Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is currently promoting Baywatch: The Movie, which is why he’s on the cover of the latest issue of GQ (The Comedy Issue). The photoshoot is beach-themed, naturally, but the piece is called “Dwayne Johnson for President!” The photos make it seem like The Rock is campaigning for something, and he talks politics in the piece. You can read the full GQ interview here. Some highlights:
He’s been thinking about running for office: “A year ago, it started coming up more and more. There was a real sense of earnestness, which made me go home and think, ‘Let me really rethink my answer and make sure I am giving an answer that is truthful and also respectful.’ I didn’t want to be flippant—‘We’ll have three days off for a weekend! No taxes!’”
Whether he would give up movie stardom to be president of the United States: “I think that it’s a real possibility,” he says solemnly.
He didn’t endorse anybody in 2016: Last year, both presidential campaigns reached out to him for his endorsement, he says. “Which I did not give. I felt like…and give me a second, because I’ve never said this publicly, so… I feel like I’m in a position now where my word carries a lot of weight and influence, which of course is why they want the endorsement. But I also have a tremendous amount of respect for the process and felt like if I did share my political views publicly, a few things would happen—and these are all conversations I have with myself, in the gym at four o’clock in the morning—I felt like it would either (a) make people unhappy with the thought of whatever my political view was. And, also, it might sway an opinion, which I didn’t want to do.” He says he told both the Trump and Clinton camps that he wasn’t making an endorsement, that he preferred to see Americans make up their own minds…. These days, he tells me, he’s registered as an independent.
How he thinks Trump is doing: “Mmm… With any job you come into, you’ve got to prove yourself. And… Personally, I feel that if I were president, poise would be important. Leadership would be important. Taking responsibility for everybody. [If I didn't agree with someone] on something, I wouldn’t shut them out. I would actually include them. The first thing we’d do is we’d come and sit down and we’d talk about it. It’s hard to categorize right now how I think he’s doing, other than to tell you how I would operate, what I would like to see…”
His thoughts on the Muslim Ban: “I completely disagree with it. I believe in our national security to the core, but I don’t believe in a ‘ban’ that bans immigrants. I believe in inclusion. Our country was built on that, and it continues to be made strong by that. And the decision felt like a snap judgment. I feel like the majority of, if not all, Americans feel that protection is of huge importance. But the ideology and the execution [of national-security initiatives] is where we really have to be careful of not making those snap decisions, because there’s a tail effect… Within 24 hours, we saw a ‘tail effect.’ It grew to heartache, it grew to a great deal of pain, it grew to a great deal of confusion, and it had a lot of people scrambling.”
I came into this thinking that I was going to end up yelling about how it’s everyone’s individual responsibility to stand up to fascism, and that at the very least, use your space to speak your truth. Part of me does judge Johnson for being so painfully diplomatic and so… I don’t know, incapable of just saying “Trump is a piece of sh-t” because he worries that his core audience is at least half-way Deplorable. But by the end of the interview, I was sort of convinced that Johnson actually believes in the arguments he’s making and that it’s not just about his bottom line. I don’t know. There’s a lot of male privilege at work here, for sure, but there’s something sort of authentic at work too.
Photos courtesy of Peggy Sirota/GQ.