Could he play Hamilton?
Via Daily Mail:
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is getting flack for casting himself as an African-American folklore legend in an upcoming Netflix film he is also producing.
Johnson announced on Tuesday that he would be playing the titular hero in the Netflix film ‘John Henry and the Statesman.’
‘When the man comes around. Honored to play a childhood hero of mine, JOHN HENRY & his disruptive band of fellow folklore legends from around the world,’ the 46-year-old actor said on Twitter, along with a brief teaser trailer. ‘@Netflix are the perfect partners and platform to build.’
On Instagram, he added: ‘My dad would sing ‘Big John’ to me every time he would put me to bed.’
The legend of John Henry tells the tale of a black steel-driver, and former slave, who raced against a steam-powered rock drilling machine supposedly in the 1800s.
Henry would beat the machine, only for his heart to give out from the stress. He died with his hammer in his hand.
Depictions of Henry show him as a young, dark-skinned black man. Actors Danny Glover and Roger Aaron Brown have both played the strapping hero on-screen and Henry was even featured on a postage stamp in 1996.
Johnson is a biracial man – his father is black-Canadian, while his mother is Samoan – and he has played a slue of racially ambiguous roles.
And fans of the folk tale brought that to the forefront of their arguments as to why it was questionable that the Moana star was playing such a historic role.
‘John Henry has always been depicted as dark-skinned but o k a y,’ said #KeepIt host, Ira Madison III.
The sentiment was shared by Mikki Kendall, who added: ‘Nope. He’s great, but he’s definitely not John Henry. This is a wonderful time for someone new to break in. John Henry was dark skinned & young.’