Dwayne Johnson hosted Saturday Night Live twice as “The Rock” and once under his given name. Entertainment Weekly recalls that “The Rock” was best known as a wrestler during his SNL debut in 2000. When he last hosted in 2009, he’d established himself as a film actor.
Six years later, Johnson is again poised to host SNL to promote a new movie. This time, it’s the much-anticipated Furious 7, which was delayed by nine months because of the sudden death of Paul Walker in November, 2013. The final cut of Furious 7 features scenes shot by Walker himself and those technically enhanced or featuring one of Walker’s two younger brothers.
Director James Wan told Reuters that Walker’s sudden death put the filmmakers in a truly unique situation.
“It was a giant puzzle that was very hard to wrap your head around. No one has faced anything as unprecedented as this. I couldn’t just pick up the phone and say ‘What did you do when this happened to you?'”
The film cost $190 million and is poised for a $115 million debut weekend April 3.
Dwayne Johnson told Today on Wednesday that the film’s release gives him the chance to remember his friend.
“I couldn’t wait to talk about [the movie] because it’s an opportunity to talk about Paul. I miss him, I love him… It was an opportunity for us to try and find a balance between entertaining the audience but also paying a respectful tribute to him.”
Before Furious 7 hits screens, Johnson is enduring long days prepping for his Saturday Night Live gig. He’s keep fans up-to-date on his activities on Twitter and Instagram, emphasizing the hours he’s putting in to put on a good show.
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) March 27, 2015
Up very late rehearsing. Turns out 4am is an excellent time to sing and wake up hotel guests. We have… https://t.co/kfNToMLlfx
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) March 28, 2015
In a series of promos with Saturday Night Live cast member Bobby Moynihan, Johnson revealed his porn name (“Dusty Summit,” since his first pet was Dusty and he grew up on Summit street — Moynihan said his name would be “Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson”) and his new catchphrase. Johnson bellowed out the phrase in true WWE fashion.
“If you belieeeeeve my mutual funds are up 13 percent!!”
Saturday Night Live airs on NBC.
[Dwayne Johnson image courtesy of Getty]