The Rock's candid comments on his WWE contract, HBK and Doom
The Rock was arguably the most electrifying Superstar in WWE history, and now, with the upcoming release of his new movie Doom, he's back as one of the most electrifying performers in Hollywood. WWE.com caught up with The Rock to discuss everything from his new movie, to who he'd like to face if he ever got back in the ring, to his true feelings about a dream match against HBK and more.
WWE.com: Fans haven't seen you in WWE for a while. Since that time, the Internet has been rumoring that your relationship with WWE has strained, especially since your contract ran out. What's the truth on this?
The Rock: The relationship is great. I have a great relationship with the "Old Man". The way the contract, and the ending of the contract went down, it was what it was. I don't ever harp on things, and nor do I ever want to live in regret. It just went down the way it went down, and that's fine. The relationship is good, and there door is always open. And I love wrestling. I love doing what I did because there's nothing like that -- feeding off the energy of the crowd. Any opportunity I get to go back and dip in for a night and just start talking trash and electrifying, I'd do that for sure. I'm really happy for a lot of guys there. For instance, I love the new turn and transition Kurt Angle has gone through.
WWE.com: Now you're in a new movie, Doom. How did you end up landing the role of Sarge?
The Rock: Universal came to me with the script. No. 1 -- I thought it was really ambitious, especially considering you're making an adaptation of a hugely successful video game. So, when I read the script, I loved it. They actually gave it to me to read for the role of Reaper, who is the "hero" of the movie. But when I was reading it I called up Universal and said, "There's actually an anti-hero here who I like a lot more and I want to play.
WWE.com: Why did you want to play the role of Sarge?
The Rock: There were a lot of reasons. Firstly, Sarge was the leader of the group and had to keep these guys together in the face of all the chaos that ensues. And not only that, but selfishly speaking, Sarge is the guy who gets to fire the BFG. And not only that, but for the big kid in me, running around chasing monsters, getting chased by monsters, using the BFG was just so much fun. Plus, I get to turn into (a monster) at the end of the movie, which was awesome.
WWE.com: Had you ever played the video game before finding out about the movie?
The Rock: Yeah, that's why I knew it was very ambitious to begin with, because I was a big fan of the game to begin with. I thought it was vital to be loyal to the video game. When Doom first came out, it was the pioneer or trailblazer in terms of their creativity and unapologetic approach to graphic violence that you see in video games. They had the balls to say "If we're going to blow monsters away, you're going to see their guts, you're going to see their blood, you're going to see gore. You're going to see all that." Those guys down at iD Software down in Texas were coming up with the concept of the first person shooter and that was equally as ambitious. When I saw that sequence in the script, I knew if we could accomplish that, it would be the first time that you ever see that on screen. It would be cool not only for the gamers, but also for people that are just fans of movies.
WWE.com: Doom has a hardcore fan base. Do you think the movie will live up to their lofty expectations?
The Rock: Yeah, I think so. I've seen the movie, so I can say with confidence that we stayed loyal to the video game. Geographically we stayed loyal. With the monsters -- from the Pinky monster, to the Baron, to the Imp -- basically everything from the video game is in the movie. When you start off with that foundation of loyalty, then you can go off and set your sights on making a really good science fiction/horror movie. I'm a big fan of that genre, which is another reason why I wanted to do that movie. Being a big fan of everything from Alien to The Thing, I wanted to see how we stood up. We went out to Stan Winston Studios in Hollywood, who is the best monster-maker in Hollywood who created Alien and Predator and so many iconic creatures. They made these incredible monsters, which was just awesome. There's one monster in the movie that is CGI created, which is great. Some CGI monsters are cool, but the thing you lack with CGI created monsters is weight. With these monsters that Stan created, they're 8-feet high, they walk, they breathe, they run, they jump, and it's just awesome. You see the skeletal muscles and the very fine intricate detail that really makes iconic monsters become iconic monsters, and we have that in this movie.
WWE.com: After your role in Be Cool was it nice to go back to the action genre?
The Rock: It was great. I had a blast with Be Cool with Travolta and Uma Thurman and of course, Vince Vaughn. And with a character like that, it allowed me to bring so much to the table. Not only was he self-deprecating, to make fun of the People's Eyebrow, to be gay, to wear the powder blue suit, to sing country love songs. Then to be the Baddest MFer on the planet, that Sarge is, really reminded me of what I love about making movies. Doom reminded me how cool movie-making is. I can go from a role like Be Cool, which was great and a lot fun, and get rave reviews for my performance. But with a movie like Doom, you're not looking to get critical or rave reviews. It reminds me how cool and what a privilege it is to make movies. Only in movies can I get transported to Mars, sent into the future, getting the biggest gun a human can possibly hold and blow monsters away. Even though we shot entirely in Prague, in the Czech Republic, and I was on a sound stage every day not even seeing the sun, at the end of the day, I got back to my hotel room and could say "I have the best job in the world; this is awesome."
WWE.com: How important was it for you to do a different kind of role like in Be Cool?
