Between his professional wrestling, movie, and now TV career, Dwayne Johnson probably gets his fair share of fan mail—but it usually doesn’t come from legends like Steven Spielberg.
In an interview for Esquire’s August issue, the star of San Andreas and HBO’s new series, Ballers, describes being awestruck when a flattering note from the famed director arrived at his door.
“About three weeks ago, I’m here at the house and I get a letter—‘Been enjoying your movies over the years. Very entertaining. I feel like I’ve really gotten to know you over the years, most recently after watching you host Saturday Night Live. Great job. You continue to go for it. Proud of your work and look forward to meeting you. Steven Spielberg,’” Johnson told the magazine. “It took me back to being just like a kid. I was so blown away.”
Johnson had previously shared an Instagram photo showing the letter and his elated reaction.
“Grinnin’ now like a big ass kid,” he wrote at the time, adding, “THANK YOU STEVEN SPIELBERG for these inspiring and motivating words in your letter and cheers to making sure I’m always listening to that little voice in my gut.”
Grinnin' now like a big ass kid… When I was 8yrs old I sat front row to see a sold out INDIANA JONES in its opening weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. I walked out of that theater excited and wanted to be "Indy".. cool, funny, charming with the ladies and kickin' ass w/ a smile. But at 8yrs old I was also perfectly content playing w/ my Star Wars figures and sneaking off listening to Richard Pryor concerts. Throughout the years I've credited this man and his movies as being my greatest inspiration in becoming an actor and wanting to always make "his kind" of movies – entertaining, quality and above all else.. heart. Just receiving this personal letter from him and its not only made me incredibly humbled and grateful, but it's also brought me back to being that 8yr old boy again who not only loves movies, but I now get to make the movies I love and enjoy the impact they have on others. THANK YOU STEVEN SPIELBERG for these inspiring and motivating words in your letter and cheers to making sure I'm always listening to that little voice in my gut. #CoolestGiftEver #BigAss8yrOldKid #SpielbergInspired
Johnson also spoke to Esquire about transitioning from wrestling to Hollywood, revealing that he tapped into the same discipline he learned as an athlete.
“I never quite understood why if you’re successful in something, and then you want to make the transition to Hollywood, why wouldn’t you apply the same discipline and processes that you did with wrestling and football?” he said. “Which meant: surround myself with great acting coaches; definitely get a good director; I need great actors around me to help me raise my game; I don’t know what the f–k I’m doing. I need great acting coaches, I need good directors, I need help. I have been told I have potential. I think I do. Let’s give it a go.”
The August issue of Esquire hits newsstands July 7. For more from Johnson’s interview, head to the magazine’s website.