Just as The Rock was turning to the movies, a magazine letters page suggested there were limits to how far his film career could go.
You can’t beat a good magazine letters page, especially when read with the benefit of a lot of hindsight.
Issue three of Film Stories magazine – and it’d mean the world to us if you’d support it and buy a copy here – has on its front cover the might of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, alongside Stephen Merchant. Take a look:
Johnson, as you well know, is one of the biggest movie stars on the planet (in more than one sense), and his latest project – Fighting With My Family – exists partly because he has the sheer clout to make it happen.
But back in 2001, movie stardom was far from guaranteed. At that stage, he was the World Wrestling Federation’s (as it was known then, kids) breakout star.
Furthermore, he was in the infancy of his film career, having taken on his first major movie role as The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns.
This earned him a profile in the gone-but-not-forgotten American movie magazine, Premiere. Yet wonderfully, a few issues later, a correspondent by the name of Richard Grant-Brown wrote to Premiere with a bit of a prediction.
His was one of the five letters that Premiere chose to print that issue (and the only one it featured with an accompanying image), and, well, look at the pullquote (and the brooding picture…)…
Grant-Brown’s letter, in his strong defence, was a positive one, saluting The Rock’s “natural talent in front of the camera”. Yet his crystal ball was faulty as he added the killer line “I don’t think he’ll achieve the same status that Stallone and Schwarzenegger got to, but he’ll certainly catch the eye of many film fans”.
By the end of this year, films starring Johnson will have crossed $10bn in takings at the global box office, more than Schwarzenegger and Stallone’s back catalogue put together. It’s not a like for like comparison, certainly.
But I reckon that few would argue Johnson hasn’t made a decent fist of this movie lark. And in defence of Mr Grant-Brown – not that I’m attacking him (far from it), he did indeed catch a fair few eyes…!