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“He’s doing cocaine… Grilling body parts”: Dwayne Johnson Terrified of Playing $86M Mark Wahlberg Movie Character as It’s Too Relatable

“He’s doing cocaine... Grilling body parts”: Dwayne Johnson Terrified of Playing $86M Mark Wahlberg Movie Character as It's Too Relatable

The 2013 cult favorite, Pain & Gain, was one of the defining movies that established Dwayne Johnson in the frontiers of Hollywood. The industry back then is a far throw from what it is now. Two tectonic shifts have occurred in the decade since then, effectively changing the face of the cinematic world: COVID and the rise of streaming. But even before those options came to plague the audience, the experience that makes films epic is not simply contained in the measure of its plot and context but also what they essentially held in the outcome and outpouring of the audience response.

And a part of making the audience’s experience incredible was giving them the best deliverable execution on-screen – a thought that constantly haunted The Rock before Pain & Gain went on to become one of his greatest releases.

Pain & Gain (2013)
Pain & Gain (2013)

Also read: “I’m not quite sure if I can do it”: Dwayne Johnson Nearly Quit After Getting Intimidated By Role, Was Convinced No Other Actor Could Pull it Off

Dwayne Johnson Second-Guessed His Role in Pain & Gain

2013 brought incredible changes to the face of Hollywood. People mostly remember the headlining Man of Steel that kickstarted Zack Snyder’s highly contested and controversial DCEU. But the year also marked the beginning of The Rock’s rise. Michael Bay’s action comedy witnessed the former WWE professional alongside industry heavy-hitters like Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Mackie.

Pain & Gain – a Michael Bay film
Pain & Gain – a Michael Bay film

Also read: Mark Wahlberg Put Dwayne Johnson’s Work Ethics to Shame By Putting on 40 lbs of Muscle in Just 7 Weeks: “My calorie intake was pretty damn high”

Considering how Dwayne Johnson’s career was not, at the time, the epitome of Hollywood success, the budding actor was not only wary of being a deuteragonist but also being in the shadow of the $86 million-worth actor, Mark Wahlberg. The San Andreas actor’s primary concern was whether he would be able to do his role justice rather than being in the star-studded cast of a Michael Bay movie.

Michael Bay Convinces The Rock to Sign Onto Pain & Gain

Dwayne Johnson has helmed some seriously high-octane action franchises and managed to pull the crowds to the theatres every single time in a landslide box office win. Pain & Gain was only the tip of the iceberg that gave the actor a taste of what was to come. 

Dwayne Johnson in Pain & Gain
The Rock in Pain & Gain

Also read: Michael Bay Movies You Should Watch Apart From The Transformers

But The Rock did not survive this long and become one of the highest-paid actors in the world by simply pulling crowds. Authenticity and quality were the first major factors that needed to be checked off the list when picking up a project, which is one of the reasons why he became so wary of picking up the part of Paul Doyle in Pain & Gain.

The characters I play, whether it is an action drama or a family comedy, there are inherent qualities of those characters that were a part of me. This guy, Doyle, continued to fall and continued to make poor decisions, and continued to fall to extreme levels.

He’s doing cocaine, and before you know it, he’s grilling body parts. There were a lot of extremes. I was like, do I have the capacity as an actor to do this?  have never been in this position before. Will the audience see right through that? I wanted to make sure the performance was authentic and strong because of the content of this movie.

Eventually, Michael Bay’s articulated response as to why the film needed Dwayne Johnson more than he needed it became a catalytic factor in steering the actor toward the project. The film, made on a budget of $26M, now has an overall worldwide earning of $87M and holds a 6.4 IMDb rating.

Pain & Gain is available for streaming on Paramount+

Source: Miami Times

Written by Diya Majumdar

Having graduated with honors in literature from Miranda House, Diya Majumdar now has more than 1200 published articles on Fandomwire, and her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema. She happens to be a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for Monet, Edvard Munch, and Van Gogh, and an obsessive collection of Spotify playlists