Though the crowd lining both sides of Hollywood Boulevard greeted him with chants of "The Rock" outside the TLC Chinese Theatre, Dwayne Johnson is ready to step into the "Hollywood film ring" as a new character: Hercules.
The pro-wrestler-turned-actor stars in Brett Ratner's reboot of "Hercules," a role that required gluing real yak hair onto his face each day and committing to a strict workout and diet to get the proper herculean look for the Greek mythological tale, he told the press at last night's Hollywood premiere of the film.
"This was a role that he prepared for probably over a year, Associate Producer Hiram Garcia, who also worked with Johnson on "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island," said on the black carpet. "We watched him on set, and it got to a point when we never saw him when he wasn't in character."
It's a character the hulky Johnson has always wanted to play, and he's been tied to the project since its conception.
"We wanted to deliver a 'Hercules' that's never been seen before," Johnson noted. "Taking the mythology, deconstruct it, and then presenting a character and a story that's going to entertain a lot of people. Not only that, but creating a Hercules that's going to be defining for a generation."
Yet critics are in the dark about Johnson's performance. The film, which features an international cast, has screened in Australia and the United Kingdom, but U.S. press has yet to see the film. The producers blame a delay in finishing the final version for the U.S. market.
"We're actually shocked that we're standing here and have a movie to project," said producer Beau Flynn.