Dwayne Johnson, also known by his wrestling name “The Rock,” transitioned from football to the ring to films, becoming known for his large, muscled physique as well as his willingness to laugh at himself. He’s run the gamut from super-serious roles to mythological beings to family comedies. This year, Johnson made the TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world. He’s got quite a few films in the works, including the film version of the TV series Baywatch. He’ll be voicing the demigod Maui in the upcoming Disney animated film Moana as well as playing the role of Black Adam in Shazam! Dwayne Johnson birthday is May 2nd, he turns 44 today. Happy birthday The Rock!
This action fantasy sequel to 1999’s The Mummy starred Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz as explorers who investigate an ancient temple in Egypt. Johnson, in his feature film debut (and he was incidentally the Guinness World Record holder for the highest paid actor in a debut role), plays the Scorpion King, an ancient warrior who traded the god Anubis his soul for the power to defeat enemies. It’s a small role, but it was a breakout for Johnson, who went on to star in the prequel film The Scorpion King.
In the prequel to The Mummy Returns, Johnson plays Mathayus, the character that becomes the Scorpion King. It explores his life before the opening sequence in the first film and tells us how it all goes down. This is the film that really put Johnson on the map, showcasing his physical prowess and stunt work.
This film, directed by Peter Berg, stars Johnson as a bounty hunter/retrieval expert named Beck who works for Billy Walker (William Lucking). He’s ready to get out of the business, but his boss wants him to do one last job. He is asked to retrieve Walker’s son Travis (Seann William Scott) from a small mining town in Brazil. If he makes it work, he’ll be given enough money to open his own restaurant. It may sound serious, but the chemistry between Johnson and Scott pleased critics and turned this into more of a buddy comedy than an action film.
In the film loosely based on the Kilpatrick Mustangs’ 1990 season, Johnson plays Sean Porter, a counselor at the Kilpatrick Detention Center in LA. Frustrated by his inability to help at risk kids, he decides to create a football team for them. He says, “You do it my way, not your way. Your way got you here and you’re here because you lost. Right now you are all losers, but if you accept this challenge and stick with the program, you are all going to be winners at the end.” Though the film wasn’t a huge box office success, it regularly appears on lists of Dwayne Johnson’s roles.
Johnson started doing a lot more family-friendly fair including Get Smart in 2008, a voice in the animated 2009 film Planet 51 to 2010’s Tooth Fairy, but the one that stands out is the remake of the 1975 Disney film Escape to Witch Mountain. Johnson plays former mob getaway driver Jack Bruno who, after being sought by flunkies of a mob boss, picks up two teenagers who offer him $15,000 to take them to get them to their destination. These teens are aliens who are trying to outrun government agents and he helps them return to their home planet.
In the fifth movie in the street racing series, we see returning characters Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) planning to lift a cool $100 million from a corrupt businessman. Dwayne plays U.S. Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agent Luke Hobbs. He’s there to arrest the gang, but, of course, ends up sympathizing with them and joining the crew. He followed up by reprising his role in 2013’s Fast & Furious 6 and 2015’s Furious 7 as some of the best Dwayne Johnson movies.
Johnson starred with Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Mackie in this film, which is loosely based on a true story of gym rats who’s drive for money leads them to kidnapping, extortion and murder. Johnson plays Paul Doyle, a cocaine addict who has recently been released from prison and has found religion. Though he tries to stay out of the plot, a violent moment with a priest brings him into the Sun Gym gang. The film was directed and produced by Michael Bay.
Johnson played the titular hero of ancient myth, son of Zeus and therefore a demigod. He completes the legendary Twelve Labors, but is betrayed by the jealous goddess Hera (wife of Zeus), who drove him insane, causing him to kill his wife and children. The film is the further adventures of Hercules, and Johnson spent eight months in an intensive training program for the role.
This disaster film also stars Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi and Paul Giamatti. Johnson plays Raymond “Ray” Gaines, a Los Angeles Fire Department Air Rescue pilot in the middle of a divorce. After a devastating 7.1 earthquake, Ray decides to save his family. As the quakes continue to ravage California in spectacular fashion, Ray is reunited with his family. During the London premiere of the film, Johnson set a Guinness World Record for the most selfies in three minutes, taking 105 with fans.
Which of the best Dwayne Johnson movies are your favorite? Do you prefer his comedies or dramas? Which upcoming film are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments!