Dwayne Johnson is no stranger to playing legendary roles from Polynesian culture. After all, the prolific actor starred in Disney's highly-successful animated film Moana as Maui, the trickster god of Polynesian mythology who, as legend would have it, created the Pacific Islands. Now, the Samoan actor is turning his attention to Hawaiian history.
Deadline reports that the actor will star as Hawaiian King Kamehameha in the The King, from Warner Bros. and New Line, who won an intense bidding war for the film. Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis is on-board to helm the film, with a script written by Randall Wallace, who previously wrote the Oscar-winning film, Braveheart. On top of that, the movie will be produced by Johnson's own production company, Seven Bucks Production.
It's said that the film is meant to be a "visceral, historical epic" that will tell the story of the founder and first monarch of the Hawaiian Islands, King Kamehameha, in the late 1700s.
"Kamehameha is the legendary king who was the first to unite the warring Hawaiian islands, which fulfilled the prophecy that surrounded his fabled life since birth," Deadline's report reads. "He took control of Hawaii’s destiny, and gave the islanders leverage in advancing the culture in trading with the foreign ships from Europe that began showing up on the shores of islands that must have seemed like paradise, albeit a sometimes dangerous one as explorers like Simon Metcalfe and Captain James Cook discovered before Kamehameha forcibly unified the islands."
According to Deadline, the role of Kamehameha is one that has been on Dwayne Johnson's radar for a very, very long time. The actor has always been one to embrace his Polynesian roots, as evidenced by his famous tribal tattoo that tells the story of his path. Hawaii is also a place that means a lot to the actor, given that this is one of the places where he grew up, and where he and his mother were, at a young age, evicted. Since reaching stardom, Johnson has often returned to Hawaii to film such movies as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Jungle Cruise.
When the project was in the early stages of development in 2017, it was blessed by a Hawaiian Kahu priest -- meaning that The King now has the approbation of the islands and her people. While there is no release date yet, the film is expected to shoot in 2020.
Johnson's latest film, Skyscraper, was released in theaters this summer. The actor is currently busy filming Disney's themed-ride-based period piece, Jungle Cruise. On top of starring in HBO's Ballers, the actor is also set to star in Hobbs and Shaw, as well as the DC Extended Universe film Black Adam.