: The Rock!
With a near-flawless 36 out of 40, Rocky romps home against a tough field that (mercifully) didn’t include Hulk Hogan or Triple H. Still, the best years of Cena and Bautista’s careers could be yet to come, so hold on for a rematch in 2030.