John­son is ‘fran­chise Vi­a­gra’

For­mer wrestler is Hol­ly­wood’s big­gest ac­tor

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - MOVIES - Richard crouse For Metro Canada

A movie star is some­one who can carry a movie, a per­son au­di­ences will line up to see no mat­ter what the film. There’s no for­mula, just equal parts tal­ent, charisma and stay­ing power.

For years Tom Cruise and Will Smith ruled the Hol­ly­wood roost, but Cruise’s couch jump­ing tar­nished his star (un­less he’s head­lin­ing a movie with the words Mis­sion Im­pos­si­ble in the ti­tle) and Smith has hit a box of­fice rough patch.

These days, Hol­ly­wood’s big­gest movie star — both phys­i­cally and meta­phys­i­cally — is a for­mer wrestler who made his act­ing de­but play­ing his own fa­ther on an episode of That ’70s Show. Since then Dwayne John­son’s pay­cheques have blos­somed along with his pop­u­lar­ity and in 2016 he was the world’s high­est-paid ac­tor, in part due to his rep­u­ta­tion as “fran­chise Vi­a­gra.”

His is a var­ied fil­mog­ra­phy: a re­sume con­tain­ing ev­ery­thing from the high­brow, ab­stract sci-fi flick South­land Tales, and the bloody b-movie Walk­ing Tall, to the fam­ily friendly Tooth Fairy and the pedal-to-the-metal Fast & Fu­ri­ous flicks. But they are bound to­gether by one thing — his in­nate star power.

Haters, like a re­cent com­menter at Va­ri­, who com­plained that John­son, “has never done a com­pelling com­plex char­ac­ter, only mind­less good vs evil roles,” miss his pop­ulist ap­peal.

De­spite his Greek God physique, he’s an every­man, a charis­matic crowd-pleaser with a cocked eye­brow.

His ap­peal con­tin­ues off screen as well. He’s a big deal now but that wasn’t al­ways the case and he’s po­si­tioned him­self as an in­spi­ra­tional fig­ure, a mus­cle bound Tony Robbins. “I started w/ $7 bucks. If I can over­come, so can you,” he tweeted when he was crowned the World’s High­est-Paid Ac­tor.

“I have en­joyed a good amount of suc­cess and I’m very grate­ful for ev­ery­thing I have,” the bulky ac­tor told me a few years ago.

“I’m very grate­ful for be­ing who I am. I make sure to ap­proach ev­ery project and ev­ery­thing I do as if it is go­ing to be my last,” John­son said.


Take a flag­ging fran­chise, add Dwayne John­son and watch flac­cid box of­fice num­bers sud­denly grow, writes Richard crouse.

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