I was invited by Disney to attend the LA Red Carpet Premier and Press Junket for the #MoanaEvent, #TheBFGBluray, #ABCTVEvent and #StuckInTheMiddleEvent. This special invitation is an all expense paid trip, but all magical opinions are mine alone.
Never in my wildest dreams that I ever think that I would have the opportunity to do an Exclusive Interview with Dwayne Johnson “The Rock”! Not only did we have time to chat about the movie, but we also had a little bit of fun and laughter! Read below on how 25 mom social media influencers made The Rock “sweat”.
Exclusive Interview With Dwayne Johnson
Twenty Five bloggers anxiously waited for Dwayne Johnson to enter the room not knowing what to expect. Believe me when I say that we as a group had talked about meeting him and were super excited to do so. Many know Dwayne Johnson as the wrester The Rock, but as an actor he has done many roles in comedy, action, and now animated film.
One of the questions I’ve gotten from friends and family was if he was a nice person and I’m happy to share that he was! He was actually super nice and very funny!
Why was it important for you to do this role?
it was a great opportunity to showcase our Polynesian culture to the world. I’m half Samoan and half black, and it was an opportunity for me. I felt I wasn’t too sure that I was ever going to get the opportunity again to showcase culture. Our culture’s very rich and we’re very proud of it, so it was the opportunity, and it was also, an opportunity to work with Disney in this capacity, In a classic animated capacity with the element of music. I’ve done two Disney movies in the past, live action movies, but this is different, it’s a different machine. It’s still the same umbrella, but it’s a different machine, and it was, again, the opportunity to hopefully make a movie that was not only good but, have a real good shot at creating something that was like a classic. And that’s what I wanted to do.
What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge would be, it’s just a different muscle to exercise and it was almost like a baptism by fire and I had a lot of help around me which was nice, and what I mean by the help is, finding ways to really add real zest and life to words and to sentences, and as you’re articulating things and in conversations with Moana, who’s played by Auli’i. So it was that, I’d say, that was the biggest challenge. Making sure that the words that I spoke had life and the correct energy and the correct temperament and tone and intonation where it had to go to different places and pitch and things like that. It was a real fascinating experience, for me.
We shared with Dwayne Johnson that we had the opportunity to see the film MOANA the night before at a special screening and he was curious if we had liked it. We loved it, we all shared at the same time. I think that he was very proud of the fact that we did love the movie so much.
With music being a huge part of Disney’s MOANA we talked to Dwayne Johnson about his singing role in the movie.
You’re so much more versatile than people give you credit for. Talk about the rapping you did in this role.
Of course. It was a great opportunity to push myself and to sing, and you know, the bar’s set very high in a Disney movie when there’s the element of music. And I felt confident going in because I felt confident that I could prepare and do the things that I can control. And also surround me with really amazing collaborators musically. Masterful musical people and Lin-Manuel and Opetaia. By the way, Mark Mancina, they are just very, very special. So I was excited to sing a song, and to Lin’s credit, he did a lot of deep dive research. I’ve sung in the past, but fun, like I would go on a talk show like Ellen, or something and I would break out a guitar and sing, and just make it kind of fun and silly. But he did his research and he found a comfortable range that I could sing in, and then he also pushed me a little bit, and I had a real, real, real good time. And rapping too and the whole thing. So, I’m a rapper.
What do you want people to take away from the film?
I think there’s a few messages that people can take away from the movie. I also think, you know, that’s a wonderful thing I think about entertainment, and movies, and books that we read. You know we all have different interpretations of it, so I think the cultural aspect is something that is very cool. I love that. And I also think that they did a tremendous job of representing our culture in a way that makes us proud. And first there was a little bit of hesitance, from all of us by the way, but it was quickly quelled when I sat with John Lasseter and our filmmakers and they had taken me through their process.
So by the time the script got to me, they’d already done years of research in going to all the different islands, and speaking with the high chiefs and all the villages and trying to understand the cultures, which comes out in the authenticity. I think, of the writing. So the takeaway would be showcasing our culture, and seeing that there’s the wonderful quality of our culture, and there’s a fierceness to our culture too, as well, and a tremendous pride.
Also too I think there’s a great takeaway that speaks to all cultures, ages, and religions, and everything else that our world has – is. We have this little voice inside of us, and to always make sure that we got to follow that voice, and listen to the voice – a gut intuition, and have that kind of faith, not necessarily religious faith, but faith that there is more. And you can be more. Kind of relevant today, right? So… I would say that.
So beside the eyebrows, what else do you see in Maui that’s you?
Yeah, there was a good amount that was infused,in Maui. I think that there’s a part of Maui that I can appreciate, because it’s my DNA. I share that with him as there’s a fun side to Maui and a need to keep things and a desire to keep things fun, and keep them a little bit on the lighter side. Not quick to show the vulnerability and not quick to go down that route. So, I would say that. Yeah. And some bravado, a lot of bravado, because you can mask a lot with bravado.
Did they just animate you, or did you have to put on the costume for them to get the facial expressions and body movements?
Yeah, so it’s a really cool process for those of you who don’t know. There’s multiple cameras in the room as you’re sitting in the studio and you’re going through these lines and your facial expressions will then inform the animators on the facial expressions of Maui. So, if I say “You can’t do that!” my eyebrows go up, then that will inform the animators, compared to “You can’t do that”. So there’s all these really amazing unique little things that take place that they capture that informs the animation. And what I found was in the animation, especially when you’re on the ocean, and it is the ocean, it’s outside and it’s mother nature it becomes really, really beautiful, and gorgeous.
At one point one of the bloggers was trying to ask a question but couldn’t quite get it out, being a huge fan of his, but instead in movement, which made Dwayne Johnson blush. The entire room burst out laughing! This went on for a few minutes, so much so that he had to pause the interview to grab a quick napkin to wipe himself with. Who knew that The Rock was so easily embarrassed and a group of 25 bloggers would make him blush! It was definitely an experience I will never forget.
Then of course you have that moment when The Rock shares a picture of us on his Instagram page! Pretty cool, huh?!
Had the distinct honor to sit and chop up multiple topics with 25 Mommy Bloggers. These insightful lovely ladies had me BLUSHING & SWEATING. Literally had to stop the interview for a min to get napkins to wipe the sweat off my head and neck. We all laughed like crazy and I luv’d every minute. Great time and great chat! #MOANA #GlobalPressJunket #25MommyBloggers #1SweatyRock
As you can see we had a wonderful interview with Dwayne Johnson and I hope that you all loved his performance as Maui as much as we did!
Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows exactly why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho) meets the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.
Like MOANA on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/disneymoana
Follow MOANA on Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneymoana
Follow Disney Animation on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/disneyanimation/
Visit Disney Animation on Tumblr: http://disneyanimation.tumblr.com/
Visit the official MOANA website here: http://movies.disney.com/moana
Make sure to head to theaters on November 23rd and set sail with MOANA!