The Rock spoke with Esquire for a new interview talking about his film and wrestling careers and more. Check out the highlights:
On the accuracy of Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler: “It’s very accurate. I would do blade jobs. I get a call once from the WWE, saying, ‘Vince [McMahon] would like to see you in Stamford.’ I went to his office and he says, ‘I really think you have a lot of potential, but you’re not ready for the WWE. You should go to Memphis, Tennessee. That’s where I want you to learn the business.’ And as I was leaving, he said, ‘You keep working hard, but don’t go down there and cut your f–king forehead with razor blades, you understand me?’ n the ’60s and ’70s and early ’80s, the trainers would grind you and eventually they would break something—they would break an ankle in ways that it would heal. It was just the way of the business, to ensure that you learned respect for wrestling. It was crazy. My dad [Rocky Johnson, a WWE Hall of Fame grappler] didn’t break anything on me, but he grinded me out every day for months.”
On acting compared to wrestling: “Wrestling is intimate. You can reach out and touch the wrestlers. I don’t get that connection in movies, but the impact is so much greater. You’re able to craft a longer career in movies. In wrestling, there’s a shelf life, and some wrestlers don’t pay attention to the shelf life. Mickey Rourke’s character in The Wrestler—that was my dad, that was my uncles, that was so many members of my family. It was the only thing they knew. And then they would end up wrestling for a hundred bucks, go to autograph signings for two hundred bucks.”
On the origins of “jabroni”: “When I was a kid, it was an inside term that guys would use. When wrestlers wanted to have a private conversation when fans were present, they would start talking carny because they used to wrestle in carnivals. I thought it was so cool. Jabroni was a word that was always used in the derogatory sense. Oh, this jabroni, that jabroni. But the Iron Sheik was famous for saying the word constantly backstage.Jabroni, jabroni, jabroni. Around 1998, I thought, Why can’t I say it on TV? So I started saying it publicly, but the Iron Sheik was known for it.”
On his personal life: “I’ve lived with my longtime girlfriend, Lauren Hashian, going on, like, eight, nine years now. She’s a singer-songwriter. We spend a lot of time with my daughter in Florida, Simone, who’s 13. We do these stories and we talk so much about the business end, the success end, but then Lauren isn’t mentioned and my daughter isn’t mentioned. I always like making sure we find the balance and my home life is in there and Lauren Hashian is in there and my daughter is in there.”
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