Does The Rock Know How To Fly A Helicopter? His 'San Andreas' Character Sure Makes It Look Easy
In a certain natural disaster-based action film debuting on May 29, you might have noticed something interesting. San Andreas stars Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock as a helicopter pilot, who reunites with his estranged ex when their daughter is plunged into peril after a gigantic earthquake hits the West Coast. The film features lots of scenes of Johnson flying through rubble and rescuing people with his helicopter and — I'm sorry, The Rock is flying a helicopter? Does The Rock know how to fly a helicopter, or is that just some really convincing acting? The answer to that question falls squarely into the latter category. Johnson does not appear to have any sort of pilot license to brag.
The movie magic was created via stunt doubles and actual helicopter pilots, who were among the many people that Johnson shadowed to prepare for the role:
The difference was actually participating in something that I had never participated in before, spending time with first responders, spending time with the LAFD (Los Angeles Fire Department) Search and Rescue pilots operating a helicopter, participating again in deep dives and the drill down processes with these guys and girls for a pretty good amount of time. That was a different part for me. It was exercising a different muscle that I hadn’t before. I’ve played characters like this where I’m pretty proficient, and I hope to be taking care of business, whatever that business is. But in this case, it was very different than anything I had experienced before. I spent a lot of time here in L.A. and a lot of time in Australia with those men and women.
So, basically, if a giant earthquake has hit your side of the country, then Johnson is not the actor that you want to call. While I'm sure he has picked up enough knowledge to at least be able to identify some of the buttons inside a helicopter, he's far from certified and probably can't actually fly a helicopter without help, let alone legally. Still, you'd never be able to tell he had the slightest bit of inexperience prior to filming with how naturally he embodies his character and how easily the fake-flying of a helicopter seems to come to him in the film. The Rock is so good at acting that we all genuinely left that theater wondering if he had ever flown a helicopter before.
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