Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, October 2, 2003

The Rock is building up to Kamehameha movie role

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

With his box office punch and a passion to tell a story properly, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is not in a rush to make

Dwayne Johnson, aka "The Rock," will star in a movie about Kamehameha the Great, made in Hawai'i, beginning in 2005. Johnson says he wants more acting experience before he takes on the role of the Hawaiian king.

Advertiser library photo • Sept. 19, 2002

"Kamehameha," for which he anticipates a budget of $100 million and a production start in 2005 in the Islands.

"Sony Pictures wholeheartedly believes in the movie and will spend that money on the project," said The Rock, who has Island lineage, still calls Hawai'i home and is now on the big screen playing a bounty hunter in "The Rundown." The film debuted last weekend and earned $18.5 million for the No. 1 slot.

" 'Kamehameha' is a beautiful story that has never been told, and it's an honor for me to make this movie. And we'll shoot it in Hawai'i," he said in a telephone interview from New York.

The Rock defends his Samoan-African American heritage, despite concerns and questions from locals who feel a Hawaiian should be portraying a Hawaiian on screen. "Even though I'm not Hawaiian, I am part-Samoan, and we're all Polynesians. I'm approaching the role with respect; I want to preserve the king's legacy. Even if I'm not Hawaiian, I'm proud to take on the challenge. I am what I am."

He said he likes the script by ex-Islander Greg Poirier, who is continuing to tweak the story, said The Rock.

"But we have to do it right. We haven't found a director who is as passionate about the story. We could have been shooting 'Kamehameha' this year, as soon as we wrapped up 'The Rundown,' but for me personally, I wanted to make sure that I had more experience under my belt, to really be ready for 'Kamehameha.' I want this to be the film everyone will notice."

He recently finished MGM's "Walking Tall," his fourth movie, which is a remake of an earlier Joe Don Baker film, in which he portrays a small-town Tennessee sheriff intent on eliminating rampant crime and corruption. He next stars in Universal's "Spy Hunter," based on a video game, in which he will portray a former pilot who battles spies and assassins in a James Bond-type vehicle called the G-6155 Interceptor, according to Daily Variety. Production starts next summer for a 2005 release.

He said that being a professional wrestler, the pressure's still on for him to prove himself as an actor. Forget that fans adored him in his first two films, "The Mummy Returns" and "The Scorpion King." "You still have to prove yourself when you're in another arena. But I accept these challenges; it's all about preparation and focus, and certainly, I've failed more than I've succeeded. But you gotta take risks or you'll never succeed."

Reach Wayne Harada at wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com, 525-8067 or fax 525-8055.