Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Action man Dwayne Johnson spent more than three hours in the make-up chair every day, having the hair from a yak's testicles carefully stuck to his face for his new role as Greek demigod Hercules.
The Scorpion King star reveals he had to undergo a lengthy styling process before filming each day to make him look like the mythical hero director Brett Ratner had envisioned for the movie, but he made a surprising discovery one morning, when he enquired about where the hair had come from.
The typically clean-shaven actor says, "The beard hair... had to be put on, strips cut, inch high, quarter inch wide, piece by piece. I asked my Italian designer, I said, 'Matteo, what is this?' He goes, 'Oh, it's the hair from a yak'. It's very expensive, very fine hair... He was putting it on my face and I go, 'Well, what part (of the yak)?' and he goes, 'The testicles!'"
But Johnson confesses he was a big fan of the beard hair, adding, "It's the softest!"
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Action man Dwayne Johnson has teased fans by suggesting he is set to bring comic book superhero Shazam to life on the big screen.
The Fast Five actor has been in talks with studio executives at Warner Bros. for several months to find him the perfect role in a new DC Comics adaptation, and now he has dropped the biggest hint yet about the kind of character he is preparing to play.
In an interview with TotalFilm.com, the actor reveals he initially wanted to star as John Stewart, one of the many characters who take on the identity of Green Lantern, but it was too soon after the 2011 film flop that starred Ryan Reynolds as the title character.
Instead, Johnson hints that he will play Billy Batson and his alter ego Shazam, a man with incredible strength and the power of light.
The new Hercules star says, "He has the power of Superman. And it's not the Green Lantern by the way. Believe me - John Stewart - he is a character who I wanted to play, but there was already a version of Green Lantern, and so now we've gone in a slightly different direction. But this character has the power of Superman. He can throw down."
He adds, "Just say the word. That's all I'm going to say." In the comics, Batson famously just has to utter the name of his alter ego to transform into the red and gold costumed superhero.
Director Peter Segal had previously been linked to a Shazam movie in 2010, but the plans stalled and the proposed project was shelved indefinitely.
The Rock has quite a lot cooking at the moment. In addition to recently wrapping on the seventh installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise, he’s got an epic starring vehicle in Hercules hitting theaters on Friday, and he’s all but confirmed that he’ll soon be donning the golden cape of Shazam onscreen soon (via TotalFilm). Between the blockbusters, the action-packed period pieces and an upcoming tenure as a superhero, there’s no doubt that Dwayne Johnson is a bona fide box office star. But even though he can bring people into a movie theater, people still seem reluctant to view The Rock as a legitimate actor.
After all, the first time that the public got to know Johnson, he was vamping in the wrestling ring and earning dramatic close-ups with the lift of his eyebrow. When he first began branching out into acting, via goofy action films like The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King, people were understandably reluctant to accept this giant goofball as a real thespian. But it’s been almost a decade since Johnson left wrestling behind for movie sets, and despite racking up dozens of credits and hit films, he’s still more closely associated with the ring than with Hollywood.
But Johnson is a talented actor. Despite a few early cinematic disasters, he’s steadily delivered entertaining, compelling, layered and even moving performances. He’s charismatic and appealing, both on and off-camera, and his resume of characters is more diverse than you might realize at first glance. He’s got basically everything he would need to become a major movie star, and yet we’re still hesitant to give him that title. We had no problem with Channing Tatum’s transition from dance films and rom-coms or Terry Crews’ growth from an NFL player to one of the funniest character actors in Hollywood. So why can’t we see Johnson in the same light?
Is it because he was so well known as an athlete that we can’t help but associate him with sports (or whatever pro-wrestling qualifies as) rather than movies? Or is it because his first forays into acting were characterized by box office flops and cheesy kid’s movies? Can we just not see the man who made Tooth Fairy as a legitimate actor, despite the numerous successful films he’s made since?
It could be that we, as an audience, need to see Johnson in a completely different light in order for us to really let go of his wrestling past. Matthew McConaughey was just the Southern guy from those bad rom coms until the one-two punch of True Detective and Dallas Buyers Club, and people didn’t start taking Tatum seriously until he teamed up with Stephen Soderbergh for Magic Mike and let his comedic talents shine in the Jump Street flicks. Perhaps Johnson needs to find a more serious project with a prestigious director in order for us to really appreciate his talents. Meanwhile, his next two features, Hercules and San Andreas, are more likely to be perceived as mindless action movies he can add to a long list of blockbusters.
All of this puts a lot of pressure on his potential performance as Shazam. While many of the performers who have taken on superhero roles are highly-acclaimed character actors, like Robert Downey Jr., Christian Bale, or Mark Ruffalo, the genre has a long history of casting people who look the part, even if they can’t quite act it. If the Shazam film doesn’t do well, both Johnson’s athletic background and hit-and-miss film history will likely be blamed for the flop, and it could erase a lot of the goodwill that he’s earned over the years as an actor.
