“I didn’t have the juice to greenlight anything back then”: Dwayne Johnson Waited 15 Years to Do a Movie He Rejected Mark Wahlberg’s Transformers For

Dwayne Johnson was determined to make his passion project, even rejecting a big tentpole franchise in the process.

“I didn’t have the juice to greenlight anything back then”: Dwayne Johnson Waited 15 Years to Do a Movie He Rejected Mark Wahlberg’s Transformers For


Unlike the A-list star he is now, Dwayne Johnson was not a big star in the 2000s.
He wanted to star in a Hercules film ever since he became an actor but he had no star power to convince studios back then.

He worked hard for 15 years and finally managed to bring the film to the big screen in 2014.

Dwayne Johnson is now an A-list actor who has immense star power. He has been in some major franchises including Fast and the Furious and Jumanji. Johnson is a big part of the audience’s interest in these franchises and their huge commercial successes. However, Johnson had to work his way up in the industry when she started in the 2000s.
Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs in Fast Five
Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs in Fast Five
Johnson had a passion project that he wanted to star in ever since he became an actor. At the time, Johnson did not have the star power and stature big enough to pitch studios to greenlight a film. The actor had to build up his career for 15 years and even turned down a major franchise to bring his passion project to the big screen.

It Took 15 Years For Dwayne Johnson to Star as Hercules
Dwayne Johnson wanted to make ad star in a Hercules film for many years
Dwayne Johnson wanted to make and star in a Hercules film for many years
Dwayne Johnson did not become the big superstar he is today in Hollywood when he first became an actor. Despite his WWE fame, he had to work hard to convince audiences of his capability as an actor to lead a film. He worked hard in the 2000s, trying to establish his name in the industry to become a bankable actor.

By the 2010s, he began to star in various successful big-budget films and slowly became an established actor. During the promotion of his 2014 film Hercules, Johnson told The Guardian that the film was his passion project and he always wanted to play the character ever since he became an actor.

He further stated that his efforts in trying to pitch studios regarding the project failed as he did not have the star power to do that successfully yet. Thus, he worked hard and after 15 years of working as an actor, he finally got to fulfill his dream to make the film, which turned out in the film’s favor. He said,

“When I first got to Hollywood around 14-15 years ago, you sit down with the studio executives then and it was the first project that I brought up, that I wanted to play. Didn’t go anywhere at the time, I didn’t have the juice to greenlight anything back then. But you know everything happens for a reason. And I’m glad because this version of Hercules… with a body that looked survived and he had gone through it for a period of years, I could only play it today.” 

Johnson’s passion for the film was evident in the interview and he even turned down the offer to star in the highly successful Transformers franchise. Michael Bay had offered him the lead role, which then went to Mark Wahlberg after Johnson declined the offer. Johnson did not care about making a big buck at the time and he instead focused on making his dream project. Fans can watch Hercules on Paramount+.

Emily Blunt Reuniting with Dwayne Johnson for The Smashing Machine
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in Jungle Cruise
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in Jungle Cruise
It was announced that Dwayne Johnson would star in Benny Safdie’s The Smashing Machine. The project will feature Johnson in a dramatic role after many years (his last was 2013’s Snitch). Johnson would be playing the legendary MMA fighter Mark Kerr, with the film chronicling various aspects of his life including his addiction, relationship, career, etc.

Recently, Variety reported that Emily Blunt is in talks to join the film and star alongside Johnson. The film will be a reunion between the two after 2021’s Jungle Cruise. Their chemistry in that film was appreciated by fans and they will undoubtedly go even deeper and connect on an emotional level on The Smashing Machine.

Johnson has been looking forward to the project, claiming that he “wants to make films that matter, that explore a humanity and explore struggle [and] pain”. It will be a welcome detour from his usual action-hero roles and it will be interesting to see how he approaches the character in the film.

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