G.I. Joe Retaliation: Dwayne Johnson Talks Being "Franchise Viagra"

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When we sat down with Dwayne Johnson to talk about his turn in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, we wondered what it was about the action hero that makes him, as that film’s director calls it, “Franchise Viagra.”

Dwayne Johnson is Roadblock in GI Joe Retaliation

“I have a decent smile,” Johnson said as he flashed it.

The actor, and former wrestling and football superstar, is someone who simply wants to help in any way he can. “The idea is if I can come in and add value, and help elevate it then I’ll consider it and do it. The franchises that I have been able to be a part of have been some already successful franchises, long-running franchises, for example like The Fast and the Furious franchise,” Johnson said.

He recently joined the Journey series to great success and hopes that his latest continues his successful streak. Judging by even the first G.I. Joe: Retaliation trailer, he is well on his way to another hit.

“With G.I. Joe it was very special. It had a deep-rooted cool connection with me because I played with G.I. Joes when I was younger. So to get the call a year and a half ago about becoming a Joe, and leading the Joes, and having the opportunity to go in, pay homage and respect to the mythology, and then hopefully make a better movie than the first, is important,” Johnson said.

“Because sequels are tricky, and in this case the first movie came out and it made a lot of money around the world but also I felt that, and we all felt that, there was room for a better movie.”

Also joining the G.I. Joe world as the “original” Joe is Bruce Willis, another superstar who knows a thing or two about making franchises work with his work on Die Hard and now Red. “Bruce is a guy who I’ve admired over the years and who I’ve looked up to when I was younger. He’s a great actor and he brings great weight and gravitas to certain roles,” Johnson said.

Bruce Willis Dwayne Johnson G.I. Joe Retaliation

He felt that there could have been no better soul to be cast as General Joe Colton. “I think Bruce Willis in this particular role was the reason why we all call ourselves Joes. He seamlessly fit into this role,” Johnson admitted.

The fact that he got to work with Willis was an extra special joy for Johnson in that the actor was an enormous supporter of his when he moved from wrestling to movies. “When I first started in Hollywood years ago, he was one of the few guys who was so supportive and publicly so supportive of my transition,” Johnson said.

“Then when I met him and we hung out, he was so insightful and supportive. In our private moments he said, ‘Hey, this is going to be great for you. You can do it. You got to work hard, which you do, and it will be yours to have. If you want to have a career, it’s going to take a very long time.’ I appreciated that insight so much because you don’t get it. You don’t get that as you're coming up in Hollywood because everyone is vying for a position and everyone is very competitive, so for him to do that I will never forget it. And then to have him in the movie with me, it’s awesome.”

And what about that up-and-coming superstar that originated the film franchise that is G.I. Joe? “I really enjoyed working with Channing. He’s a great guy, as you know. He is the sexiest man alive… till next year,” Johnson said and winked.

Johnson has a fantastic rapport with Tatum, teased in the latest G.I. Joe: Retaliation trailer. "I was very happy with our chemistry on screen, it really popped out and I enjoyed that.”

Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson in G.I. Joe: Retaliation

As Johnson mentioned, he had the G.I. Joe action figures and his favorite is ironically at the center of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation drama. “I got to be honest with you, my favorite at that time was Snake Eyes,” Johnson said. What’s not to like? Check out this Snake Eyes clip and one can see why the character is so revered.

When Johnson arrived on the set and had scenes with Snake Eyes, you can imagine the little boy inside him got just a little bit excited. “There was a cool moment where I had a scene with Snake Eyes and it was just that,” Johnson said. “It was very cool, very surreal, and the inner turbo nerd in me who has grown into a big turbo nerd came out on set.”

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