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From rock bottom to Rock star

Baywatch star Dwayne Johnson on his humble beginnings and presidential aspirations

Dwayne Johnson has a five-dollar bill and two ones framed on the wall in his house. It reminds him of the time when that was all he had.

"I have that as a constant reminder of where I once was and how grateful I will always be to be in my position today," he said at our interview at the Faena Hotel in Miami for his new movie Baywatch.

He continues with the story of the seven bucks, something he named his production company, which produced Baywatch, after.

"When I was 23 years old, I was in Calgary, Canada, and I was playing for the Canadian Football League and they cut me, you are done. And that is when I had seven dollars in my pocket.

"I had no money to go to the airport. I called up my friend Kenny Walker and said: Can you take me to the airport? No problem, I got you, he said.

"Three weeks earlier, he took me fishing, and I broke his rod, and on the way to the airport I remember telling him, man, thank you so much, one day I am going to pay you back for the rod that I broke.

"And he was like, it is just a thing. Everything we have, is just a thing. He said it so nonchalant and flippant. And that stuck with me for life."

The charismatic Johnson leads the cast of Baywatch as Mitch Buchannon, the lifeguard hero of Emerald Bay who, along with his team, saves the community from the depredations of the villainess (Priyanka Chopra) who peddles in drugs and does shady real estate deals.

RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT?
"If that were ever to happen, I am a fairly quick study, and I would do my best to learn as much about policy as I could, certainly a lot more than I know today.
Dwayne Johnson

His good-looking co-stars get a lot of praise from Johnson.

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"We littered the movie with a phenomenal cast that was diverse. And everyone came in great shape, from Priyanka to Alexandra Daddario, who I have worked with in the past, to Kelly Rohrbach, they are really alien-level beautiful; including Zac. His piercing blue eyes and his good looks are like everything you want in a movie star.

"To create a successful franchise, you have got to have really good chemistry with the cast, and we really lucked out with a cast like this.

"The chemistry was great, no egos. That might all change if we come back for a round two," he added, laughing.

Having been through bouts of depression, especially with his divorce, life is good for the 45-year-old now, especially because of his new daughter Jasmine with his partner of 10 years, Lauren.

"She is 17 months old, and she continues to make me better and remind me of how I really don't know as much as I think I know. I have got to continue to just be better."

He said he is a hands-on dad.

"Are you kidding me? Everything. I am in it - diaper changing, that is my thing. The trick now is to just get her to stay still, because she doesn't want to do that. So I have mastered the art of changing the diaper as she is standing up."

Johnson recently made headlines when he told GQ magazine that running for US president in 2020 is "a real possibility".

"If that were ever to happen, I am a fairly quick study, and I would do my best to learn as much about policy as I could, certainly a lot more than I know today.

"The talk started about two years ago, as the campaigns were kicking off for the presidential election. I said to GQ, yes sure, I would consider that.

"The groundswell that has happened since then has been incredibly overwhelming.

"I think over the years, I have become a guy who people can relate to. I get up and work hard every day and try and find solutions to any problems that may come up. So I think all of those elements led to this groundswell. It is very, very flattering."

 

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