Photo: Miramax Films, Universal Studios
Though he’s got those enormous biceps, when it comes to movie franchises, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the kind of guy who lets someone else do all the heavy lifting. The Rock has been a latecomer, swooping into several movie series that were started without him: In addition to last year’s Fast Five, he’s effectively replacing Brendan Fraser in this weekend’s Journey 2, and then he’ll saunter into G.I. Joe: Retaliation this summer to wrest star duties from Channing Tatum. If all those movies hit big, why stop there? Here at Vulture, we put on our thinking caps to brainstorm seven other franchises that The Rock could breathe some very unexpected life into. (A word of warning, though: Our thinking caps fit very tightly, and we may have been a bit dizzy while brainstorming.)
Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant, and Colin Firth had all been set to return for Bridget Jones’s Baby, but script issues have forced the trio to halt production
. What better time, then, to insert The Rock somehow? Imagine Grant and Firth stammering as The Rock announces that it was he, not they, who knocked up Bridget! Imagine them involving The Rock in the franchise’s de rigeur third-act street fight, which culminates in the suplex-related death of Grant’s caddish Daniel Cleaver! This thing writes itself!
How would The Rock fit into this acclaimed documentary franchise about the passing of time, which has been tracking the same set of Brits since they were schoolchildren in 1964 (with the new installment, 56 Up, due this year)? Who cares! Just slot him in and let us enjoy the radical changes as we check in with The Rock every seven years. Just think: Back in 2005, he hadn’t even shot Southland Tales yet!
The titular traveling pants are supposed to magically fit each of the four leads perfectly, but it’s time to put them to the test: Would they also fit and flatter The Rock, brought in to make the sisterhood a deeply diverse, height-disparate quintet? (But watch out, Rock: Blake Lively’s got a habit of dating her co-stars … )
Photo: Phil Caruso SMPSP/?2007 Alcon Entertainment, Inc.- All Rights Reserved
Do you smell what The Rock is cooking? Does it smell like Objectivism? (Sort of tangy, and insufferable?) Producers have pressed ahead with a second, recast installment of Atlas Shrugged, despite poor returns on the first movie, so why not cast The Rock as John Galt? It’d be a great way for Johnson to secure the tea-party vote on his way to the presidency
Time to shore up your art-world bona fides, The Rock! Why not meet with Matthew Barney to see if he’d restart his five-film Cremaster cycle just to include you? It’s a match made in Hollywood heaven: Barney is known for his unsettling, phantasmagorical images, and you ride a giant computer-generated bee in Journey 2!
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have been mulling the idea of a third Before Sunrise movie, but what could be added that we haven’t already seen in the other two films? The Rock, of course! He’s just as garrulous as these easily separated lovebirds, and their conversational strolls through a romantic European city would be considerably enhanced by The Rock butting in to ask, “Forget all this philosophy mumbo jumbo, anybody know where I can find a KFC? If I don’t eat two whole chickens by 8 a.m., I go down one bicep size!”
Shirley Maclaine will be shaking up Downton Abbey as a guest star
next season, but imagine the fireworks if the Crawleys had to accomodate Cora’s long-lost American cousin, a six-foot-four, 260-pound half-Samoan? Hand The Rock a flamethrower, some explosive charges, and a piece of dialogue like, “The war has come to Downton, so let’s teach those jabronis how Downton fights back!” and even the dowager countess herself would be speechless. (One potential obstacle: Could they find formal eveningwear in his size?)
Photo: Nick briggs