Tres Dean is a writer whose words can be found at GQ, Paste, Syfy, Geek.com, IGN, and more. He writes about shoes, geeky things, pop culture, and now he’s writing about The Rock in his very first book. For Your Consideration: The Rock from Quirk Books is a collection of essays exploring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s career, his best quotes, his best (and not so best) movies, and more. Johnson is a serious guy that doesn’t take himself too seriously, and Dean’s book is all about showing the many facets of his character and characters. Featuring illustrations by Ben Mounsey-Wood, For Your Consideration: The Rock is an amusing romp that might just make you a fan if you weren’t one already. Maybe you’ll even become a professional Rock Liker like Dean himself.
When did your appreciation of The Rock begin and why? When did it go from general obsession to “Professional Liker” status and where, along that path, did the idea for this book evolve?
My appreciation of The Rock began on my birthday weekend in 2011 when I saw Fast Five in theaters for the first time and instantly recognized it as one of the great works of modern American cinema, largely thanks to the contributions of Dwayne Johnson. From then on out I pretty much always made the time to see any movie he was in while it was in theaters. I went pro as a Rock Liker in 2018 when I pitched a weird article to my editor at Geek.com about things I wanted to see The Rock fight in his next movies. He ended up seeing it, reading it, and talking about how much he liked it on Twitter which he like, SUPER did not have to do. But I figured it was a sign that I was pretty okay at talking about The Rock, so over the next few months I tried writing about him some more.
Eventually, an editor from Quirk Books reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in developing a book about him with her. It was kind of a no-brainer so we worked out what the book would be over the next few months, presented the pitch to Quirk (it had since become a series called FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION that different writers would be involved in with each installment [Editor’s Note: Check out our review of FYC: Keanu Reeves!], and soon after that, it got picked up!
Which of Dwayne Johnson’s movies have you seen the most? How many times is that?
Oh god, I literally couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Fast Five. A dozen at LEAST. I’ve found Central Intelligence weirdly rewatchable, though. There’s a cameo halfway through during the airport scene that fully brings me to tears I’m laughing so hard.
Why do you hate Tooth Fairy so?
Because it hurt me, it hurt me in my brain and in my heart and in my soul.
Last month, Johnson revealed concept art and a a 2021 release date for the DC movie, Black Adam, a role he’s dreamed of playing that is now reality. What are your hopes and dreams for this film?
Honestly my hopes and dreams for Black Adam are that it isn’t a bad movie. That’s it. That’s all I want. I do think it’d be rad to see The Rock go full antihero mode because even his role as Hobbs in the F&F world has been sanded down to typical charming The Rock business and that’s a shame! He’s so good as a humorless, arrogant muscle boy and I’d love to see him go back to that.
I see that you write a lot about shoes. If The Rock were a shoe, what shoe would he be?
Setting aside the easy answer, that being the Under Armour Project Rock 1, I think he’d be a Nike Air More Uptempo. It’s a big, thick shoe for a big, thick boy (Dwayne) but the reason I actually think it’s a great fit is because of a quote from sneaker writer/media host Brendan Dunne (who I believe was paraphrasing designer Tinker Hatfield). He’s talked about how the design of the Uptempo is something that you can only do once – the lettering on the side has been applied to other sneakers to pay homage to the shoe but it never quite works. Similarly, I think The Rock is a once-in-a-generation talent. Nobody will ever be able to do what he’s done in the way he’s done it for the rest of time, and efforts to replicate his particular brand of charisma, cinema, or career path will never work.
What is your ideal scenario for hanging out with Johnson for a day? What would your itinerary look like?
We gotta start out at the gym — this is the real essential part, actually. Absolute pipe dream bucket list goal in life is to work out with The Rock. After that, though? I’d love to just grab sushi and talk, pick the dude’s brain, maybe talk about documentaries (he’s a big documentary guy) or Johnny Cash or something. That’s it, really. I’d just love to talk to the guy for a little while.
You recently wrote about The Rock needing to take a risk, relinquish control of his film projects, and do something outside of his comfort zone. Do you really believe this is the path to remaining relevant and idealized by adoring fans like yourself? Considering the many projects he’s involved in, do you think he could find the same level of success and influence doing something outside of Hollywood?
I don’t necessarily think it’s a universally applicable piece of advice for any and all actors, but I do think that history has shown us that any star who has been at the top for a decade or more often needs to find ways to adjust, course-correct, or even fully reinvent themselves as their careers go on. And I do think that box office numbers indicate that the general public is slowly growing a little tired of watching the same Dwayne Johnson action movie twice a year. Some experimentation and surrendering of creative control as Schwarzenegger did when working with directors like John McTiernan and Paul Verhoeven would do him well.
Johnson is a walking paradox: the persona that launched him to fame epitomizes toxic masculinity and his buff, handsome image still seemingly represents these ideals, but, as you note in the book, he strives to speak up about the issues of toxic masculinity that plague our society, and practices what he preaches (what’s not to love about his nail polish moments with his little darlings). You write that his approach colours our perceptions of masculinity and sets a standard for actors to come. Are you seeing examples of this influence yet?
I think it might be a little bit too early for the full effect of his influence to become evident, but I do think it’s coming. He’s far from the only actor or male public figure working to make this the new normal. It’s a generational shift. I think it’d be interesting to revisit this question in five years, ten years even and see what the top stars in the genre look like both onscreen and off. I don’t know if it’ll be entirely thanks to him (saying that would be selling a LOT of people short) but it’ll be satisfying to know that he played a part in making it happen.
Meet us back here in five to ten years so that we can revisit this question. And to see if Dean has gotten himself a Rock tattoo yet. “Don’t think I haven’t considered it. I’m a big American Traditional fan and I’ve thought about getting a bull to commemorate the book.”
For Your Consideration: The Rock is available now.