Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson have plenty of reasons to toast for 2021 with some Teremana.
He produced and starred in two hit films, Jungle cruise and Red message, debuted his biographical sitcom Young rock, experienced unprecedented sales growth with his Teremana tequila and became the most followed American man on Instagram with 285 million followers.
As a 49-year-old, Johnson has, with gravel, charisma and a willingness to “deliver the goods”, separated from professional wrestler to movie star, great entrepreneur and someone who almost half of America would like to see as the next president of the United States, according to a poll.
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CNN spoke with Johnson this week about his monumental year. He addressed the hype surrounding his possible return to Fast and furious franchise and his potential political ambitions. He also gave an insight into how he plans to top his blockbuster 2021.
Our conversation, which has been easily edited for flow and clarity, follows below.
You’ve seen some great successes, any highlights? When you reflect back, something you wish you would have done differently?
“I worked hard, had a little luck on my side and was able to accomplish a few things in 2021. A few highlights that come to mind would be to complete two massive Seven Bucks Productions films, Red message and Black Adam. (Set for release in 2022.)
“Both offered a lot of challenges during COVID, but like so many companies out there, we adjust, get clarity, create our new COVID strategy and get started. Seven Bucks has also just finished – two weeks ago – our second season of NBC’s Young rock.
I’m pretty proud of everyone’s efforts and talents to get the job done and deliver quality. And the other companies in my portfolio have shown tremendous growth and have made good progress in 2021 – Teremana Tequila, ZOA Energy, Project Rock and XFL.
As for everything I would have done differently in 2021, then of course I would have listened to my gut feeling when it said I should slow down a bit. Enjoy these moments even more with your family and friends, because in the end, these joyful moments are what really matter in life. Sorry to quarrel, but that’s the truth. Good lesson always to listen to that voice in your stomach. “
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Red message received a huge amount of praise, both from those in the industry and from audiences around the world by becoming Netflix’s most watched movie in the world in 2021 and most watched ever. What do you think made Red message so successful?
“First of all, we made a great movie that families all over the world can enjoy. That’s the bottom line. Deliver the goods. I always say I can bring people to the dance, and with the trust they have in me, they will dance. but then it’s up to the quality I offer that makes them dance all night.
We made a great movie and people are dancing to it. Rawson Thurber did an amazing job writing and directing Red message who attracted two of the biggest stars in the world, in Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds, and a guy who is famous only for his tattoos, raised eyebrows and a fanny pack.
But aside from stupid jokes, it’s a monumental achievement for our Seven Bucks Productions to produce the most watched Netflix movie ever. Red message was my first film on a streaming platform, so it was critically important for myself and our Seven Bucks Company to deliver and move the streaming needle.
What a sacred achievement and congratulations to all involved. “
What are your thoughts on the streaming wars between platforms and their impact on cinema releases, does this play a role when discussing releases for your projects as a producer?
“I say this with great clarity, we are in a huge time in our Hollywood industry, as we are in the eyes of a huge opportunity to listen and learn what our audience and our consumers want, and just as importantly, how they want it.
I strongly believe in our theater business and want us to continue to work hard to preserve that theater experience for our consumers. When a movie is made right, it’s pure magic in the theaters.
And I also feel strongly that it is our job as creators, producers and suppliers of entertainment to always take care of and go to the people. I try to approach streaming platforms versus theatrical with an entrepreneurial spirit and vision. The power of opportunity and the needs of the audience, consumers first, best practices will emerge. We just have to be smart, open and flexible to change and listen to what people say they want. “
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There was a lot of buzz that you can join again Fast and the Furious franchise. We saw that Vin Diesel recently wrote that he wants you back. We know you addressed potential recurring months ago, but were you surprised by Vin’s post?
“I was very surprised by Vin’s recent post. In June last year, when Vin and I actually did not connect via social media, I told him directly – and privately – that I would not return to the franchise.
I was firm yet heartfelt with my words and said that I would always support the cast and always make sure that the franchise would be a success but that there was no chance that I would return. I also spoke privately with my partners at Universal, who were all very supportive as they understand the issue.
