Give The Rock credit. He gave us Doom-dorks over 40 minutes of his time, this after a long day shooting and a 6:00am trip to the gym. Wearing a black jogging suit and a black knit cap, he was all smiles as he talked about Doom, his upcoming projects, and why rumors of him as the next Conan or Terminator are just flat-out ridiculous.
Question: What interested you in taking on this role?
The Rock: When I first read the script, I was actually given the script to read for John. I thought, this is well-written. The characters are pretty good. They all have their endearing qualities. I called my agent immediately. He said, “What did you think of the script?” I said, I love the script. it’s great. But I gotta tell you something. I would love to play Sarge. I can relate more to Sarge. I love Sarge. A guy who’s steadfast. And he believes what he believes in. And he is that passionate about the corps.
Question: The notes describe Sarge as dark, disturbed and unforgiving.
The Rock: [Laughs.] He is unforgiving. I will give you that. At times a little dark. I don’t know how much disturbed. That wasn’t my interpretation of him. Certainly not what we put on screen. But in times of war, there is what’s called mutinous insurrection, where I end up killing one of my own men. Which could be described, I guess, as being not only ruthless, but a little disturbed. But at the same time, I was still empathetic with the fact that it’s a time of war, and this guy’s a soldier. [Mutinous insurrection] is like treason. You take care and police your own. By the way, guys, I couldn’t be happier with everything we’ve been shooting. This is the last day of photo-shooting. We’re getting into a big scene at the end. I hope I didn’t just spoil something. [Laughs.]
Question: As a performer, how do you find something to interest you in a film like this, which seems to be about visual effects?
The Rock: Sure. I wanted to take a movie in this genre, the sci-fi/horror genre. I was able to do comedy (“Be Cool”), and other broad comedy and action. But I’ve always been a big sci-fi fan and a big horror fan. I just re-watched “The Thing” a few days ago. I wanted to get involved in this genre. It’s difficult when you’re making a movie, a video game adaptation. You have a challenge. What really sealed the deal for me was when I finally talked to Andrzej Bartkowiak, the director. I was wanting to do a Rated-R movie that was unapologetic. That’s what you find with “Doom,” unlike the other video game adaptations. We’re not trying to be PG-13; we make no apologies for what we are. We have this liberty that we can scare people. “I want to scare the shit out of people,” I said. He said, “We’re not going to scare the shit out of people.” There was this long pause. I just signed the contract. And he said, “We’re going to fucking terrify everybody.” I was like, oh, great! [Laughs.]
Question: Is there any humor in it?
The Rock: Sure. And I love that. There are moments where you can find a little bit of levity. If you can find it without winking, especially in this kind of movie where we’re going for the jugular.
Question: What was the weapons training like?
The Rock: We had a pseudo-mini bootcamp, without making light of what real soldiers go through. For two weeks we did that, weaponry training, and just getting to know the guys. In terms of the weaponry training, we all thought it was important that if we’re going to play the best of the best–Marines–then we should look legit. And really be on point. And Tom McAdams (military advisor) was right there on point, every second. Would I actually look this way? Would I actually say this? Would I say “field of fire?” And he would say, no. While it looks great on paper, you wouldn’t actually say it.
Question: Compared to Rundown and Scorpion King, how is this on you physically?
The Rock: It’s so much more intense. I’ve sacrificed more in this movie than I have in the other four. Not only in being away from my home and my family, and in another country, but the first five minutes of the movie is very easy, introducing all the characters. But once we get onto the helicopter, it’s balls to the walls intensity. And for the commanding officer, these are my men. I’m leading this group of guys into a planet that I know has been dead for some time. Into labs where I know good things are not happening. Seeing guy getting decapitated with one swing. It’s intense. All the way through–just nonstop.
Question: You’ve been wanting to do horror for a while. Have you been reading scripts and rejecting them?
The Rock: In a way, yes. It just took time. The Scorpion King opened doors just a little bit more. The Rundown opened some more doors. Every little step opened some more doors. Wanting to do a sci-fi and horror movie, I was really lucky when this script came across. I wasn’t getting a lot of horror movies coming my way. I love horror. Ryan Reynolds was doing Amityville Horror, and I really wanted to do that, but my agent said that people wouldn’t be convinced that I’m scared by things. [Laughs.]
Question: Do you worry about a backlash about this movie being too violent or intense?
The Rock: No. I’m sure questions will be raised. There will be some issues with it. Again, we’re unapologetic. We are what we are. It’s “Doom.” We’re all doomed. It’s not “The Rock in Doom.” It’s the world ending. The title is as big a star as anyone else. But it’s not violence for the sake of violence. Everything makes sense. It’s not just blowing people’s head off for the sake of blowing people’s heads off.
