Dwayne Johnson Walks Out of Movie One Week Before Filming, “I Can’t Do This”

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Dwayne Johnson shocked in Jumanji

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Dwayne Johnson is one of the most recognizable faces in film. But even the Hollywood heavyweight can get cold feet, as happened when the former wrestler walked out of a movie one week before filming.

Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Strasmore in 'Ballers'
Credit: HBO

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Dwayne Johnson Movies

Back in 2001, Dwayne Johson made his mainstream movie debut in The Mummy Returns. The sequel to The Mummy (1999) was a huge score for the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) star, and a year later, Johnson would headline his first feature film with The Scorpion King (2002), where he played the eponymous character.

His role in The Scorpion King broke the record for the highest-paid leading actor in a debut film, and since the offers have not stopped coming. From his family-friendly adventure movies like Race to Witch Mountain (2009) and Tooth Fairy (2010) to his more mature action-packed films like Fast Five (2011) and San Andreas (2015), Johnson is known to be a versatile screen actor.

Dwayne Johnson in Rampage
Credit: Warner Bros.

His reputation took a blow in late 2022, though, when Black Adam (2022) dramatically bombed at the box office. Prior to James Gunn and Peter Safran’s takeover of DC Studios, Johnson’s Black Adam was pitched as the savior of the DC Extended Universe, and with the celebrated actor leading the ship, it looked set to dominate.

That didn’t happen, and Black Adam ended its theatrical run with a lukewarm $393 million. Despite bringing Henry Cavill’s Superman back into the fray, the future of Black Adam would be crushed by the new leadership Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav implemented. The anti-hero was also left out of proceedings when James Gunn detailed the first wave of his DC Universe (DCU) plan back in January.

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam
Credit: Warner Bros.

Following Black Adam, and the subsequent reports of him leaking financial information to prove the DC movie’s apparent success, Johnson was seemingly out of favor with Hollywood. That is until he announced his joint venture with The Walt Disney Company to bring the world of Moana (2016) to live-action and his surprise return in Fast X (2023).

The former WWF (now WWE) star will next appear in Amazon Studios’ Red One (2023) alongside Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avengers, Avengers: Endgame) and will reportedly make history as the highest-paid actor in Hollywood.

While fans of Johnson have Red One and Moana to look forward to, as well as his future appearances as Luke Hobbs in the Fast & Furious franchise, 10 years ago, the actor walked out of a movie just one week before filming.

Moana (Auliʻi Cravalho) and Maui (Dwayne Johnson) holding an oar
Credit: Disney

Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain (2013) starred Johnson alongside fellow action and comedy actor Mark Wahlberg. But shortly before filming, Bay said Johnson had dropped out. “‘He literally quit the week before. And he goes, ‘I can’t do this,'” Bay said (via FandomWire).

“’I’m like, ‘Dwayne, you are my secret weapon on this movie.’ And I wrote him this long letter of all the actors I worked with who said they were scared to do something and how it turned out,'” said Bay. “‘And he goes, ‘OK. OK. Alright.’ He was brilliant in that movie, and it really is an amazing performance.'”

Pain and Gain went on to gross $86 million at the box office, which is relatively small considering the talent involved. But, one could hazard a guess at how much smaller it may have been without Johnson on board.

Dwayne Johnson looking to the right
Credit: ABC

Related: Dwayne Johnson’s Next Movie Will Earn Him the Highest Salary in Filmmaking History

As for the live-action adaptation of Moana, there is no official news yet on the release date or casting (even if this trailer starring Zendaya and Johnson did recently go viral), but all signs point to the Disney remake surfacing sometime in 2025.

How many Dwayne Johnson movies have you seen? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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