Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is that rare athlete who’s gone from a successful career in professional sports to a successful career as a movie star. Many have tried before and failed horrifically — I’m looking at you, Shaq — but Dwayne Johnson has done it.
To be fair, the sport he was coming from was professional wrestling, which is pretty much acting anyway. Wrestlers even refer to what they do every night as “shows.” They don’t even bother with the charade of calling it a “match” anymore, because everything is scripted and we know it. So, Johnson was already well-versed in learning lines and pretending to face a challenge.
But the thing is, The Rock hasn’t just found success as an actor. He’s even gone a few steps further than that. He’s now the biggest movie star in the world. That’s because what he lacks in acting talent, he makes up for with his charisma, unparalleled likability, and unabashed confidence. He is also ridiculously committed to the work.
He has a new big movie out every couple of months, he’s starring in his own HBO comedy and he still makes the odd WWE appearance here and there. And still finds time to keep that body in gargantuan check. The Rock is a busy bee to say the least. Here are 15 upcoming movies that will feature the Brahma Bull.
15. Big Trouble in Little China
Remember Big Trouble in Little China? It’s one of the craziest and most mind-blowing movies you’ll ever see. Whoever designed the creatures and makeup effects on that movie has got some kind of messed up imagination.
The original, unique, and hilarious thing about Big Trouble in Little China was that Kurt Russell — the go-to action movie tough guy of the ‘80s — played a trucker named Jack Burton defied all expectations when he turned out to be a clumsy, wimpy schmuck. The flick is a wild ride, and has acquired a cult following over the years.
There’s no wonder it’s getting the remake treatment, this time with Johnson in the role of Burton getting caught up in a terrifying and mystical battle with an ancient sorcerer in Chinatown. It’s still in development, however, so there’s no telling how long we’ll be waiting for this one.
14. Jungle Cruise
You know the ride in Disneyland called Jungle Cruise? Well, it’s no coincidence that this upcoming Dwayne Johnson movie shares its name, because the movie is based on the ride. Don’t knock it, though. Though a shameless cash grab, it’s worked a charm before with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
It didn’t work so well with George Clooney’s Tomorrowland, but that was marketed wrong, so blame that. The point is, Disney have a track record of adapting their rides as movies (and vice versa) and finding success with A-list stars in the lead roles.
The movie is coming from the director of The Shallows and the writers of Bad Santa and Cats & Dogs — why they were chosen for this particular feature remains unknown. According to IMDb, the plot goes like this: “a small riverboat takes a group of travelers through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles.” Sounds exciting!
13. Doc Savage
You should be pleased to hear that Dwayne Johnson will be starring in a crazy adventure movie directed by Shane Black. According to IMDb, Doc Savage will have the following storyline: “Doc Savage, the man of bronze, was raised from childhood by a team of scientists to become the original superhero of the 1930s. A man of great mental and physical strength, he went around the world battling larger than life villains.”
Shane Black is a god in the screenwriting world. He created the buddy action comedy genre with Lethal Weapon — which he wrote when he was just a mere film student — and he set a record with the $4 million sale for the script for The Long Kiss Goodnight — another great movie you should check out.
Black is also directing the next Predator movie, which he compares to Close Encounters of the Third Kind — I don’t know what that means, but it’s exciting. He most recently gave us the best movie of 2016 with The Nice Guys, starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as private eyes — though it was shamefully overlooked by moviegoing audiences.
12. SEAL Team 666
Currently in development, SEAL Team 666 will star The Rock as one of a team of Navy SEALs who find themselves fighting against evil supernatural forces who have set out to destroy the world. SEAL Team 666 is an adaptation of Weston Ochse’s novel of the same name. The title is a play on SEAL Team 6, the guys who killed Osama bin Laden, and 666, the number of Satan.
The movie will blend action, horror, and science fiction. SEAL Team 666 will be written by Evan Spiliotopoulos, who also provided the screenplay for Johnson’s Hercules. As of present, the movie is looking for a director.
11. Black Adam
Black Adam is the anti-hero who hangs around Captain Marvel; not the Marvel Comics version of Captain Marvel, who is a woman and has her own movie coming soon starring Brie Larson in the MCU. The DC version is a young boy who can turn into a grown man when he says, “Shazam!”
Black Adam is getting his own movie in the DC Extended Universe — the cinematic universe where Ben Affleck plays Batman and Gal Gadot plays Wonder Woman and Superman is dead but he’s not really dead and everything is all dark and gloomy.
He was supposed to be a part of the Captain Marvel movie, Shazam!, in which “a boy is given the ability to become an adult superhero in times of need with a single magic word.” However, the studio brass decided to split it into two movies, so we’ll be seeing a solo Black Adam movie starring The Rock sooner than expected.
10. Journey 3: From the Earth to the Moon
There’s a longstanding tradition of The Rock invading everything in his path. He took over the G.I. Joe movies from Channing Tatum; he took over The Fast and the Furious movies from Vin Diesel; and he took over Jules Verne from Jules Verne. He’s like a kid who has to have all the toys and refuses to share with the other kids.
See, Brendan Fraser starred in Journey to the Center of the Earth and then vanished tragically into bitter obscurity. Dwayne Johnson then starred in the sequel, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and it was far more successful than it deserved to be.
So, The Rock and the studio are now working on another film in the Jules Verne Cinematic Universe based on an adaptation of From the Earth to the Moon. The movie will see The Rock and Josh Hutcherson go on their greatest adventure yet: flying to the Moon. Hmm. We’ll see.
