You may or may not be surprised to learn that the best-paid Hollywood actor last year was Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock, taking in a whopping $64.5 million. Maybe it’s not that hard to understand: After all, he’s now a key component of the Fast And The Furious franchise, which just released its bound-to-be-successful eighth film. He stars in an HBO series, Ballers, which just got renewed for a third season. And F8 probably won’t even be his only summer hit, as he’s Hasselhoffing it up with the Baywatch movie, which opens May 25. Everything’s coming up Rock, it seems.
As ex-professional wrestlers go, you’ve got to admit that The Rock is the shit; while others like Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Andre The Giant also became household names, none even come close to The Rock’s stature. So what’s the secret to his massive success? Buzzfeed takes a crack at it with the article, “How The Rock Became America’s Populist Hero.” It’s a thorough exploration of the life of The Rock, starting with a close look at his wrestling career. That led to Johnson’s screen debut in The Mummy Returns as the Scorpion King, where he proved so popular that he got his own spin-off film, and a movie star was born.
What Buzzfeed discusses, and what is clear to Johnson’s many movie fans, is the undeniable star appeal of the guy, no matter how unreasonably huge his biceps are. He can play everything from a dad type in Journey To The Center Of The Earth to a buddy comedy in Central Intelligence to the de facto leader of the F8 gang. As Buzzfeed points out, the only type he can’t quite pull off is villain: He’s just too damn likable.