The goal of the Hero’s Quest, Joseph Campbell tells us, is to become a mature man, fully realized as a unique individual, able to take on the mantle of Father/King, and equipped to rule. He has also, through achievement of a great task, become so comfortable in his masculinity that he can openly embrace the feminine in himself and relate with ease to women, neither fearing them nor needing to dominate them.
Of all the heroes out there, there is one who embodies all these qualities effortlessly and with joy, both in real life and in the roles he plays in movies: Dwayne Johnson, a/k/a “The Rock.” Standing well over 6 feet tall and built like a tank, Johnson has proved himself a man many times: he won a national championship as a college football player and has won 17 world championships as a professional wrestler. Not surprisingly, when he began acting in films, he was cast in heroic roles: demigods, warriors, football players, secret service agents, cops, etc.
Portrait of a Hero
Yet The Rock refuses to be limited to playing such masculine avatars. He has played characters who help kids achieve their own heroic goals in several Disney productions, and in 2010 he donned a pink ballet dress and slippers and wings to play the title role in Tooth Fairy.
Portrait of a Man Comfortable with his Feminine Side
He also plays guitar and sings, and recently won against Jimmy Fallon on Lip Sync Battle by lip-synching to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and then donning the iconic white suit and imitating John Travolta’s dance moves to “Stayin’ Alive.”
In his public appearances, he always has on a big grin and a twinkle in his eye. When Ellen Degeneres has him on a guest, he tops every quip she makes with an even funnier one. He’s having fun being himself, even when he pokes fun at himself. And he adores his mother, as this story shows.
He obviously loves kids (he has a daughter of his own). In addition to playing “helper” roles in movies oriented to children, he has founded a charity to help at-risk and terminally ill children. Nowadays he regularly wins “Teen Choice” and “Kids Choice” awards for favorite actor. I can’t think of a better role model for them.