Q: How does it feel to be Roadblock?
Dwayne Johnson: Great. Its a great character. Its a lot of fun. The characters a lot of fun. You start to understand the mythology of the character, how he fits into the “G.I. Joe” world. Its been a lot of fun. This version of Roadblock, where its a bit more boots to the ground, is badass.
Q: Boots to asses? Thats what you Tweet every day.
Johnson: [laughs] I was gonna drop that.
Q: Does he still have his flair for cooking and all that?
Johnson: He does! Weve made sure to pay homage to all the important details that made him interesting in the world of “G.I. Joe”. Then we added some more layers of that, too. I love the fact that he loved poetry and he could rhyme like Jay-Z… I love that. Those are all fun, cool layers to him. And then you add the element that he could rip somebodys f–ing face off. Thats fun.
Q: So this is part of the new SAG rule that you get to be in every franchise, right?
Johnson: [Laughs] It is, yes. We just made it. It is a rule. I okayd it. Great rule.
Q: Training-wise, you were pretty thick in “Fast Five.” Whatd you do this time around? You look a lot leaner.
Johnson: I leaned out for this quite a bit. The training changed, but was still intense and still featured a variety of different workouts that we did. I wanted to lean out for this while, at the same time, preparing for Wrestlemania, so it all worked out.
Q: How does it feel to be getting back into all that after years away doing films? Are you ready to get thrown around again in the ring?
Johnson: Theres nothing like that. Ive always missed that part about the WWE, which was the interaction with the fans and the physicality. On set, we can put together great action sequences, great fight sequences but, at the end of the day, I cant take the other actor and plant him through the ground. I can do that in the WWE and theres nothing like the live crowd interaction that that provides me. To be able to get back on that platform and to be able to do both and to go back and create special matches and special events for the fans, like at Madison Square Garden and like at Sun Life Stadium for Wrestlemania, thats special.
Q: So whats going on in the scene here right now? Youre chasing Firefly?
Johnson: Mmm-hmm, chasing Firefly. This is the lead in to really a massive action sequence, a third act action sequence. Coming up here is Ripsaw, the fastest tank in the world. Beats a vette out of the blocks. Its crazy. You can actually see it on YouTube. Its unbelievably fast. So anyway, that leads into an incredible boat chase sequence and then leads into a big final fight at the end. Its a really long, extensive sequence that you guys are seeing. This is the beginning of it.
Q: Can you talk a bit about how you got involved with this project? Was it something you went after when you heard they were making another one? Did you go after it or did it come after you?
Johnson: S–t comes to me! [laughs] No, Paramount and Lorenzo [di Bonaventura] had come to me with the idea about joining the franchise. The pitch they had I thought was great. The first movie was really successful. After sitting down with him and Adam Goodman, whos the president over at Paramount, seeing their vision and what they wanted to do with this and how they wanted to make this movie was really appealing.
Q: It seems like your career has had a nice balance between family-friendly stuff and action-heavy stuff. This is the marriage of both. Its a toy line but a serious take on it.
Johnson: Mmm-hmm, I agree. [laughs]
Q: How is it lugging around that .50 caliber gun?
Johnson: Its great. That thing, its a beast. Let me show you guys. Should I pick it up? Oh, they wont let us. Ill show you the rounds it fires. Yeah, I get to fire this. The cool thing about that gun is its never been seen before on film, held, hand-held. Until I come along.
Q: When you had that meeting at Paramount, did they come at you with this particular character or give you a list of characters you could play?
Johnson: There were a couple of characters. This one, in particular, made sense. Not only did this one make sense, but there was a lot of latitude and leeway to, again, pay homage to the qualities that made up Roadblock, but also being able to add to that to make it even more interesting and make it fit me more.
Q: Who on set are you most excited to be going head-to-head with, as far as physicality? Is there anybody that can take you on like Vin Diesel?
