Then his ex-wife, Dany, suggested that Johnson put himself in the shoes of his fans. The two went to a restaurant that night, and Johnson imagined that the patron at the next table was him, and he was a wrestling fanatic.
"I realized that that fan would remember for the rest of his life getting an autograph or a picture, and all it takes is three seconds of kindness," Johnson says. "Now when I see an actor who won't take that moment, it (ticks) me off."
Mountain co-star Carla Gugino believes that exercise helped make him a star. "There aren't many people I've worked with who appreciate where they are more than Dwayne, and people can sense when you're genuine," she says. "I think that's why he's so popular with kids. They think of him as their buddy."
Not that Johnson is ready to limit himself to juvenile fare. He says he's considering a couple of romantic comedies and a film similar in tone to "No Country for Old Men."
And he still loves performing live, having just hosted "Saturday Night Live."
But his sights are set higher.
"Maybe I'll give Broadway a try," he says. "But you know what would be great? Hosting the Oscars. I promise you, that would be a show no one forgot."