Dwayne Johnson Interview – GET SMART
Posted by Frosty
Could you talk a little bit about what you thought the coolest thing in the series was, if you had a favorite episode?
Dwayne Johnson: The coolest thing about the Get Smart series? The coolest thing for me about the Get Smart series was always the, was always the comedy, and what I mean by that was always just the self-deprecating comedy, I love that. Because even with the iconic character that Don Adams created, there was still a great sense of, assuredness to him, and he was a little bit arrogant in his way and of course it was always self-deprecating also, but of course he would always get the job done too, he was very proficient as well.
Wasn't he really dumb?
Dwayne Johnson: See, I never thought he was dumb, that was the thing. My interpretation wasn't that he was dumb, no. I thought that he was bumbling at time, you know, but he would still get the job done.
Were you attracted to Agent 99?
Dwayne Johnson: Who wasn't? Yeah, sure. Either of them. Well, because I know Annie now personally, I think Annie's great. She's beautiful and intelligent and you know, she can kick ass too, so, it's what I like in a woman.
Dwayne, can I ask you about working with Steve Carell, and were you a fan of his from the Office, and were any of the scenes hard to do, did you ad lib? And were they hard to do because you were laughing?
Dwayne Johnson: You know, it's funny, I honestly, I never got Steve Carell's comedy, and it was just one of those things where--only kidding. They're like oh really? No. I love Steve Carell. Of course, I was a really big fan of the show and I was a big fan of the original show too, with Gervais. But Steve was great to work with, and you know the great thing is, we were all funny in our way, and merging all of us together on the set and in this movie was great, we all learned from each other, and all the dynamics really meshed well. And you guys know this because you cover a lot of movies, but a lot of times when you get a lot of actors with different personalities they don't always mesh that well, but I think everything meshed really well and we just had a great time. You know, between Steve Carell and Alan Arkin--especially Alan Arkin--they are Titans to me, and they were great to be around and great to learn from. It's like being around your favorite professor or your favorite family member who's just--your grandfather, who's telling you great stories. That's what those guys were. And you know, Alan in particular--Steve was as well--but Alan in particular, just very gracious with his, not only with his comedy but just very gracious with his time. Especially with me because it was like sit down, let me ask you questions. Really, jeez, more questions. I was like yes. He's great though.
You said that it's you and the director, that's how you get the job done here. Was there an equivalent to the director in your wrestling days? And now all these years later, how did you actually make the crossover? Who helped you?
Dwayne Johnson: Um, you know, yeah, there was one particular guy who I've talked about. His name was Pat Patterson, who I modeled my character in Be Cool after him, very proud, gay man, very funny guy, and he's like a father figure to me. So he was that guy where creatively we spent a lot of time together, and making sure that at the end of the day I understood the value of just wanting to simply entertain and taking ego out of it. And I think when you approach anything like that and you take your ego out of it, cuz ego is the great inhibitor a lot of times to success--you take your ego out of it and you go I just want to entertain, and what's the best thing for the audience. How can I make the audience laugh, how can I make them angry or upset, and take them through, really, a myriad of emotions. So between him, and I also worked with a great writer, too, who I consistently challenged. You know, in that world--the great thing about that world, and this is where it really benefited me, the great thing about that world was just in terms of being creative in the writing, what was important to me was to always find humor in that world, because at that time there really wasn't a lot of humor in that world of heightened conflict, over the top conflict. So I just wanted to find humor. So in challenging him, what was great was we got to a point where I would say to him there's really nothing you can write that it think we can't make work. You know, I always think that's a great place to be. It's a rare place to be, but in that world--somebody's take recorder stopped--but in that world, that was a great place to be. So that's why, I would write just so much and then in front of 20, 30,000 people, there's an acumen that you have to have because it keeps you on your toes. If something, if the joke is phenomenal and it goes through the roof and 30,000 people love it, then you know immediately. If it bombs and it completely stinks up the place and you need to get out of there immediately, then you know that immediately too. How did I make the transition--I just thought that, you know, making the transition was number one, surrounding myself with good actors, even in my first role as Scorpion King we had Michael Clark Duncan, we had Grant Hesloff, who's a great writer now too, as well, Bernard Hill--we had some great actors, and help, and a studio I think, that supported me, and a good director, too, that's going to help me, and through that, I think that--as long as, I had to be fully prepared, as prepared as I possibly could be. It's not that I was going to deliver an Oscar worthy performance, I knew that wasn't going to happen, but as long as I could be prepared and give the best performance I could give, then I had a shot at it being decent.
Who was the TV writer you were talking about?
Dwayne Johnson: His name was Brian Gwartz, he was from MTV, and he still writes a lot of my stuff today, and he's just great, great and edgy, and we're always trying to find that balance, you know?
I was just going to say that when you started with the Scorpion King, you were this behemoth, and you seem to have downsized over the years and this is obviously intentional.
Dwayne Johnson: Sure.
Was it because as an actor for versatility sake--
Dwayne Johnson: Well sure.
--you just can't be this huge guy, you're limited to one type of part?
Dwayne Johnson: I think so. And I think, you know, there was just no need for me to carry all that weight, and a lot of that weight was from football. I played football for ten years. I played football for 10 years and I wrestled for an additional five, and you know, a lot of that weight was still there. And then once I got out of that, and started to change my training around depending on the role, then eventually I just lost weight and kind of trimmed down a little bit.
Can you give us an update on Shazzam? Might it actually be happening?
Dwayne Johnson: Yeah, I think so. Whenever you talk to Pete Segal, ask him, because I've been bothering him every month, what's happening with it? But on both ends, there's just so much going on. But I think they continue to write and rewrite that script. I would love to. I would love to play Black Adam.
So you don't have any update as to--
Dwayne Johnson: No, I wish I did. I don't. That's why I said, if you talk to him, ask him, he probably has a better update on it.
And you didn't tell us your tooth fairy costume, are you in a--what is it?
Dwayne Johnson: I want you to envision me right now, what would be the most funniest thing you could possibly imagine?
I don't know.
Dwayne Johnson: Think of it backwards, yes. So inappropriate.
What did he say?
Dwayne Johnson: Yeah, yeah. And I will give you this. The funny thing is, I have a really bad shoulder injury in it and one of the wings just grows--one of the wings is a beautiful wing and is a little, messed up one that doesn't quite grow correctly, making me fly around sometimes and fly into things. But it's really, really funny, we had some great writers on it. Randy Singer has written the last draft, it's fantastic. The same producers of the Game Plan are onboard now, Michael Lembeck is going to direct, and you know, Fox, I'm happy to tell you, they get it, they understand, we're going after heart and humor and again a little touch of fantasy which elements I like, and I'm excited about it. It's going to be funny.
How much did the Game Plan end up making? I mean, that's such a huge hit.
Dwayne Johnson: Yeah, we made a great deal of money, it was really, incredibly successful. We were happy. You know, it was a smaller movie that we made and just hoping it would find an audience. You know, we had great competition with The Kingdom and the following week with the Heartbreak Kid, but is was just one of those movies that found a…I think touched a chord with a lot of audiences.
Will there be a sequel?
Dwayne Johnson: Not with that. But we've got the same director, Andy Finkman, who of course is doing Witch Mountain, who understands that, I think that great unique sensibility of heart and family and again touch of fantasy and everything that that means, and humor too as well.