Vin’s recent public post was an example of his manipulation. I did not like that he raised his children on the post, as well as the death of Paul Walker. Let them be out of it. We had talked about this months ago and reached a clear understanding.
My goal all the time was to end my amazing journey with this incredible Fast and furious franchise with gratitude and grace. It is unfortunate that this public dialogue has muddied the waters.
Either way, I’m sure of the ‘Fast’ universe and its ability to consistently deliver to the audience, and I really wish my former co-stars and crew members good luck and success in the next chapter. “
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As the most followed American man on Instagram, do you think anything has changed with how you have grabbed your own social media for the past year?
“The answer is yes. I still have my grounding guidelines, I follow: Be authentic, be genuine and try to make sure all social posts have a quality and meaning behind them, offer some takeaway to people and be careful never to waste anyone’s time with a bull post about nothing.
But I want to tell you that as we navigate through COVID’s rugged ebb and flow, I have found myself trying to use a much lighter touch with my words, as things on social media are so easily triggered these days, clickbait- thing. Lighter touch and quality I try to use daily when connecting with people through social media. And if I can make you laugh and smile, I will try to do the same. “
Was it always part of the plan to become a tequila mogul? What’s next for Teremana in 2022 and beyond?
“Tequila mogul was not part of the initial strategy, but I will definitely take it. Our numbers were released earlier this week and our Teremana growth is truly unprecedented. Our sales have exceeded over 600,000 nine-liter boxes and in our liquor industry, it is an all-time record for first-year sales.
In context, George Clooney sold his Casamigo tequila brand to Diageo for $ 1 billion, and they sold about 170,000 cases. Teremana currently sells over 600,000 cases.
So you can extrapolate the math and valuation, an amazing growth, and I think that reflects our ‘highest quality and best in taste’ mantra. I’m happy but not happy with what we’ve been able to achieve with Teremana tequila so far. The work has just begun.
My goal for 2022 and beyond is to make Teremana a true international tequila brand. We have the organization and the international distribution expertise with our Mast-Jäegermeister partners, our Teremana team, and just as important we have the ambition and work ethic. “
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You have said before, I specifically believe in your interview for your latest Vanity Fair cover that you would not run for president in 2024 because you “know nothing about politics.” Yet, according to a poll in the spring, almost half of Americans would vote in your favor. Could ‘The Rock’ still be a potential presidential candidate in the future?
“Well, I think the poll among almost half of the Americans who are in favor of me running for president is so humiliating. It puts me down and I know of no other way to describe it. Having a small ability to potentially encourage our country is humiliating, very humiliating.
Maybe it’s the Tereman who’s talking here, but I still know nothing about being a politician. I do not know if I have that politician gene in my DNA. Leader? Yes. Patriot? All day long. Politician? None.
I feel the best position I can be in right now is to be a trusted, non-judgmental place for people; no matter what side of the street you live on, what color you have, what you live by, how you choose to live your life, what is in your bank account, whether you drive a car or take the bus. I do not care.
None of that matters to me. Just work hard, take care of your family, be kind to people, be kind to people, be straightforward, honor your word and always [have] a little fun along the way. And do not be a *** hole. Like I said, I do not think I would be a good politician. “
Do you have a New Year’s goal or intention?
“To be honest, I usually do not have New Year’s resolutions. I know I sound like a hole here, but I’m the guy who usually just does it all year round. No matter what change needs to happen, I get it done. and move on.But the last year has been different.
It has opened my eyes a little more to real changes that need my attention. Workflow, workflow, what and who in my life really needs my attention, what really should get me out of bed. I have reached a point in my life over the last year where I realized how crucial the idea and essence of time is; who and what is getting my time these days. We are not getting time back, so in 2022 and beyond, the people, the projects, the energy, it’s all.
Life. If it gets my time and gets me out of bed, then I go to bed, knowing that it was worth it and that it was all time spent wisely. Time is our greatest and most valuable currency. “
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