Interview with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson!
Hey guys! I can't believe my luck - I was sent an email by a company called
celebrity 'A' list-R-us.com that puts you into contact with famous celebrities, gives you their email addresses and sets up an interview for you, all for the magnificent price of 200 euros paid into an account that was only open for a short period of time! How cool is that! And blow me down, my first ever interview (with an A grader celebrity), is none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson! I know!
Check it out below! Man! I am all-over this Interview thing!
ME: Good morning! I can’t believe I‘m getting to interview you on my first ever blog – can I just say that it’s an absolute honour – I’m blown away. This is like a dream come true. Whilst I am not in the same room as you, or on the same continent, or even doing this live and being able to see your answers yet, I feel a real connection already.
THE ROCK: That’s very kind of you! It’s a pleasure to be here and chat a bit of crime fiction.
ME: You use a celebrity name – The Rock, instead of your given name, Dwayne, is it because you thought that people called Dwayne would never become famous, or was it because it’s difficult to spell Dwayne, all those consonants lined up one after the other?
THE ROCK: Um… Austrian, it’s me. Seamus Heffernan. You asked me come on your blog, chat about my books (Napalm Hearts and Ten Grand)?
That said, Seamus was a pain in the ass name when I was a kid. That Irish spelling tripped up a lot of folks.
ME: Most people will know you from your present job, up there in the limelight strutting your stuff – which you are amazing at, can I just say – like a massive muscley smiley god, but you had a job before all the posturing. Can you tell us a little bit about it, and why you gave it up? And has anyone ever suggested you wear some tight gold pants because I think you would ROCK that look.
THE ROCK: Well, this is getting weird but what the heck. I’ll ride it out.
I’ve actually had a lot of jobs. I was a teacher, policy wonk, journalist, youth worker… I worked in politics for a long time, too. I never really felt like picking just one thing, I guess. As for gold pants: I’m more of a suit and tie kind of guy. But I wouldn’t shy away from some bold patterns, like a rowdy houndstooth, if the opportunity (ot tailor) presented themselves.
ME: I know you are one of the most prolific men on the planet (which you have saved so many times – thank you on everyone’s behalf) but even during COVID, when most of us were just hoarding toilet paper or making bad Tik Tok videos, you were busy – I heard a rumour that you are writing again! Is it a kid’s book, or a thriller, or even horror? Can you tell us all about it and how it ends, so I know if I have to buy it?
THE ROCK: I write detective stories, so I try to make all my endings the same: Somewhat surprising, but (with luck) ultimately satisfying to the reader. Luckily, the protagonist of my series, Thaddeus Grayle, makes enough bad choices that he gives me a lot to work with in both regards.
ME: Can I just say that you would be a perfect match for my book, when someone makes a film of it, to play the bad guy, Sinclair. Just want to leave that hanging there with you for a second.
ME: I think you can read, right? I mean, you got this far! Duh! So what was your favourite book when you were a kid and before you realized that films sell more?
THE ROCK: Dude... I have a master’s degree. Which, you know, doesn’t make me Ken Jennings or anything but it typically assumes the holder can read.
But what the hell. We’ve come this far. My favourite books as a kid were pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I read constantly, which explains a) becoming a writer and b) not dating a whole lot. The first ‘grown up’ books I read were likely Jaws or some Stephen King, which is odd because I have no interest in horror (outside of surviving this interview).
ME: I think we all know, and we all sympathize with you, about your traumatic experience as a kid. Getting sucked up into that board game has got to leave scars. But by all accounts, you’ve healed, and are willing to talk about it. So to stay on the subject, what was your favourite board game, apart from Jumanji, when you were a kid and why?
THE ROCK: I played a lot of table hockey as a boy, and through it learned a valuable lesson: My dad might love me, but not enough to let me win.
ME: WOW! ME TOO! We are so similar. That’s a good sign for working together, say on a film for example. You should think about that.
So it’s a well-known fact that nobody asks the unspoken question – Where do your ideas come from, but I just asked it, so I might as well ask it properly – Where do your ideas come from? Let me just get a pen. Ok – shoot.
THE ROCK: ...
ME: Let me rephrase that. What inspired you to write Ten Grand?
THE ROCK: Well, not to put to fine a point on it, but my publisher. They asked for a second book and I signed a contract, so I had to turn it around pretty quickly. Overall, I was pretty pleased and it reminded me of a valuable lesson: Writing is work. If you’re sitting around waiting for the muse to whisper sweet nothings into your ear before you start, you’re never going to produce anything of merit.
