Esquire just published a new, weirdly intimate interview with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (“Man, you’re gorgeous” is the interviewer’s first “question”). Most of the interview was about The Rock’s recent movie career, but there were also a few tidbits about his wrestling past sprinkled throughout.
Rock was asked to compare wrestling to acting, and it definitely seemed like he gave the edge to acting. Or, at least he realizes it’s the better line of business to be in when you’re in your mid-40s.
“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. Mickey Rourke’s character in The Wrestler, that was my dad, that was my uncles, that was so many members of my family. It was the only thing they knew. And then they would end up wrestling for a hundred bucks, go to autograph signings for two hundred bucks.”
Speaking of characters from The Wrestler, the subject of The Iron Sheik also came up. We’ve written before about the influence Sheik had on Rock’s career (and him being the inspiration for his “jabroni” catchphrase), but Rock went into more depth.
“The Iron Sheik was famous for saying the word constantly backstage. Jabroni, jabroni, jabroni. Around 1998, I thought, Why can’t I say it on TV? So I started saying it publicly, but the Iron Sheik was known for it. He was one of the guys who took me under his wing and bestowed some goooood knowledge. And one of the things that he told me was: ‘Keep your f*cking mouth shut when you come in. If you’re gonna be good in this business, then learn how to keep your mouth shut and your ears open, and when you get in the locker room, you just listen to everybody else.’ And it was great advice. You can apply it wherever you go.”
Oh, and have you ever wondered why Rock’s production company is called Seven Bucks Productions? It calls back to a pivotal time in his early life, involving his father, Rocky Johnson.
“I called my old after getting cut from the CFL’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, Shit, 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. […] The term ‘seven bucks’ has a lot of meaning.”
There’s plenty more interesting information in Esquire‘s interview (also, a surprising amount of talk about The Rock’s lunch), so you may want to check out the rest of the interview by clicking below.