However, if it does well, it could be exactly what Johnson needs in order to be seen as a legitimate actor and movie star. Before he set off after John Connor in The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger was best known for being a body builder, but after that film became a hit, he was regarded as an actor first and foremost (even when he became a politician). Shazam could do the same thing for Johnson, and finally help the public see him as more than just the goofy wrestler with the eyebrow and the catchphrase. Considering DC has had a patchy track record when it comes to superhero films lately and the fact that Shazam isn’t as well-known to the general public as Batman or Superman are, audiences probably won’t have very high expectations for the film, which should make it easier for Johnson to exceed them, and reintroduce himself to the world as an actor.
And if that doesn’t work, there’s always True Detective Season 3, right?
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Robert Downey, Jr. has been named Hollywood's highest paid actor for the second year running.
The Iron Man and The Avengers star has topped a new Forbes magazine rich list with estimated earnings of $75 million (£44.1 million).
Action man Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson comes in second thanks to his salaries from G.I. Joe: Retaliation and the Fast and Furious franchise, while Bradley Cooper is third with an estimated $46 million (£27 million).
Leonardo DiCaprio and Thor star Chris Hemsworth round out the top five.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Action man Dwayne Johnson had to get up at 3.30 ever morning to hit the gym and gobble up steak and egg whites to maintain his impressive physique for new movie Hercules.
The man-mountain spent over six months perfecting his look for the film about the world's strongest man, and he admits preparing for the part was a tiring experience of working out and eating.
His days began long before dawn with 35-minute gym sessions and then he had to consume calories before most people were awake. He tells U.S. news show Access Hollywood, "I had a cardio machine that was inside of my hotel room, and I would just roll out of bed, I'd have my unleaded caffeine, and I'd hop on there and I'd do 35 minutes of that cardio."
Then there would be a quick stop for breakfast before he hit the gym for muscle training. He adds, "I would go hit the gym and then I would go to set for 12 hours - it was a lot. (I did that) from day one to (day) 95. That was my schedule."
"It was the most gruelling production I had ever done by far. It was the most gruelling physical prep I had done for anything - by the way, that includes years of playing football, years of being inside a wrestling ring and years of acting."
But, while he was happy to give up his favourite junk food and treats to get in shape, he refused to stop drinking tequila. Johnson states, "To prep as a demigod, in my opinion, is the occasional glass of tequila - sipped, not a shoot-up. We're not back at college."
Newlywed Jessica Simpson has no plans to give her daughter Maxwell and son Ace another sibling. She revealed the news on Sunday (20Jul14) as she posted an Instagram shot of herself posing with pal Kathryn Sykora's son Jack. In the accompanying caption, she wrote, "I love you Jack, but I do not want another!!." The singer wed former American footballer Eric Johnson earlier this month (Jul14).
Veteran rocker Ginger Baker caused an upset during an appearance on a U.K. political talk show by branding Members of Parliament (MPs) "crooks" and refusing to speak to his fellow panellists. The former Cream star was a guest on BBC current affairs series This Week to discuss his career with host Andrew Neil.
Baker was talking about his decision not to quit music when Neil made a reference to the other two panellists, MP Alan Johnson and former politician Michael Portillo, and the rocker refused to acknowledge the pair.
The drummer told Neil, "He's an MP... I don't speak to them, they're all b**ody crooks," prompting the host to quickly change the subject.
"I asked the prop department to lock me in with real steel chains that I couldn't break, so the performance would be real... We shot this scene eight times and I blacked out every time. Down to my knees. Well worth the fun pain... this moment is iconic. I'm excited for you to see it." Dwayne Johnson really got into a chained scene in his new movie Hercules.
Rapper Iggy Azalea has added five more Teen Choice Awards nominations to her resume after the prizegiving's second shortlist was unveiled on Thursday (17Jul14). The star earned just one nod for Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Artist when the first wave of nominations were announced last month (Jun14), but now her smash hit Fancy will battle for the titles of Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Song and Choice Summer Song.
She has also landed a double mention for Choice Single Female Artist for Fancy and her Ariana Grande collaboration Problem, while the two pals will face off for the honour of Choice Summer Music Star: Female.
Grande is in the running for Choice Break-Up Song too, for her Break Free track with Zedd.
Meanwhile, comedy sequel 22 Jump Street will be a strong contender in the movie categories, picking up nods for Choice Summer Movie and Choice Movie Chemistry for stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Both actors are also up for Choice Summer Movie Star alongside Melissa McCarthy (Tammy), Mark Wahlberg (Transformers: Age of Extinction) and Dwayne Johnson (Hercules).
In the TV category, Pretty Little Liars continues to dominate with three nominations in the Choice Summer TV Star shortlist for Tyler Blackburn, Ashley Benson and Shay Mitchell. Fellow cast members Sasha Pieterse and Janel Parrish will contend for Choice TV Female Breakout Star and Choice TV Villain, respectively.
The winners will be announced on 10 August (14).
WENN/Adriana M. Barraza
If you never got to New York City to see Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston as President Lyndon B. Johnson, HBO is on your side. HBO Films recently acquired the rights to the Tony Award-winning play All The Way, with playwrite Robert Schenkkan signing on to adapt his script.
According to Variety the play follows Johnson's "tumultuous first year in office," beginning with his entry into the presidency (after the JFK assassination), and of course dealing with his efforts during the Vietnam War and the historic Civil Rights Act.
For his performance, Cranston took home the Tony Award for Best Actor earlier this year. We can all expect powerful good things when the movie comes to HBO.
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