Question: Does any part of you want to do a sober drama?
The Rock: I’d love to. I’d love to try anything. I love what I do. I’m blessed. Maybe I’d take an off-kilter role if it makes sense, like I did in “Be Cool.” Or anything, for that matter. Sure.
Question: Your name has been associated with “Spy Hunter.” Is that happening?
The Rock: With a movie like Spy Hunter, everybody’s so excited about it, because conceptually it’s great. With the car it’s fantastic. It’s just a matter of trying to find the right tone. We’ve looked at script after script. In a way, I give credit to the studio, where they’re like, ‘It’s good, but let’s be great.’ I love that, and I love that attitude. They’re continuing to write it.
Question: How about the video games?
The Rock: I’ll probably do motion-capturing and voice-capturing for the next Spy Hunter game that’s coming out. That might come out before the movie–probably will–so I’m excited by that.
Question: Gridiron Gang?
The Rock: It’s a true story about hope. These kids lost hope long ago, and nobody cared about them. This one guy decided to help them. They’re all in an institution–up in the hills of Malibu–and they’re in for murder, for robbery, for assault, for everything. Sean was a teacher there, and he realized that once these kids get in, they serve their time, they get out, and then they get killed, or they get right back on the streets. Even though they’re taking their classes and they do what they have to do, they don’t respect authority, and they still don’t respect themselves. Sean wants to change that. And he thought, ‘The only game I know is the game of football.’ So he started a football team. And these guys have never played football! Every kid you see in Gridiron Game is a real person. So yeah, I’m excited about that.
Question: Are you still using “The Rock” on movies, or are you thinking of switching to Dwayne Johnson?
The Rock: When I first broke into films with The Mummy Returns, I wondered if I should change my name to Dwayne Johnson. But then everyone knew me as The Rock. So I figured it would just naturally change, if it did. I don’t really want to make a point of changing my name for each film.
Question: Talk about working with Andrzej Bartkowiak.
The Rock: It was really smooth with Andre. I love working with Andre. Karl comes from a very analytical school of though. Whereas the school I’ve come from is live–in front of 20,000 people every single night, on my toes, seeing what works and what doesn’t. So it’s more instinctual for me. I trust Andrez’s eyes on the monitor, and if it’s something he wants to change, cool, let’s try it. He and Karl…[laughs]…well, very funny at times.
Question: So the career’s on track with your master plan?
The Rock: Master plan. First of all, the master plan was to make more than $300 bucks that I was making eight years ago. The master plan is just to put in good work, solid work, wherever I can. Put in depth where I can.
Question: How tough is it to break through people’s pre-conceived notions of you?
The Rock: It was a lot harder when I first broke in. Coming from the world of professional wrestling, I knew it would be a tough hill to climb. Big mountain. Things are different now–I get a lot more comedy, a lot more drama.
Question: Do you ever catch the wrestling bug anymore?
The Rock: You know what I miss? I miss the live interaction with the fans. There wasn’t ever a lot of writing in wrestling, but I had this great writer from MTV, and we would just write these long monologues, and I miss that. That was always a lot of fun.
Question: Any interest in developing your own project?
The Rock: King Kamehameha would be a project–the Hawaiian king who united all of the islands. I’ve always liked to refer to him as ‘The Braveheart of Hawaii. Only he kills his own people when they didn’t listen.
Question: Are you interested in starting your own production company?
The Rock: I would love to. Sure. Absolutely. I’m in that process now, I just don’t have a company. But I’m in no rush. I’m comfortable now.
Question: There were rumors you’d be in another Terminator…
The Rock: Nope.
Question: How about Conan?
The Rock: Nope. [Laughs.]
Question: What’s the biggest rumor you hate?
The Rock: Me and my team, we’re very, very liberal. We’ll talk and joke about anything. And I was working on the set of the Scorpion King. and I said something, And I said to some guy, “I’ll see you in the showers!” and hit him on the ass or something. And then it came out the next day: “Scorpion King: Gay Blade.” This wasn’t on the internet. This was in the Enquirer or something. My mom came out and said, “Look, you’re on the cover of the Enquirer!” Gay Blade. [Laughs.]
Question: Anything in the pipeline?
The Rock: I’ve never actually talked about this, but it’s called “Species Human.” It’s a great sci-fi movie. Basically, the world as we know it has already ended. I’m in a zoo, part of many different creatures, from many different planets. It’s interesting
Question: How about a sequel to Doom?
The Rock: We’ll see. I would love to. I loved this process. I played Doom 1 and Doom 2. They sent me Doom 3 before I came here and played that a little bit. Plus I love the character of Sarge. I aptly named him the BMFOP. Badass Motherfucker On the Planet.