Dwayne Johnson will soon be making his way to Netflix!
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix has secured the rights to a new project starring Dwayne Johnson called John Henry and the Statesmen.
The upcoming film, which is based off of an original pitch by Tom Wheeler (The Lego Ninja Movie, Puss In Boots), will also find Johnson teaming back up with director Jake Kasdan who helmed the Johnson-led box office smash hit, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
The film centers around an ensemble cast comprised of incredibly popular figures from folklore and legend.
Johnson, who will both star in and produce the film, is set to play John Henry himself in the upcoming film — a character described as a “mythic African-American steel-driver from American folklore.”
For those that need a bit of a refresher, the story of John Henry depicts the legendary character as a man who worked in railroad construction.
He was tasked with hammering steel drills into rock to make holes for the explosives that would blast through rock to make way for the construction of rail road tunnels. Henry is best know for winning a steel-driving race while up against a steam-powered rock drilling machine.
Of particular importance is that American folklore has traditionally portrayed John Henry as a dark-skinned black man.
Though Johnson himself is mixed race (his mother is samoan and his father is black), his casting in the role has certainly raised a few eyebrows.
It doesn’t seem as though Johnson has addressed the concern yet. But he did take to Instagram to share a teaser for the upcoming project and also to express his excitement over being able to portray a character he’s looked up to his whole life.
“Inspired to bring to life one of my childhood heroes, John Henry in John Henry & the Statesmen. In this movie, I’ll lead an ensemble of the most popular folklore figures and legends from different cultures around the world,” wrote Johnson. “John Henry’s strength, endurance, dignity, and cultural pride was instilled in my DNA at a very young age…gonna be a lot of fun bringing these legends to life. My childhood hero. The steel driving man and his disruptive band of international folklore legends.”
You can read Johnson’s lengthy caption below:
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WHEN THE MAN COMES AROUND. Inspired to bring to life one of my childhood heroes, John Henry, in JOHN HENRY & THE STATESMEN. In this movie, I’ll lead an ensemble of the most popular folklore figures and legends from different cultures around the world. @NETFLIX is the perfect partner & platform to bring these global folklore icons to life. The NETFLIX brand speaks directly to our @sevenbucksprod ethos of being bold, ambitious and game changing – and most importantly, always thinking “Audience first” in homes all around the world. The legend of JOHN HENRY’S strength, endurance, dignity and cultural pride was instilled in my DNA at a very young age. My dad would sing “Big John” to me every time he would put me to bed. At bedtime most children get loving nursery rhyme songs — I got this/ Every mornin’ at the mine, you could see him arrive. He stood 6 foot 6 and weighed 245. Kind of broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip. And everybody knew you didn’t give no lip to Big John. Big John. Big Bad John. Directing this big ol’ tentpole is the talented and passionate, Jake Kasdan. Jake and I found nice success together in a little movie called, JUMANJI. Gonna be a lot of fun bringing these legends to life. My childhood hero. The steel driving man and his disruptive band of international folklore legends. JOHN HENRY & THE STATESMEN @sevenbucksprod @danygarciaco @hhgarcia41 @flynnpictureco @NETFLIX