is a curious, rare breed in Hollywood. After the dearth of true action stars in the last decade, both Johnson and his good friend, , have really been the only two pure, comedy-action stars with the ability to carry a blockbuster film entirely on their shoulders (with the possible exception of ).
Still, with all of the big-budget action flicks under his belt this year, including Pain & Gain, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and Fast & Furious 6, one has to wonder if The Rock is getting tired of the no-brains-required roles and is ready to sink his teeth into something with a bit more substance.
He'll get that chance now, with Variety reporting that Johnson has inked a deal to star in Relativity Media's Not Without Hope, based on the true story and memoir of former NFLer Nick Schuyler. You may or may not remember the tragedy of a few years ago when Schuyler, along with friends and NFLers Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith, and Schuyler's best friend, Will Bleakley, were on a relaxing fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico when they were stranded at sea after their boat capsized. The three days that followed turned into a struggle for survival as the four men clung to the hull of the overturned boat.
Johnson is set to play Schuyler.
The script is serious, moving fare, with Schuyler himself giving his approval:
I’m humbled that Relativity was interested in paying tribute to Marquis, Corey and Will, and I was impressed with their vision for the film and how they wanted to honor how these guys lived and loved their families, friends and teammates.
Will this be the vehicle to propel Johnson into well-rounded stardom? Time will tell. But The Rock's star has never burned brighter and demand been higher than it is now, so it's a savvy move on his part to make this leap while he's hot.