'The Scorpion King': Dwayne Johnson Confessed 'the Hardest Part' of Becoming a Leading Man Made Him Cry

Dwayne Johnson has appeared in some of the biggest action blockbusters of the past two decades, from his role as Luke Hobbs in the Fast & Furious franchise to playing the mighty mythical hero in Hercules.

Johnson, who began his career as a pro football player before making his mark on the world of professional wrestling, has millions of fans all over the world and is regularly celebrated for his honest, unfiltered take on fame. As well-known as Johnson is now, however, it wasn’t so long ago that the star was learning the ropes on the set of The Scorpion King — and discovering just how hard being a leading man can be. 

Dwayne Johnson enjoyed his first starring role in ‘The Scorpion King’

Dwayne Johnson started out as a football player, but it was wrestling, the sport dominated by his father, Rocky Johnson, that really called to young Johnson. In 1996, he secured a contract with WWF and started establishing himself as a dynamic, confident personality in the ring. All throughout the late ’90s and early 2000s, Johnson was one of wrestling’s most vital and interesting participants – but by 2001, Johnson had decided to move on to the next phase in his career.

His first movie role was in the 2001 movie The Mummy Returns. His role was a small one, but as the mythical figure The Scorpion King, Johnson received praise for his charisma and natural ability to draw the camera’s eye. In fact, he was so successful in the film that showrunners persuaded Johnson to sign on for a spinoff movie with him in the lead. 

What did Johnson say about the experience of filming ‘The Scorpion King’?

In 2002, The Scorpion King was released, introducing Dwayne Johnson to legions of moviegoers who might have been unfamiliar with his work in the wrestling ring. The movie was successful, and it cemented Johnson’s status as a major Hollywood star. Still, Johnson had a difficult time adjusting to the world of a leading man, and as he revealed to Entertainment Weekly in a 2001 interview, it was harder work than what he had anticipated. 

“The second session with my acting coach, an hour into it, I’m bawling,” Johnson said. “It’s very challenging. It’s different from the industry I’m coming from. On wrestling shows, we don’t have to deal with things like the loss of a family member. But in movies, you have to learn to express a whole array of emotions. That’s the hardest part of it for me.”

Dwayne Johnson is now one of Hollywood’s biggest leading men

After successfully crossing over into mainstream entertainment with his work in The Scorpion King, Dwayne Johnson was unstoppable. Over the next few years, he appeared in everything from comedies to big action movies, including The Game Plan, Tooth Fairy, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Race to Witch Mountain, and Hercules. He established a reputation for versatility as well as amiability, and from the very beginning, never hesitated to connect with fans on social media or in person.

Although Johnson might have been nervous to be a leading man at the beginning of his movie career, he’s not only proven that he can carry high-earning movies on his own, but that he’s a valuable team player as well. With a full docket of movie roles lined out for the next few years, it seems that Johnson won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Stay tuned to Showbiz Cheat Sheet for all the latest entertainment news!

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