Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson looks plain exhausted in the still above, and one can hardly blame him. Having already taken starring roles in two 2017 movies – ‘Fast & Furious 8’ and ‘Baywatch’ – he’s got a third coming up in December’s ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.’
On top of this he’s now in production on his first major release of 2018, ‘Rampage,’ and starts work on his next film – action thriller ‘Skyscraper,’ with Neve Campbell – in one month’s time. And as if all that wasn’t enough, he’s recently joined the Academy.
Of course, while we might speculate that the exhaustion in the above photo isn’t entirely acting, Johnson isn’t showing any signs of slowing down – and ‘Rampage’ looks to be an appropriately larger-than-life adventure for the larger-than-life actor.
Reuniting Johnson with ‘San Andreas’ director Brad Peyton, ‘Rampage’ is an adaptation of a 1980s video game which centres on giant mutated animals destroying cities. Johnson takes the lead as Davis Okoye, a primatologist who shares a close bond with an intelligent gorilla he has cared for since birth.
However, that relationship is strained somewhat when a ‘rogue genetic experiment’ turns the gentle ape into a giant monster – with similar treatment dealt out to a wolf and a crocodile, as you might have guessed from the picture above.
‘Rampage’ will see Johnson joined by Naomie Harris (Bond’s Miss Moneypenny, recently seen in ‘Moonlight’) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (‘Watchmen,’ TV’s ‘The Walking Dead’), and looks set to be a bona fide kaiju epic.
Johnson has been chronicling the shoot on his Instagram, and his many pictures and videos give us tantalising hints of what’s in store. (Be warned that Johnson uses some strong language in both text and videos.)
Take this shot of a scene with Johnson and mo-cap actor Jason Liles, playing the silverback gorilla George: anyone else getting a Chris Pratt in ‘Jurassic World’ vibe?
When my bestie, George (an extremely rare Albino silverback) gets hangry. Hungry + angry. Blown away by this technology. Makin’ a cool movie for you guys here on set of #Rampage. When George (and a crocodile and grey wolf) are infected they grow at a rapid rate to gigantic proportions rampaging across the country. In this scene our Oscar winning Weta Digital (Lord of the Rings, Avatar etc) is using their ground breaking “performance capture” to bring “George” the Silverback to life. It uses over 30 special cameras to “see” the performance of my co-actor @tallie7487 allowing the digital artists to make the most realistic and badass animations possible. He’s wearing a “facial capture helmet” and we can record every muscle movement and expression and emotion of George as goes on a rampage. Jason studied gorillas for months preparing for this performance capture role – facial expressions, sounds, habits and emotions. Spectacular performance. What a learning curve for me and such a pleasure to help produce these amazing artists who come to set daily to be game changers. More to come. Amazing technology. #WETADigital #Hydraulx #Rampage #MyHangryBestFriend
A post shared by therock (@therock) on Jun 3, 2017 at 8:01am PDT
Here we see Johnson side by side with his esteemed co-stars:
Rampaging nights with my partners in crime, Naomie Harris and Jeffery Dean Morgan. The animal loving anti-poacher Ranger from Rwanda, the groundbreaking geneticist from CRISPR and the cowboy himself from the OGA – the “other” government agency. Three gigantic mutated monsters (silverback, crocodile and grey wolf) rampaging across the country. Party in hell. We’ll see you there. #OnSet #Rampage 4-20-2018
A post shared by therock (@therock) on Jun 5, 2017 at 6:04am PDT
This shot gives us a clear hint of the epic scenes of destruction that ‘Rampage’ is sure to deliver:
A post shared by therock (@therock) on Jun 13, 2017 at 6:49am PDT
And here’s Johnson almost literally taking flight, in what looks to be an eye-opening stunt:
Nice way to wake ya up and set your adrenal glands on fire. Massive C-17 with the entire back of the plane blown out, 35,000ft in the air and nose diving an inertial trajectory so fast I’m experiencing zero-g. (no g-force). These scenes are intense. Physically and mentally draining.. but at least I smell good and have multiple unattractive intensity veins in my forehead. Pack a lunch, it’s gonna be a long day. #PartyInHell #RAMPAGE 4-20-2018
A post shared by therock (@therock) on Jun 19, 2017 at 10:21am PDT
This video sees Johnson shows ‘Rampage’ director Brad Peyton some love:
We’ve been working our asses off for months chasing that greatness. Grateful man to work along side such brilliant, hungry filmmakers. And in the spirit of #Rampage I will happily take a bite out of my bad ass director @peytonology’s f*cking face. #BackboneOfHollywood #OurCrew #TeamRampage
A post shared by therock (@therock) on Jun 24, 2017 at 8:16pm PDT
And who hasn’t always wanted to hear Johnson do an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation?
Nailed it. Enjoy me completely butchering my best @schwarzenegger impersonation while rehearsing on set of #Rampage. When I was a kid Arnold was one of my heroes. And when I first started in Hollywood, he was one of the biggest stars on the planet and was so supportive and welcoming to me, when he didn’t have to be. First time we had dinner he said, “You can take the brass ring to places it’s never been before” in his iconic accent which clearly I suck at. 15 long hard working years later, here I am. Grateful. This one’s for you brother. #YoBigDawg #OnSet #Rampage
A post shared by therock (@therock) on Jun 25, 2017 at 10:16am PDT
And in this most recent post from the ‘Rampage’ set, Johnson goes to lengths to explain how his movie running is very far removed from Tom Cruise’s movie running.
Headhunter lean.. with full grenade belt. While shooting this running scene all day, one of our producers said “Rock you’re running like Tom Cruise in his movies”.. I said stop the music right there. Nope. Cruise runs like 6 o’clock. Straight up and down, arms tight to the body like an offensive player running for the end zone. This is the run of a defensive headhunter. Forward lean, stride long, arms open and pumping. Intense eyes fixated on the target which my warrior ancestors lovingly referred to as your head. This running form is also called, “get me the fuck outta here because there’s a genetically modified 50 TON BEAST that’s trying to eat me and all I wanted to do is just want to go home and have tequila and waffles”. #HeadhunterLean #FightOrFlight #IDontTasteLikeChicken #RAMPAGE
A post shared by therock (@therock) on Jul 6, 2017 at 5:20am PDT
‘Rampage’ is set to open in UK cinemas on 13 April 2018.
Before that, we can see Johnson team up with Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan in ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,’ opening on Boxing Day, 26 December.