Dwayne Johnson has revealed he was told to avoid playing gay roles by influential figures in the acting industry.
In celebration of Out Magazine’s 30th anniversary, former editor Jeffrey R Epstein shared some of his favourite cover stories over the years, including Ellen DeGeneres, James Van Der Beek and of course, The Rock.
Epstein covered Johnson for his 2005 crime-comedy, Be Cool, where he played gay bodyguard Elliot Wilhelm. The film also starred John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Danny DeVito.
According to the former editor, the actor was “One of the nicest, smartest humans I have ever interviewed.” He was also called a class act.
Johnson responded to Epstein’s tweet, sharing that he was advised to avoid taking on queer roles as he transitioned from wrestling into acting, as it could “ruin his career”. Thankfully, he dismissed this ‘advice’ and played the part anyway.
The 50-year-old stated: “I was told back then (by a few influential folks) that playing a gay man would ‘ruin my career’. I said ‘hold my tequila and f*ck off.’ Nicely of course.”
Jeff, thanks man so much for these very kind words. I always say, “it’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice”.
I was told back then (by a few influential folks) that playing a gay man would “ruin my career”
I said “hold my tequila and f*ck off”
Nicely of course 😊 https://t.co/t2Irhk4EF9
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) July 31, 2022
This is not the first time The Rock has spoken up about LGBTQ+ rights. In his 2021 film Jungle Cruise, his character has a heart to heart with McGregor, played by Jack Whitehall, whose character is gay.
Although the film doesn’t explicitly say McGregor’s sexuality, his interests are said to ‘lie elsewhere’ after a failed engagement to a woman.
During the press tour for the film, Johnson commented: “I felt that the scene was really exactly what it was, which was two men talking about what they loved and who they loved.”
Clearly, his Be Cool role didn’t hinder his career, as he went on to star in a number of films, including in Baywatch, the Fast and Furious franchise, Black Adam and many more.