When Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson won his first WWE championship back in 1999, people watching probably wouldn't have guessed that 17 years down the line he would be taking over from David Hasselhoff in Baywatch and voicing cartoon characters. But thanks to his majorly successful wrestling career, Johnson has slowly but surely crossed over into the mainstream and, more recently, has become a bit of an action movie sensation.
There's no denying that The Rock has always had a presence, right from his very first WWE match in 1996. Not only is he a powerful athlete, he's also a fantastic entertainer and has a pretty big heart under all that muscle. It's these endearing qualities that have built Johnson a huge fan base that seems to be growing year on year, most likely as a result of his continually clever and rather diverse acting choices.
His climb up the movie star ladder started back in 2001 with The Mummy Returns — not his finest moment, but man did he turn it around. Following praised performances in action film The Rundown (2003) and spy comedy Get Smart (2008) — and a few cheeky cameos for the Disney Channel — people really started to take notice of Johnson in 2013 with five big movie releases: Empire State, Fast & Furious 6, Pain & Gain, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Snitch.
And since then, the hits have just kept on coming — last year's Furious 7 and San Andreas smashed the box office — so it looks like The Rock is here to stay. His upcoming cinematic slate is jam-packed with exciting projects, so let's take a look at some of the most potentially brilliant movies on his roster.
1. 'Central Intelligence'
Release date: June 17
Fellow cast members: Kevin Hart, Aaron Paul
What's it about? This buddy comedy will see Johnson's character Bob Stone, a former geek who grew up to become a lethal CIA agent, partner up with old pal Calvin (Hart), who used to be the big man at high school but is now a mild-mannered accountant. When Bob comes home for his high school reunion, the two enter a world of shoot-outs, double-crosses and risky undercover work that could leave them both dead.
Watch the trailer below:
Release date: November 23
Fellow cast members: Auli'i Cravalho, Alan Tudyk
What's it about? Taking place in ancient Oceania, Disney Animation Studio's follow-up to Zootopia will see young navigator Moana (Cravalho) set sail in search of a fabled island and teams up with her hero, the legendary demigod Maui (Johnson), along the way. This will be the first Polynesian-themed animated Disney film since Lilo & Stitch (2002).
See a sneak peek of the movie in this clip:
3. 'Fast 8'
Release date: April 14, 2017
Fellow cast members: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Eva Mendes, Lucas Black, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham
What's it about? No official plot has been released yet but you can bet that it will include brotherhood, bravery, car crashes, courage, fist fights and of course, family. The movie will be set in New York City, Cuba and Iceland, and is rumored to be going back to more street racing instead of blue screen and action sequences. Johnson will be reprising his role as Hobbs, a DSS agent who allied with the main team after their outings in Rio de Janeiro and Europe.
Release date: May 19, 2017
Fellow cast members: Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera, David Hasselhoff
What's it about? Johnson will star as Mitch Buchannon in this reboot of the classic '90s TV show that made household names of Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson. The cast and crew firmly suggest that the movie will be taking more of a comedic twist on the old storyline, which entails two unlikely prospective lifeguards vying for jobs alongside the buff bodies who patrol a beach in California. The Hoff is confirmed to have a cameo role.
Release date: TBA
Fellow cast members: TBA
What's it about? This rather wacky-sounding movie will be based on the '80s arcade game of the same name. Johnson's role in the film is yet to be announced but he has revealed that the basic storyline will center around three mutated gigantic monsters (Silverback, Alligator and Wolf) as they destroy major cities and landmarks across the US. He shared on Instagram:
If you were a fan of the video game like I was, then you KNOW how bad ass and fun this movie can be. I'll try not to screw it up.
Release date: April 5, 2019
Fellow cast members: TBA
What's it about? Shazam! will see Johnson appear in his very first superhero movie as Black Adam, nemesis of the as yet uncast hero. The film is apparently intended to be lighter than others set in the DC Universe, which suits our man down to the ground. However, being so used to seeing him play more humorous or heroic characters, it will be interesting to watch his take on the role of a villain. Comic book adaptations are big business right now so this one above all looks set to be a smash.
BONUS: We will also be seeing Johnson in the third installment of the Journey franchise, Journey 3: From the Earth to the Moon, next year and in San Andreas 2 at some point in the future (if he can fit it in!).