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Interview: Dwayne Johnson on a Rampage

Apr 10, 2018

By: Lynn Barker

In Rampage, hot action actor Dwayne Johnson buddies around with a giant gorilla and fights some awesome, ginormous, engineered monsters set on wrecking everything in sight. The actor enjoys setting up the story and interesting characters in his films before launching into save-the-world mode.

Dwayne's character protects his friend GeorgeDwayne's character protects his friend GeorgeCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

He admits he was a big fan of the video game “Rampage” as a kid and played it far too often in a kind of unsavory setting. What was it like starring opposite Negan, the guy you love to hate on TV’s “The Walking Dead”? Jeffrey Dean Morgan went toe-to-toe with Dwayne as a black ops agent who ends up helping to save primatologist Dwayne’s out of control giant gorilla buddy George. Let’s let Dwayne tell you all about it.  

Q: What was your intention for the film?

  • Dwayne: Well, one of our goals was to raise the bar in the monster genre. There’ve been some great monster movies in the past. Let’s make this something very special.

George is really big and ticked off!George is really big and ticked off!Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Q: Did you ever play the videogame on which the film in based?

  • Dwayne: I loved the “Rampage” video game when I was a kid and I’ve told this story not so proudly in the past, that I spent many hours upon hours playing the “Rampage” videogame at a local pool hall in Hawaii. Oftentimes, I would go there and we’d play pool then quarters after quarters playing “Rampage”. Really loved it. So years later, it’s funny how things come full circle, it came back around.

Dwayne in the city fighting giant monstersDwayne in the city fighting giant monstersCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Q: How did you come to be in the project?

  • Dwayne: I heard from a producing partner I’ve worked with on many movies and he said, ‘We have this idea. Have you ever heard of “Rampage?’ I said, ‘Have I ever heard of “Rampage”? Dude, I love it!’

Dwayne goes toe-to-toe with Jeffrey Dean MorganDwayne goes toe-to-toe with Jeffrey Dean MorganCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Q: There is a cool gorilla named George in the movie that is your character’s friend. He really seems real. Did Jason Liles, who plays him with motion capture, study gorillas to make him that way?

  • Dwayne: Yes. I will happily put the spotlight on Jason. He studied the primal acts of gorillas, their emotions, how they communicate, when they get angry, when they’re happy, going through the varying degrees of emotions, how they walk, how they attack. He really embodied what it’s like to be a gorilla. I was really blown away.

Dwayne as Davis speaks sign language with GeorgeDwayne as Davis speaks sign language with GeorgeCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Q: Is almost everything CGI in the film or are there practical, “real” sets?

  • Dwayne: We built practical sets everywhere we could possibly build them and we added a little green screen. It helped me as a performer. It was invaluable because there is destruction and debris, twisted metal, concrete, smoke machines, you’re legitimately coughing. You’re in it. I appreciate that. It is as practical and real as it can be not putting anybody in danger. You have great set design, great builders and great crew. It helps with the performance.

Tiny Dwayne fights huge monsters with George at his sideTiny Dwayne fights huge monsters with George at his sideCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Q: Is the movie all action? Does it build?

  • Dwayne: Fans will see, there will be a time where the movie goes along (smoothly) as we’re setting up the story, then bang! You’re off. That is it. You are on this ride and you don’t get off so your adrenalin (pumps). It’s non-stop.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan gives orders in the fieldJeffrey Dean Morgan gives orders in the fieldCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Q: You’ve got cool Jeffrey Dean Morgan (villain Negan on “The Walking Dead”) to play the annoying Agent Russell. Was that fun?

  • Dwayne: The goal and challenge is to find somebody to play opposite me who can bring it, who can get in there and I can bang with and that’s the best part of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character; he gets in there and goes toe-to-toe with me. Jeffrey Dean has that swagger and machismo but he does it with a smile and a wink which is always more dangerous and more entertaining.

Rampage Movie PosterCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

See Rampage in theaters now!

Have Your Say

Are you into big action movies with battling giant monsters or do you just like Dwayne Johnson films? Are you looking forward to this one? Comment below!