'Rampage': Dwayne Johnson Wants Audiences to Leave the Theater "Floating"
"When they leave the theater floating, they’re more apt to talk about it, and I think the things they should talk about are the care and preservation of gorillas, who are dangerously endangered," said the actor.
At the film premiere for his upcoming film Rampage, Dwayne Johnson hoped audiences would not only have a good time, but also gain a greater appreciation for wildlife and animal conservation. "I think what people can take away from this film is to go and have fun and to leave the theater floating," he told The Hollywood Reporter during the film's premiere Wednesday night at the Microsoft Theater. "When they leave the theater floating, they’re more apt to talk about it, and I think the things they should talk about are the care and preservation of gorillas, who are dangerously endangered."
Johnson expressed his love of animals and how valuable of an experience it was working alongside gorillas for the film. "Aside from making a movie that’s big and fun, for me, I hope audiences take away a greater understanding and education about animals, and especially gorillas."
Director Brad Peyton, who also directoed Johnson in San Andreas, shared his thoughts on working with the action star: “I love working with Dwayne. He’s a very collaborative guy, easy to kind of meld minds with him. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we work really well together," he said. "It was the biggest thing I’ve ever done."
Peyton's love of the video game Rampage (which the film was loosely based on) propelled him into creating the movie. "What drew me to the film was that I was a fan of the video games, I knew the video games, but also there was a lot of freedom to kind of do my own thing. I thought it was really important to sneak in little messages about anti-poaching and animal cruelty, so there’s something substantial there."
Oscar-nominated actress Naomie Harris said she was particularly excited to be a part of a film that was more adventurous and entertaining than her previous projects. "I wanted to do something more light-hearted. I’ve done quite a lot of intense projects, and it was just really nice to get to do a film where I really had fun."
Harris also recalled a moment on set between herself and co-star Malin Akerman during an intense standoff between the two characters. "An experience I’ll never forget is the scene where I was supposed to punch one of the baddies in the film — Akerman — and I really misjudged the distance between us and ended up actually punching her. I feel guilty about it to this day," she laughed. "It is one of the hazards of acting."
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Agent Russell, recalled acting with Johnson on set. “I think the moment I remember was when we had a stunt, Dwayne and I, and he landed on me from quite far away, full force, and I pretty much thought I was dead. I survived it. And he laughed. He landed on me, didn’t get off, and laughed. And I thought I was dying."
"Ultimately, I really related to doing a movie thematically that was about trust," added Peyton, who believes the movie will draw audiences in because of its emotional component, "and I kind of got to do that with this really original thing where this man and creature have a best friend relationship. I want audiences to be entertained and have a good time. I try to emotionally engage you a way where you will want to see this film multiple times — because there’s real heart to it, there’s real emotion to it. It never overtakes the entertainment, but it’s what I look for as a filmmaker and an audience member.”
Rampage hits theaters April 13.