Steve is currently at CinemaCon, which is where studios peddle their upcoming films to theaters. Part of this involves bringing the talent in to talk about those films, and Dwayne Johnson was on hand to promote his upcoming movie, Hercules. During an extended group interview, Johnson also touched on some of his other projects. Johnson talked about the pain he felt over the death of Fast & Furious co-star Paul Walker, the sorrow he felt for Walker’s family, and trying to honor his legacy in Fast & Furious 7.
Moving to a happier topic, Johnson also spoke about re-teaming with Brad Peyton for the earthquake movie San Andreas, learning about earthquakes, his excitement for the material, doing the movie in 3D, and more. Hit the jump for Dwayne Johnson’s quotes on Fast & Furious 7, which has resumed filming, and San Andreas, which begins filming in two weeks in Australia.
Question: You’ve become part of the family in the Fast & Furious films — I think “family” is exactly the right word for those movies. How does a family move on with the loss of one of the major members of it?
Johnson: Well, as best you can. You know, we’ve all dealt with that kind of loss before, where it jolts us and it jolts our hearts. I think it also has a way of informing us. Loss like that also has a way of making us love better, love stronger, appreciate our loved ones and our family that much more, when we wake up and when we go to bed. How families deal with loss, everyone has their own process. The biggest pain I felt was for his family, his daughter. You know, we had talked about that a multitude of times, how cool it is to be a dad; there’s that really special bond between a dad and his little girl. She’ll always be his little girl. We talked a lot about that. So my biggest pain was for his family and for his daughter, mom and dad. But as far as for the movie family that he had, it just takes time. You just need space, and space was created. The studio took a moment, took a beat, created a lot of space too. You know, you move forward one day at a time with it. As a family, they move forward one day at a time and get through it. Then I think the movie family and the studio and the movie itself, they move forward one day at a time too, and as respectfully as you can.
How important is it for you guys to really honor him with the next one and make sure that it’s a fitting finale for that character?
Johnson: It’s very important for everybody involved, of course. It’s not easy, and it’s a challenge when you have something like this — a beloved person. Paul, as you guys know, he was truly one of the good guys — a great dude, who didn’t take himself seriously, loved what he did, understood the business of the business. You got the real-deal, genuine guy when you got him. So it’s important for everybody to creatively honor him in the best way that we possibly can.
Johnson: Yeah, so I read the script when I was in Budapest, and I loved the script and the idea of being in a disaster movie that felt very real and very grounded, based of course on the San Andreas fault. I did a lot of research on the fault and sat down with geologists over in Budapest. We had a great meeting. So it felt very real and very grounded. The script came in — by the Hayes Brothers, who wrote The Conjuring, and we’re working on some other stuff together. They delivered a great script. Brad Peyton came in and flew to Budapest. We had a couple of directors fly out, but he came in — not only because of the relationship I’d had with Brad from a movie that we did three or four years ago, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island — but he came in and had an awesome take. Just visually and stylistically, I think what Brad’s going to be able to do with an earthquake movie in 3D — first 3D earthquake disaster movie ever filmed — and the opportunity of playing a first responder in the LA fire department was exciting.
What kind of tone is it, because it’s a huge earthquake movie?
Johnson: Exactly. Yeah, absolutely. So the tone is very serious, and I’m going to save my daughter. We reveal some other things along the way that have happened. Again, it’s interesting. Thematically, for me, the family, loss, going to take care of it.
[Shows a picture to give a sense of the tone.]
Are you filming that right now, or filming soon?
Johnson: Yeah, we’re going to start filming in Australia. In about two weeks I leave. Then I’ll come back. We’ll wrap that, so all my stuff will be shot — the first half of the schedule. Then I’ll come back, and I’ll see you guys again for the full-on promotion.
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