Johnson: You think Vin took me on? [laughs] The great part about this role is there is a slew of bad guys who we have these great action sequences with at the beginning of the movie. Firefly is great, Ray Stevenson. Im most excited, not necessarily to go toe-to-toe with them, because there is no toe-to-toe with them, but to join Bruce Willis. Weve been buddies for some time and, to be able to come together like this in this type of role [is incredible].
Q: Jon Chu was telling us about the preparation process where you go in front of a camera and you do a lot of improv. Can you tell us about your experience with that?
Johnson: That was a dynamite process that he had. With all the directors Ive worked with, they all have their own great processes, which you guys know. Youve met them over the years. He would essentially shoot a documentary and he approached it like hes shooting a documentary. He came to the G.I. Joes and he wanted to know all about the G.I. Joes, specifically Roadblock. We did that for about two or three days. I thought it was incredibly helpful and it was really cool and I appreciated that.
Q: Would you let him put it on the DVD eventually?
Johnson: Yeah, sure. I thought it was great. And we got into it, too. With D.J. [Cotrona]. I dont know if we shared it with you. We got into some heated moments and Jon just let the camera roll and we got into it.
Q: You’ve been tweeting photos from the set. How has that online interaction been with the fans?
Johnson: Hell yeah. That [first] picture, it was funny. Were out in the desert. Were shooting. Its the first week. The sun was going down and we had wrapped. I told my guy who handles logistics, I said, Take a picture of this. Its kinda cool. I got up on the dune and I saw it and it was f*cking beautiful. Well, theres G.I. Joe. [laughs]… I really enjoy it, yeah. I enjoy it because I do it and thats important. Even though I have a great social media manager and a great company who can create these ideas, its me, fingers to the keys. I think thats important. That connection is important. But yeah, I enjoy it. And Im fairly new to it, too. I started it in February. It took a while to understand, I think, the power of it utilized in the right way, especially when it comes to motivating people and inspiring them and making them laugh, too.
Q: I think were at a different age in terms of how people feel like they have accessibility to actors or stars or musicians. You also have a direct feedback that didnt exist ten years ago.
Johnson: Right, which, in that sense, is great, because you can always have your finger on the pulse of what fans and audiences like and what they dont like. I embrace it and I understand its importance and its power to me and my fans.
Q: How did you know an hour before it was announced that Bin Laden was dead? Didnt you tweet that? Did you personally pull the trigger?
Johnson: You dont worry about that, all right? I just knew. [laughs] Yeah, it became a huge deal. We tried to do our best to quell it. We were getting calls from The New York Times and everybody was calling, wondering. I got some good friends.
Q: From that incident, did you say to yourself, I need to really think about what Im tweeting now. Did it change anything?
Johnson: No, I didnt second guess it at that time because there were individuals out there who knew, obviously. It was out there. I had just been fortunate enough to have people there when it went down. And I was excited and proud. In hindsight, I would have called the President and said, Is it cool if I tweet this before your press conference? [laughs]
Q: With all this talk of franchise, if [Sylvester] Stallone called you about “The Expendables 3,” would you want jump into something like that?
Johnson: It all depends. Yeah, sure. I like Sly. Hes been a buddy for some time. That continues to grow, too and Im excited about that and I know a lot of guys are. I love the first one and Im excited about the second one. Sure, if he needs somebody to hunt somebody down, he knows where Im at.
Q: You guys have built a lot of really cool practical sets. Can you talk about filming over at NASA and maybe one or two other sets that have impressed you?
Johnson: Any set that Im on impresses me, cuz Im on it. [laughs] Its cool, because its a massive facility that they have. Production had never gone in there to shoot. We were the first ones. Theres a lot of incredible history in there. It was great to go there and shoot and hopefully we didnt f*ck it up too much for the next production that might come in. Rock was here.
Q: Was there a particular set that they built there that you got to fight in or that you really enjoyed?
Johnson: Good question. Were actually going back, I think. I believe a lot of the first act is going to be shot there, which we havent shot yet. A lot of opening stuff. I know that they have shot there and I shot there, too, but there hasnt been massive action sequences. Thats coming up. Our Helo was built in there and that was kind of cool. The Jay-Z speech was done in there.