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Dwayne Johnson Was Told Playing Gay Would 'Ruin' His Acting Career

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Dwayne Johnson wasn't afraid to play gay in the early days of his career — and he's still proud to let everyone know about it!

Last month, Out celebrated its 30th anniversary, a milestone occasion for any print/online publication, especially one serving the LGBTQ+ community. To honor the occasion, former Out editor and D23 Inside Disney Podcast host Jeffrey R Epstein took to Twitter to share some of the favorite projects he wrote during his tenure. 

One of those stories was a March 2005 profile and cover story on the man, the myth, and the legend himself, Dwayne Johnson, who was more popularly known back then by the nickname he used when he was a Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment personality, "The Rock."

The cover story was timed to the release of the 2005 crime-comedy film Be Cool, in which Johnson starred alongside an ensemble cast that included John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer, Andre Benjamin, Steven Tyler, Robert Pastorelli, Christina Milian, Harvey Keitel, and Danny DeVito. The film was one of the earlier projects Johnson took on in his transition from professional WWE wrestler to working actor, and in it, he plays a character named Eliot Wilhelm, a gay bodyguard who (like Johnson IRL) had dreams of making a name for himself in the film industry. 

Though the movie was one of the stepping stones that helped Johnson become one of the most sought-after box office stars in Hollywood today, there were some folks in the industry who advised him not to take it on, especially since the climate was so much different (and homophobic) for LGBTQ+ people back in those days.

Luckily, a character's sexuality didn't bother Johnson, and he was more than happy to let everyone know that he was proud to take it on, despite the hateful words of "advice" he got from insiders at the time.

"Jeff, thanks man so much for these very kind words. I always say, 'it’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice,'" Johnson said, replying to Epstein's tweet. "I was told back then (by a few influential folks) that playing a gay man would 'ruin my career.' I said, 'hold my tequila and f*ck off.' Nicely of course."

Johnson would later go on to star in a whole bunch of different, best-selling, action-packed films that include Gridiron Gang, the Fast & Furious franchise, Jungle Cruise, Skyscraper, Hercules, Baywatch, Black Adam and so much more, so it's a good thing he didn't let homophobia stop him from doing his job as an actor! 

RELATED | Jack Whitehall & Dwayne Johnson Reflect on Gay Jungle Cruise Moment

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