Snitch Movie's Dwayne Johnson. Photo by Steve Dieti. © Summit Entertainment

Snitch Movie’s Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson: His Dad, Decisions, and the Dangerous Drug World

Written by Kelli Gillespie

Inspired by true events, Dwayne Johnson’s film Snitch shows the length a father will go to for his son after his son gets set up and imprisoned when a drug deal goes wrong. Johnson shares with Risen about his own father’s best attempts, consequences of decisions, and the dangers of the drug world.

Interviewed for Risen Magazine in Hollywood, Florida

Risen Magazine: When have you had to take a stand or witnessed strong conviction and integrity in someone else?
Dwayne Johnson: Looking back I wish I could tell you I was as honorable and admirable as Jason [his on-screen son] at 18 years old was. There’s been times in my life where I had the opportunity to do the right thing, make the right decision, stand up for something… and I didn’t. I wound up making the wrong decisions and wound up paying for it. But I think the key, now that I’m older, is just understanding and honoring the failure and the struggle and the reasons that I actually made the decisions I did.

Risen Magazine: As a father, what part of your real life did you tap into to play this role?
Dwayne Johnson: There was a direct connection between this character and myself. I was moved and inspired, but the bottom line is I would do whatever it takes to protect my child. I would do anything to protect your child. The fact that this guy did it is even more impressive. I was very fortunate to have this material come my way.

Risen Magazine: This father would do anything for his son. What is one thing you appreciate your dad doing for you?
Dwayne Johnson: I can appreciate that he did his absolute best to love me with all that he had. The reason that I say that is my dad was kicked out of the house when he was 13 years old. It was Christmas Day and my grandmother at that time had remarried after my dad’s dad had passed away. Her husband at the time was a drunk, and he got drunk and urinated on the turkey and my dad hit him in the head with a shovel and knocked him out. This is a true story, the cops came and at that time the cops felt it was the right decision for my grandmother to make a decision between the two. So the cops basically said if they continue to live together they are going to kill each other so either one goes or the other one goes. My grandmother looked at my dad and said, “Okay, well pack your bags.” He was only 13, so that obviously really damaged my dad in so many ways. So as a father today, and as a son, I can appreciate the capacity that my dad had to love me considering he was never loved. What a great question and you made me think about that, so thank you.

Risen Magazine: The drug world is crazy and dangerous. What would you say to kids who might think it means easy wealth, belonging and excitement?
Dwayne Johnson: It’s easy to get wrapped up in that, especially when you don’t have anything and you’re running the streets. I made a lot of mistakes when I was younger. I started getting arrested when I was 13 years old, got involved in theft and robbery and a lot of things I shouldn’t have been doing. The last time I was arrested, I was either 16 or 17 years old, so I know what it’s like to have nothing and to feel like, “Well I could just out and take it and make money the easy way.” I can tell you from experience that it’s a long dark road you go down with not a lot of light at the end of that tunnel. It never ends good unless you challenge yourself and pull yourself out of it. For me personally, it was so important to have adult figures in my life that cared for me and saw the potential in me, even when I didn’t see it myself. I share that with kids all the time. I’ve been where you’re at and I also know that your current situation doesn’t have to dictate your future. Use me as an example.

Risen Magazine: With Director Ric Waugh’s stunt background, how did this enhance your work together?
Dwayne Johnson: He cut his teeth and made his bones throughout the stunt world and has been around movies and movie sets all of his life. He’s used to coming onto sets not only respecting the actors, but respecting the process and also having the desire to do great. We’re always saying “onward” to each other… thinking ahead and moving forward.

Interview originally published in Risen Magazine, Spring 2013

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