ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may play a tough guy onscreen, but he’s an ol’ softy when it comes to his new Disney animated epic Moana.
Johnson voices Maui, the great ocean demigod, who helps fearless Polynesian princess Moana as she embarks on a journey to save her island home from a terrible curse. People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” admits that he couldn’t help getting emotional while watching it.
“I have never cried consistently…through a movie more than I have with this movie,” Johnson said on ABC’s Good Morning America. “Just to be clear, they’re all manly tears, though.”
The look for his onscreen character, down to his muscles, tattoos and hair, was actually based on Johnson’s grandfather.
“He looked like that,” Johnson said. “He was a Samoan high chief who had high chief tattoos all over his body,” and he was a wrestler just like Johnson as well.
A lot of Johnson’s real-life experiences and parts of his own story were reflected in this movie as well.
“I played football, didn’t make it. Failed at that. There were a lot of failures that Maui has had to go through as well,” Johnson said.
What Johnson said he found particularly relevant and empowering was having a young girl drive the story. He told ABC News’ Nick Watt that he loves this new version of a female hero.
“There is no love interest. And there’s no damsel in distress character in here,” Johnson said. “She represents so many 15, 16-year-old girls out there.”
The heroine, Johnson said, reminds him of his own 15-year-old daughter Simone, admitting that she’s “ambitious … Wants to tackle the world — loving tapping into her own identity. Putting me in my place.”
Moana will be in theaters on November 23 from Disney, the parent company of ABC News.
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