9. The Janson Directive
Johnson’s upcoming thriller The Janson Directive is based Robert Ludlum’s novel of the same name and was published one year after his death. Ludlum is the author of the Jason Bourne series, and Hollywood producers at Universal Pictures are hoping to replicate the huge success of Matt Damon’s — and briefly Jeremy Renner’s — Bourne movies with a Paul Janson movie franchise.
Johnson will play Janson — that’s a mouthful — in the movie, which IMDb describes as a “former Navy SEAL and prisoner of war, Paul Janson, works as a corporate security consultant, but when an assignment to rescue a VIP goes wrong, he’s forced to go on the run.” If they get a director with the kinetic vision of Bourne’s Paul Greengrass, this sounds like it could be good.
8. Fighting with My Family
Fighting with My Family is an upcoming biopic with elements of both comedy and drama written and directed by Stephen Merchant — co-creator of the original UK version of The Office — for a release in 2018.
The movie will focus on a WWE hopeful — so Johnson is sticking to his roots — with this official IMDb plot summary: “a former wrestler and his family makes a living performing at small venues around the country, while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment.”
The cast features Merchant, Vince Vaughn, Lena Headey from Game of Thrones, Nick Frost, and Johnson playing himself from back in his wrestling days. Make of all of that what you will, whether you think the movie will be any good or not. It seems like it could go either way. We’ll see next year.
7. Untitled Larry Hillblom biopic
At first glance, it wouldn’t seem like biopics would be Dwayne Johnson’s cup of tea. They’re low-key dramas, usually made as Oscar bait. Look at The Revenant, Raging Bull, Walk the Line, Ray – they’re all just going for awards attention. They target older audiences, whereas Johnson gets younger viewers with his big action movies.
But I guess he got sent the offer for the Larry Hillblom movie and it was just too amazing of a story to pass it up. Hillblom is the CEO of DHL, the international delivery company, and in 1995, his plane went down in Saipan and he’s been missing ever since. Mysterious, right? It’ll be interesting to see where Dwayne takes this one. It could make for a very mind-blowing movie indeed — if it’s done right, which it very easily could not.
6. Fast and Furious spin-off with Jason Statham
There are definitely going to be ninth and tenth instalments in the main Fast and Furious franchise, which started its life as a crummy, mediocre rip-off of Point Break with surfing switched for illegal street racing. But it’s since been rejuvenated, and it’s not a coincidence that the rejuvenation began when Dwayne Johnson joined the party in the fifth movie.
He injected the franchise with the necessary steroids for it to rival Star Wars and Jurassic World, and now he’s reaping the rewards. In addition to Fast and Furious 9 and Fast and Furious 10, there’s a spin-off being developed that will focus on the partnership of Johnson’s character Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw. They started out as enemies but have since become reluctant comrades, and it’ll be interesting to see that play out in their own movie.
5. Muscle Beach
No, Muscle Beach is not the original title of this year’s Baywatch movie starring Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron and their bulging muscles. It is, in fact, a drama that Johnson is developing. It will supposedly take an in-depth look at “the people and culture around Venice, California’s ‘Muscle Beach’ during the 1980s.”
A drama is not the kind of movie that The Rock usually makes, as he tends to go for huge, all-out action movies where submarines chase cars across sheets of ice. But Muscle Beach could be the beginning of a new era for Dwayne Johnson’s career. If it’s done right, with the right script and director, it could capture the culture of a time and place in the way Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights did.
4. San Andreas 2
San Andreas came as a pleasant surprise in 2015. It was a summer populated with sequels and reboots and recycled trash, and then Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson came along with a big blockbuster with an original story. He played a rescue helicopter pilot who was faced with tackling the biggest earthquake in history as it obliterated the West Coast.
And the biggest surprise of all: it didn’t suck. It was actually an enjoyable movie. The visual effects are spectacular, the set pieces are impressive, and the direction is capable. It makes for an extremely watchable movie. Knowing a thing or two about what you’re doing goes a long way in crafting a blockbuster flick. The inevitable sequel will focus on the Ring of Fire, so they’re just switching out one natural disaster for another. The third movie might be about an asteroid, who knows?
Dwayne Johnson will play Will Ford in Skyscraper, a hostage action thriller with its plot being kept under wraps. What we do know is that it will be set in China, to tap into the emerging and lucrative Chinese film market — a billion potential ticket sales.
It will be written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, who also directed Johnson in the very enjoyable — okay, it wasn’t perfect — action comedy Central Intelligence alongside the other biggest movie star in the world, Kevin Hart.
That’s one good thing about Johnson: he builds relationships with directors. He gets what’s important about the filmmaking process. What a great guy. Is there anything he can’t do? Skyscraper is coming relatively soon: July 13, 2018.
Rampage is arriving in theaters soon too. It’s set for a US release date on April 20, 2018. It certainly has an exciting premise, based on the 80’s video game of the same name. Basically, an evil woman, played by Billions’ Malin Akerman, injects a serum into a gorilla, an alligator, and a wolf. The animals become huge and start destroying cities. Dwayne Johnson is tasked with saving the world from these monsters.
Johnson teams back up with his San Andreas director Brad Peyton. The filmmakers appear to be doing as much as they can with the limited video game material. Johnson plays a guy working in Rwanda to fight poaching, so there’s some substance and meaning hidden in there. It should be a big, dumb, fun popcorn movie.
1. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Out in theaters on December 20 this year, Dwayne Johnson will rejoin his Central Intelligence co-star Kevin Hart, along with Karen Gillan from Guardians of the Galaxy, Jack Black, and Bobby Cannavale, in a ‘reimagining’ of the classic Robin Williams family movie Jumanji.
Welcome to the Jungle is a modern update of the original movie. In the new version, the board game is a video game some high school student find while in detention. They are transported inside the game as its playable characters. Will the movie live up to expectations? We can hardly wait to find out.