Over the past decade Dwayne Johnson has quickly become one of Hollywood's hardest working – and highest paid – actors, appearing in box offices hits such as; Furious 7, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and The Mummy Returns. While those films have their part in turning the 46-year-old actor into a household name, The Rock's newest role in The King is one that appears to be extremely personal for the film star due to his Polynesian heritage. In the new venture with Warner Bros., Johnson will step into the role of the legendary Kamehameha I in The King. The gig is something that has been a dream of the entertainer's for nearly two decades, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The legacy of King Kamehameha has remained a hugely important part of Polynesian culture for several centuries. The ruler, notably known as the founder and first ruler of the kingdom of Hawaii, is responsible for unification of the islands, which may have otherwise been torn apart by competing western interests, according to GoHawaii.com. The website notes that during his rule, Kamehameha The Great fought many battles to protect Hawaii during the 1790s and even took steps to ensure the the islands remained united after his death in 1819.
The forthcoming film is said to be "a sweeping historical epic based on the true life story of Kamehameha, who fulfilled the prophecy that surrounded his fabled life since birth," according to THR.
Upon the announcement of his casting, Johnson took to Instagram to gush about stepping into the role, sharing screenshot of the news story posted by Deadline. He opened his caption with the phrase "KA LA HIKI OLA," which translates as “the dawning of a new day,” and went on to share his gratitude while giving some background on the Hawaiian king. In the post, Johnson explained:
"Dawning of a new day with hope and promise. Humbled & grateful to begin this once in a lifetime journey. KING KAMEHAMEHA - the legendary King was the first to unite the warring Hawaiian islands — fulfilling the prophecy that surrounded his fabled life since birth and creating the powerful & spiritual 50th state as we know it today."
Revealing that bringing Kamehameha I to life is a dream come true, the former WWE star continued:
"From the day I began my Hollywood career (2001), my dream was to bring this legacy to life. In Polynesian culture we have a belief, that something isn’t done when it’s ready... it’s done when it’s right. The time is right. The one who walks alone. #Culture #History #Mana #TheKing #KAMEHAMEHA"
Johnson has continuously honored his heritage throughout his career. In 2016, he had a Hawaiian Kahu, or priest, bless the cast and crew as they began filming scenes for Jumanji in Honolulu. The entertainer also stepped into the animated role of Maui in the film Moana, which focused on a Polynesian adventurer princess, and the demigod who accompanies her on her travels. Entertainment Weekly notes that Johnson got emotional while speaking about the role at a Disney Expo in Aug. 2015, explaining, "This is my heritage. I am proudly half-Samoan and half-black."
It goes without saying that Johnson's talent allows him to play any role he sets out to conquer. However, the passion he has for his forthcoming role in The King could prove to make the film one of his best yet.