Sandra Varner’s Celebrity Profiles
Whether you’re young at heart or an experienced adventurer, Journey 2 will take you down path of curiosity and splendor set in an island paradise, sure to bring excitement to the entire family. Dwayne Johnson as Hank, a stepfather anxious to ease family tensions, takes viewers on a 3d trek to a mysterious island hoping to protect his obstinate yet curious stepson Sean (Josh Hutcherson). Sean has received a coded message from a place unknown and will not stop until he follows his hunch. Dangerous and ill advised he will not back down.
Hank wants to make his wife Liz (Kristin Davis) happy and feels if he accompanies Sean to the island, it will make their strained relationship better. After all, Hank is a Navy vet whose brawn and bravado can be put to good use, traveling to a place where frightening and mysterious creatures abound somewhere beyond the South Pacific.
Johnson continues to build upon an impressive film career that has given way to numerous movies running the gamut between action-adventure to kiddy faves. Finding time to volley between the world of wrestling and making movies, his career is guided by one of Hollywood’s most powerful agents, Ari Emanuel. Johnson’s film credits include: The Scorpion King, The Rundown, Walking Tall, Be Cool, Get Smart, Gridiron Gang, Race to With Mountain, Tooth Fairy, Faster and Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?
Showing no signs of slowing down, the 39-year-old has several films on tap including the Charley Pride biopic.
I sat with Johnson to discuss his latest film —
Sandra Varner/Talk2SV: This movie was filmed in Hawaii, known as an island paradise around the world. It is also the place you call home. Was the decision to make this movie in Hawaii something you campaigned for?
D. Johnson: I definitely campaigned for it. There were some textures in the rain forest where we shot — where they also shot Jurassic Park– that you really can’t simulate on a sound stage, the vastness of the beauty of it. We’ve shot out here before when we made The Rundown. Personally, it was great to come back in this capacity. I was a kid here, around 14 years old, getting arrested and so on. Getting to come back and bring a movie that means tens of millions of dollars to the local businesses felt very special. There is just a great spirit here that I always talk about.
Talk2SV: You had the chance to visit your high school while filming the movie. How was it?
D. Johnson: I had not been there since age 14 or 15. I visited unannounced just to go to the football field and weight room, the place where I started to understand the value of discipline and hard work. Word spread quickly, all the students gathered around and I had a quick word with them.
Talk2SV: What did you say to them?
D. Johnson: I talked to the principal and asked him how the school was doing. He was very happy and proud to tell me how well the students were doing. After all these years, it felt amazing to come back however; the weight room still looks like shit. (Laughter) I told everyone to keep up the great work and keep chasing their greatness. I was very proud of them.
Talk2SV: It is reported that you had challenges during your teen years and was arrested at age 14.
D. Johnson: I started getting into trouble when I was around 14-15. I got arrested for a multitude of things but I am very fortunate. I had great parents who were patient and a couple of coaches who believed in my potential even when I didn’t. That’s an admiral thing to do for any kid who is getting into trouble… to say, ‘I see your potential’ as we take the handcuffs off you. ‘I still see your potential.’ So I am grateful about that.
Talk2 SV: We get a chance to see another side of “The Rock” in Journey 2; you sing in this movie.
D. Johnson: I love music and grew up in a musical family. In the Polynesian culture, people love to sing and dance; that was a big part of our growing up. That was the fun part about creating this character from scratch as opposed to dropping in and out of the movie. There is enough tension in the movie so where we could find a light moment, we did. It was my idea to sing. I love Hawaiian music, I love blues, I love country, traditional country.
Talk2SV: Which leads to a question about your role in the forthcoming Charley Pride biopic; what can you share, how did this come about?
D. Johnson: Well, the idea was about two or three years ago. First of all, Terrence Howard was supposed to do it with director Craig Brewer (Footloose, Black Snake Moan, Hustle & Flow) and it fell apart. I’d always been a big fan of Charley Pride, listened to his music when I was four or five years old…I talked to my agent and said, ‘let’s give it a crack.’ We went down to Charley’s house, spent some time with him down in Dallas and we’re currently working on it.
Talk2SV: Will Terrence be a part of it?
D. Johnson: He will not.
Read more about Journey 2’s Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Luis Guzman at www.Talk2SV.com.