ME: In your last film that wasn’t as popular as the others, you revealed to the world that you have a prosthetic leg, and can jump across massive gaps between buildings. I’m guessing that skyscrapers aren’t your favourite places right now. So where do you like to write?
THE ROCK: Before the pandemic, I had a coffee shop I enjoyed going to. Now I write in my kitchen, when my son is napping or otherwise indisposed.
ME: and next time, can I watch?
THE ROCK: No. That’s just weird, man.
ME: I know you must have had some massive influences on your writing, but why didn’t you dedicate the book to your mum? I know that she isn’t mentioned in any of your films to date, so she is probably feeling a little let down by that. Is that how you lost that leg? So which authors were your biggest influences as you grew up (And can I just say, you grew way, way, way up)?
THE ROCK: I mean… My first book was dedicated to my mom and dad, the second to my partner Chelsey. Why you got to bring my mother into this, man?
My favourite writers span a pretty wide range of genres and eras. As a crime writer, it’s always a good idea to check out the masters Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammet. I read a lot of painfully hip 80s fiction too, like Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis. And there were some comic book writers who had a big influence on me, folks like Matt Wagner, Denny O'Neil, Andy Helfer, and Howard Chaykin. Honestly, though, the writer who probably had the biggest impact was Raymond Carver. There was a real beauty in what he did, with the economy of language and the celebration of the everyday.
ME: Now we’re getting to know each other, we should really have nicknames for each other, right? How’d you like Rocky? Or the Rockster? I’m betting you’d love that. I'm like a little version of you, so it'd probably be cool to call me "Mr. pebble". So what was your nickname in school, and why?
Rockster: I had a lot of nicknames (Sam, Bones, Heff, etc.), but if you asked my uni buddies they would probably remember calling me Spins the most.
I’m too polite to write what I’m considering calling you here.
ME AFTER EDITS: There has been a terrible mistake. I thought I was interviewing Mr Johnson, which is an anatomical nickname, I believe, but apparently, I was corresponding with Seamus Heffernan, the Author of Ten Grand, an edge of the seat Thriller that was released by Darkstroke books. The liable papers I have just signed demand that I make reparations and continue the interview in an orderly fashion and that I apologize to Mr Heffernan.
ME: Seamus – Sir. Can I call you that? What has changed in your life since becoming an Author and have any characteristics in your personality changed? Like, say, forgiveness?
Seamus: Honestly, not a lot has changed, Pebble. I think we as writers have this vision that as soon as we sign a contract we’ve achieved our dream--it’s all done and dusted. It’s actually quite the opposite. Publishing has changed a lot, so unless you’re Stephen King or something you’re not going to be getting a lot of help with promotion, book tours, press, etc. You’re pretty much on your own.
But on the plus side I’ve made some great friends (I urge all of you to check out fellow Canadian crime writers AJ Devlin, Dietrich Kalteis, RM Greenway, Erik D’Souza, Winona Kent) and had a blast making up stories that people enjoyed. So overall, still a very cool experience.
Me: I know you are a fan of books, but what about film stars - any film star that ROCKS your world? (sorry… sorry…. I couldn’t help myself)
Seamus: I’ve been watching The Undoing, and boy does it remind you how good Donald Sutherland is. Crime movie fans could do a lot worse than checking him out in 1971’s Klute. I’ve long admired Gene Hackman too, and while the obvious movie to reference here is The French Connection, I used to coach kids so everytime I watch Hoosiers I get choked up a bit.
I’m also a big Brie Larson fan. She’s been in so much great stuff, but I keep urging folks to check her out in Short Term 12, an indie that was her big’ish break. I used to work with at-risk youth and this film nails the job very well.
Me: Finally, because this is a really long blog post now, do you have any last words for would-be authors or anything you’d like to share with us?
It’s been a helluva year, so I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and (with any luck) a joyous 2021.
Kindly support the writers you enjoy by buying their stuff, spreading the word to your book-loving friends, and leaving reviews.
Check out Central Intelligence with The Rock. It’s actually not a bad movie.
ME: Go and buy Seamus’ book, folks. Here’s a link – He, and it, will ROCK your world.
Buy it HERE.
Well - I don't know about you, but I think I absolutely killed that Interview! I wonder who they've got lined up for me next week? I can't wait!
Until then - Rock on! 🤜🤛
A big thank you to Seamus for being a sport here. Go follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,