Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson is the heavyweight wrestler-turned-actor who’s starring in some of the year’s biggest blockbusters.
In an interview with ABC News’ Sara Haines, Johnson, 43, opened up about “Ballers,” the HBO series in which he stars and also produces.
Johnson plays Spencer Strasmore, a retired NFL star who is trying to reinvent himself as a suave financial guru for current football players.
He told Haines why he was drawn to the character.
“It is such a wish fulfillment role for me, because I -- literally, the life that Spencer Strasmore has is the life that I wanted. When I was 15 years old, I wanted to be a pro football player,” he said.
When viewers first meet Strasmore, he looks great but has less than $200 in the bank.
“Therein lies that great, I think -- juxtaposition, like a lot of these guys have. I was one of them, where you don't have any money, but you look like a million dollars,” Johnson said.
Johnson played football at the University of Miami. He never made it into the NFL, but signed instead with the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders.
“It was a defining time for me because I was – making three hundred bucks a week Canadian. Living on, like, SpaghettiOs,” he said.
Johnson was cut from the team after two months. He decided to build his body and joined the WWE, becoming one of the most successful wrestlers ever.
Asked how he rose to the top in acting, Johnson said he never forgot to work hard.
“Just because you're successful at something doesn’t mean that your fans are going to follow you, doesn't mean that the fans are going to go to the box office, go see your movies, watch your TV show … you’ve got to put in the work,” he said.
Johnson, who has a daughter with ex Dany Garcia, starred in the hit films “San Andreas” and “Furious 7” this year. Despite all his many successes, he said his proudest accomplishment was “becoming a daddy.”