Unofficial king of the known universe Dwayne Johnson is officially set to play Hawaiian king Kamehameha I in the historical epic, The King. The film—which will be helmed by Back to the Future and Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis—set off a bit of a bidding war thanks to the script from Braveheart writer Randall Wallace and Johnson’s proven ability to lift blockbuster after blockbuster upon his frighteningly wide shoulders.
The project—which eventually landed in the hands of New Line Cinemas and Warner Bros.—is an intensely personal one for the action star. Deadline notes that Johnson expressed a desire to play this role on-set of The Mummy Returns, the movie that turned the actor into a horrific CGI crab monster but also launched The Rock from the wrestling ring into superstardom. Johnson is of Polynesian descent; his maternal grandfather, “High Chief” Peter Maiva, pioneered pro wrestling in Hawaii and is one of the patriarchs of the wide-spread Anoa’i wrestling family. Anyone who has seen Johnson do literally anything since 2003 has glimpsed the massive tattoo covering his shoulder and chest, which tells the story of his Polynesian background, spanning Samoa, New Zealand, and Hawaii.
The plan right now is for The King to head into production in 2020. Johnson has a lot on his plate; the actor is currently in Hawaii being delightful as shit with Emily Blunt on the set of Disney’s Jungle Cruise and still has to film the Fast & The Furious spin-off Hobbs and Shaw as well as the announced Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle sequel. At some point, he will also have to find the time to play DC Comics villain Black Adam for Warner Bros.’ DCEU. (Which producer Hiram Garcia told us is not only “definitely happening”, but currently has a “kick ass” script.)
It’s good to be The King.