The Rock in hot water over casting himself as black folk hero John Henry

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Dwayne Johnson (Credit: HBO)

Dwayne Johnson has found himself in hot water over casting himself as the black folk hero John Henry.

Johnson announced the news of his new movie project yesterday, which will tell the story of the famed railroad engineer who was said to have worked himself to death.

Though Johnson described Henry as one of his ‘childhood heroes’, there have been questions about whether he’s the most appropriate actor for the job.


Henry, the ‘steel-driving man’, whose heart gave out while hammering steel piles into rock to build the railroads of Virginia, was depicted as a dark-skinned African American.

The Rock, meanwhile, is from Black Canadian and Polynesian heritage.

And as usual, Twitter has been swift with its judgement.






The movie, called John Henry and the Statesmen, is being made for Netflix (via The Rock’s own Seven Bucks production company), with his Jumanji collaborator Jake Kasdan also on board to direct.

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