The Rock: When I first broke in to acting, I committed myself to not only becoming an actor, but becoming a good actor. It is so difficult to do. I tell guys that all the time. There are guys in WWE that I know have aspirations to go to Hollywood. And I'm very frank with them. It's very hard. It all depends on what type of actor they want to be. There are guys in WWE that can do an action role and can do that for the rest of their lives if they want when they retire from the ring. But the type of actor I wanted to become was one that had range. I didn't want to make just action movies. I love action movies, and the kid in me loves blowing sh** up, and I love kicking ass. But at the same time, if I just continued to do action movies, I would be unchallenged, and I don't want that. I always want to grow. I was like that in WWE as well. Every week I wanted to be challenged and grow as a performer. So, Be Cool was a very pivotal move and ballsy because it could have gone either way. But at the same time, I had that mentality that I'm stepping up to the plate and swinging for the fences. If I strike out, which I have done in the past, then it's cool because I strike out swinging. But if I don't and a hit a homerun, like with Be Cool, then its all worth it. Be Cool opened up so many doors for me. People in Hollywood knew I was funny and saw me host Saturday Night Live a couple of times, but it was after Be Cool against a Vince Vaughn, who is a classically funny guy, against Travolta and Uma Thurman and Harvey Keitel and the list goes on and on, it's amazing the amount of comedy scripts I get over action scripts. And I actually wrapped two movies -- one called Gridiron Gang, which will come out next year and a movie called Southland Tales. Gridiron Gang is a true story and an inspirational sports drama. And then Southland Tales is with Richard Kelly, who wrote and directed Donnie Darko and is, or will be, considered to be the Quentin Tarrantino of our decade. He has that unique sensibility to him as a writer and director. The character I play there is a movie star who gets amnesia, who is a paranoid schizophrenic, who is ultra neurotic and how can foresee the future and hears voices. I want to be a guy who takes a wide array of roles and not having fear about doing it.
WWE.com: Speaking of Southland Tales, a photo of you kissing Sarah Michelle Gellar in the movie was in the tabloids and played off as an off-screen moment. Talk about what it was like having to deal with the tabloids?
The Rock: It was a scene with Sarah Michelle Gellar who plays my girlfriend in the movie. And what makes it even more interesting is Mandy Moore plays my wife. It was fine. That's going to happen. The tabloids are going to get pictures like that. It just so happened we were on a balcony making out with my shirt off and she was in her lingerie.
WWE.com: How do the movies compare to the bumps and bruises of being in the ring all the time?
The Rock: You get used to both. In the ring, you get used to bumping every night. Your body gets into a rhythm. At least that's what happened to me. You find yourself in a rhythm and you just go and don't really think about it. But the thing about movies, there's so much waiting around and so much time in between takes -- especially if you have big action sequences. At the end of Doom there's a big action scene where it's hand-to-hand combat. With that 5-8 minute scene, it took 10 days to shoot. There's so much waiting around in between takes and you have to just make sure your body's loose and you're warmed up. Whereas in the ring it's live and you get one take and that's it. Nothing compares to being in the ring because nothing is scored. In Hollywood everything is scored. In terms of the table you go through, in Hollywood it's a breakaway table. Obviously there're no breakaways in wrestling and the chairs are very real.
WWE.com: Is there anyone you've come across while acting that you think would make a good WWE Superstar or a Diva?
The Rock: As far as being really gifted athletically, as well as from an actor's standpoint, is Jason Statham. He was in the Transporter and Snatch. He's a good guy and really athletic, so he may have a shot. But that's what makes WWE really special. If it was easy, everyone would do it, and it's not easy. There's not too many actors that come to mind who can actually get in the ring and hold their own -- not too many at all.
WWE.com: If you could wrestle just one more match, who would it be against?
The Rock: A guy I regret not working with, who I grew up watching, would be a guy like Sting in his prime. I would have loved to have wrestled him in his prime. And on the current roster, I always wanted to work with Rey Mysterio. I'd love to go against him with me as a heel in San Diego. I would love that. Sh**, that would be awesome. He's just one of those gifted guys that can have a great match with anyone.
WWE.com: A lot of people on the Internet have always said they would love to have seen The Rock vs. Shawn Michaels. Is that a match you would have liked to have had?
The Rock: I was never ever interested in working with him, to be honest with you. I've known him for a long time. He came in and worked for my family in Hawaii when I was like 13 -- him and Marty Jannetty. It was just one of those things. He was always one of those guys that I said "Hey" to and he said "Hey" -- it's no big deal.
WWE.com: At WWE Homecoming Hulk Hogan brought up the possibility of facing Stone Cold. How do you think it would compare to your match with Hogan at WrestleMania?
The Rock: You can't compare the two because it's such a different dynamic. I had great matches with Steve -- probably the best of my career, especially when I was a heel. The stuff with me and Hogan was off the charts, and I'm sure the stuff with he and Hogan would be off the charts, but in their own way. That WrestleMania in Toronto, man, was just something we didn't anticipate. It was a great dance and I really enjoyed it. That would be cool, though. From a fan's perspective, you're always interested in seeing stuff you never thought you'd see, and I never thought I'd see that.
WWE.com: Taboo Tuesday is coming up Nov. 1. What do you think it would be like competing in an event like that where you don't know what your match is going to be ahead of time?
The Rock: I think it would be easy. I was one of those guys in the ring that could work with anyone. I think it would really be fun. Letting the fans pick is really cool.
WWE.com: Do you have anything to say to the fans that are still clamoring for a Rock return?
The Rock: I have so much love and respect for the fans. I'll never forget where I came from. I love the business. I grew up in the business. And everyone always asks me, from Letterman to Stone Phillips, what I miss about wrestling. Hands down, I miss the interaction with the fans. Outside of the ring I loved it to. I mean how hard is it sign an autograph. Don't be an a**hole to your fans. And there's many (in WWE) that won't, which is bullsh**. But inside the ring, just that energy and feeding off that energy is great. There's something so special about it. And every night I would just have a blueprint of what I would say and rely so much on ad-libbing and waiting to see what happens when I get out there and let it materialize organically and see what happens. Every night was a different crowd and they gave me so much energy, and I'll always love that and always miss that for sure.