This week, CNN chatted with Dwayne Johnson about his historic year. He addressed speculation about his prospective comeback to the “Fast and Furious” franchise as well as his political ambitions. He also hinted at how he intends to beat his blockbuster 2021.
The transcript of our chat, which has been gently modified for flow and clarity, is provided below.
What have been your most notable successes? In retrospect, is there anything you would have done differently?
“I worked hard, was fortunate, and was able to accomplish a few things in 2021. Among the many highlights are the completion of two gigantic Seven Bucks Productions productions, ‘Red Notice’ and ‘Black Adam.’ (It is scheduled for release in 2022.) Both created several obstacles throughout Covid, but we adjusted, gained clarity, developed our new Covid plan, and got to work. Seven Bucks also just finished our second season of NBC’s ‘Young Rock,’ which aired two weeks ago. I’m really pleased of everyone’s efforts and skills in getting the task done and delivering quality. Teremana Tequila, ZOA Energy, Project Rock, and XFL are among the other companies in my portfolio that have demonstrated amazing growth and progress in 2021. If there was one thing I would have done differently in 2021, it would have been to listen to my instincts when it told me to slow down. Enjoy these moments even more with your family and friends, since at the end of the day. Sorry for the profanity, but it’s the truth. It’s a good lesson to always heed to your gut instinct.”
“Red Notice” gained widespread acclaim, both from industry insiders and from people worldwide, becoming Netflix’s most viewed movie in the globe for 2021 and the most watched movie of all time. What do you believe contributed to the success of “Red Notice”?
“First and foremost, we created a fantastic film for families all around the world to enjoy. That is the gist of everything. Provide the stuff. I often claim that I can attract them to the dance and that if they have faith in me, they will dance one song. But it’s up to the quality of what I’m delivering to keep them dancing all night. We produced a fantastic film, and people are dancing to it. Rawson Thurber did an excellent job writing and directing ‘Red Notice,’ which drew two of the world’s greatest stars, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds, as well as a person known solely for his tattoos, raised eyebrow, and fanny pack. But, stupid jokes aside, producing the most watched Netflix film of all time is a huge accomplishment for our Seven Bucks Productions. Because ‘Red Notice’ was my first film to be released on a streaming platform, it was crucial for me and our Seven Bucks Company to deliver and move the streaming needle. What a holy’s accomplishment, and congratulations to everyone involved.”
What are your opinions on the streaming conflicts between platforms and their influence on theatrical releases? Does this come into play when considering release dates for your movies as a producer?
“I say this emphatically: we are at a fantastic period in our Hollywood business because we have a large chance to listen and understand what our audience and customers want, and just as importantly, how they want it. I have a deep belief in our theatrical industry and want us to continue to work hard to ensure that our customers have a positive theatrical experience. When a film is done well, it’s pure enchantment in the theatre. And I truly believe that it is our responsibility as creators, producers, and distributors of entertainment to always look after and go to the people. I aim to approach streaming services with an entrepreneurial mentality and ambition, as opposed to theatrical outlets. Best practise will develop as a result of the strength of possibilities and the demands of the audience, consumers first. We just need to be wise, open, and adaptable in order to evolve and listen to what people say they want.”
There was a lot of speculation that you may return to the “Fast and Furious” franchise. Vin Diesel just wrote that he wants you back. We know you mentioned returning months ago, but were you taken aback by Vin’s post?
“Vin’s last post caught me off guard. When Vin and I finally met in person this past June, rather than through social media, I told him frankly – and confidentially – that I would not be returning to the brand. I was tough but gracious in my statements, saying that I would always be supportive of the actors and root for the franchise’s success, but there was no way I would return. I also spoke individually with my Universal colleagues, all of whom were quite supportive since they understood the dilemma.
Vin’s most recent public post was an illustration of his duplicity. I didn’t appreciate how he brought up his children, as well as Paul Walker’s death, in the post. They should be kept out of it. We had discussed this for months and had reached an agreement. My intention has always been to finish my great career with the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise with appreciation and grace. It’s regrettable that this open discussion has muddled the waters. Regardless, I have faith in the ‘Fast’ world and its capacity to continually deliver for the audience, and I wish my former co-stars and crew members the best of luck and success in the next chapter.”
Do you believe anything has changed in your approach to social media as the most followed American male on Instagram in the last year?
“Yes, it is the solution. I still adhere to my anchoring guidelines: Be true, be real, and strive to ensure that every social post has substance and significance behind it, providing some takeaway for others, and never wasting anyone’s time with a nonsense post about nothing. But, as we manage Covid’s brutal ebbs and flows, I’ve found myself trying to use a lot softer touch with my words, because things on social media are so easily triggering these days, clickbait stuff. I aim to utilise a lility while communicating with individuals on social media on a regular basis. And if I can make you laugh and smile, I’ll do my best.”
Was it always the intention to become a tequila tycoon? What does the future hold for Teremana in 2022 and beyond?
“Tequila mogul was not part of the original plan, but I’ll take it. Our figures were released earlier this week, and our Teremana growth has been genuinely remarkable. Our sales have surpassed 600,000 nine-liter cases, which is an all-time high for first-year sales in our spirits business. To put this in context, George Clooney sold his Casamigos tequila brand to Diageo for $1 billion dollars when it was selling about 170,000 cases. Teremana presently sells over 600,000 cases per year. So, if you expand the math and value, you get astonishing growth, which I believe matches our ‘highest in quality and finest in taste’ credo. I’m pleased but not content with what we’ve accomplished with Teremana tequila so far. The task has only just begun. My ambition for 2022 and beyond is to establish Teremana as a genuine international tequila brand. With our Mast-Jäegermeister partners and our Teremana team, we have the organisation and worldwide distribution skills, but more importantly, we have the ambition and work ethic.”
Do you have a New Year’s resolution or goal?
“To be honest, I seldom make New Year’s resolutions. I’m sorry if I seem like an a**hole here, but I’m the person that does it all year. Whatever has to be changed, I’ll get it done and move on. This year, though, has been different. It’s widened my eyes a little more to the true shift that requires my attention. Work flow, work stream, what and who in my life actually want my attention, what should truly motivate me to get out of bed. This last year, I’ve understood exactly how important the concept and substance of time is; who and what receives my time these days. We don’t get time back, thus in 2022 and beyond, the people, projects, energy, and everything will be gone. Life. If it gets my time and gets me out of bed, I’ll go to bed thinking it was all worthwhile and that my time was well spent. Time is our most important and most valuable commodity.”