Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is literally the hottest celebrity in Hollywood right now as he was just named "The Sexiest Man Alive" by People Magazine. The day before he received this honor, I was able to interview him for his role as the voice of "Maui" in Disney's Moana, which opens in theaters nationwide on November 23.
Ladies, I can 100% confirm that "The Rock" is as good looking as all the claims— but even more important than looks is personality, and Dwayne definitely delivered there, too. Our interview was relaxed and fun, and we got a great insight into how he feels about voicing Maui in Moana. Here are a few of the highlights.
Interview with Dwayne Johnson as the Voice of Maui in Moana
Why was it important for you to do this role?
DJ: Um… What’s that thing? Money. [HA!] It was important for me to do the role because it was a great opportunity to showcase our Polynesian culture to the world. I’m half Samoan and half black— We’re very proud of our rich culture.
I’ve done two Disney movies in the past, live action movies, but this is different— it’s a different machine. It’s still the same umbrella, but it’s a different machine, and it was the opportunity to make a movie that was, not only good, but getting a real good shot at creating something that was like a classic. And that’s what I wanted to do.
What was the biggest challenge?
DJ: The biggest challenge would be, it’s just a different muscle to exercise, and it was almost like a baptism by fire and I had a lot of help around me which was nice. What I mean by the help is, finding ways to really add real zest and life to words— making sure that the words that I spoke had life and the correct energy, temperament and tone. It was a real fascinating experience for me.
What do you want people to take away from the film?
I think there’s a few messages that people can take away from the movie. I think the cultural aspect is something that is very cool. I love that. And I also think that they did a tremendous job of representing our culture in a way that makes us proud, and first there was a little bit of hesitance, from all of us by the way, but it was quickly quelled when I sat with John Lasseter and our filmmakers and they had taken me through their process.
So by the time the script got to me, they’d already done years of research in going to all the different islands, and speaking with the high chiefs, and all the villages and trying to understand the culture, which comes out in the authenticity of the writing. So the takeaway would be showcasing our culture, and seeing that there’s a wonderful quality of our culture, and there’s a fierceness to our culture too, as well, tremendous pride.
Also, I think there’s a great takeaway that speaks to all cultures, ages and religions, and everything else that our world has— We have this little voice inside of us, and to always make sure that we follow that voice, and listen to the voice – a gut intuition – and have that kind of faith, not necessarily religious faith, but faith that there is more. And you can be more. Kind of relevant today, right?
Which accomplishment in your life would you like for a tattoo to represent?
DJ: Being a father.
Beside the eyebrows, what else do you see in Maui that’s you?
DJ: Yeah, there was a good amount that was infused in Maui. I think that there’s a part of Maui that I can appreciate, because it’s my DNA; I share that with him as there’s a fun side to Maui, and a desire to keep things fun, and on the lighter side. And some bravado, a lot of bravado, because you can mask a lot with bravado.
How did they get your facial expressions and body movements?
DJ: It’s a really cool process for those of you who don’t know. There’s multiple cameras in the room as you’re sitting in the studio and you’re going through these lines— your facial expressions will then inform the animators on the facial expressions of Maui. So, if I say, ‘You can’t do that!’ my eyebrows go up, then that will inform the animators. So there’s all these really amazing, unique little things that take place that they capture that informs the animation.
What are you hoping children will take away from this film?
DJ: To have fun, number one, and enjoy it. Also having the confidence in yourself, that you are good enough, and you can do this. And… also, going back to listening to the little voice inside of you— life is so noisy and how important that is to listen to. You want to revert back to the little voice that you have inside of you, saying you are good enough and you can do things.
What is your favorite Disney movie?
DJ: Beauty and the Beast.
Moana Opens in Theaters Nationwide November 23!
Special thanks to Disney Pictures for hosting me during this event.