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How do you describe someone who is 1.93m, with broad shoulders and has a megawatt smile that could light up an entire ballroom?

We called him Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

The former WWE wrestler turned movie star was in town for the promotional tour of his latest comedy “The Game Plan”. The Disney family movie has amassed over US$70 million domestically as of press time and it still going strong. Not bad for an actor who first appeared digitized on the big screen back in 2001 in “The Mummy Returns”.

In “The Game Plan”, he plays Joe Kingmen, a successful, over-the-top quarterback who one day found out he has an eight year old daughter (played by newcomer Madison Pettis) whom he never knew existed. In the movie, he has to play opposite Madison and a bulldog. Kids + Animals are a deadly combination in Hollywood. Because both are well-known to be well, troublesome. However, Dwayne did that and he genuinely feels that in fact some “adults” are harder to please without citing who. We strained our ears wanting to know who he’s referring to but he never “accidentally” blurt that out.

And everyday on the set, it’s a challenge for him because it’s a comedy, something which he has yet to fully accomplish on the screen. But judging from his personality and his lively banter with the journalists present, he’s destined for it.

Sample the following exchange:

Which movie do you think you should be in it and what’s the role?
His reply was “Brokeback Mountain” and to heaps of laughter, he said he should be the horse.

Adding a personal layer to the role of Joe Kingmen is the inclusion of Dwayne’s personal idol, Elvis Presley. Even the surname Kingmen was altered to fit the character’s persona. Kingmen found inspiration from Elvis in the movie, the real-life Dwayne Johnson has been a fan of Elvis for years and has been an Elvis’s memorabilia collector. You got to check out “The Game Plan” to see him singing a couple of Elvis songs. To everyone’s delight, he did sing a line (tongue-in-cheek) during the press conference though.

The athletic, hip-hop loving actor is fast rising to be a huge star and is poised to tackle more diverse roles. He recently did the sports drama, “Gridiron Gang” and Richard Kelly’s “Southland Tales” and he’s seriously looking into doing musicals though he admits he won’t be getting any Grammies anytime soon. His wish list of actors and directors whom he wished to work with in future include Clive Owen, Denzel Washington and Clint Eastwood, Peter Berg (they worked together in “Rundown”).

Having a six year old daughter in real-life must have helped in preparing his role as Joe Kingmen, the doting dad even went into a hassle of decorating a room for his daughter when she paid him a visit in LA when he’s on location.

Retiring from the wrestling circuit, the man formerly known as “The Rock” has decided to drop his famous moniker back to his birth name Dwayne Johnson. Given his professionalism (he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon injury but insists on a round-about shoot) and passion for acting, we are bound to see more of him on the big screen.

If you wish to see Dwayne Johnson tackle comedy, doing ballet and crooning mushy Elvis songs, remember to catch “The Game Plan” when it opens here on 1st November 2007. Bring the whole family because it’s Disney friendly!


The Game Plan opens 1 November and is reviewed here

Report: Linus Tee | Photos: Lokman BS & Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Singapore | Video: Richard Lim Jr
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