ATLANTA » If Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson never steps back into the ring for a professional wrestling match, he won’t have a problem staying retired, even though his last bout was a loss to nemesis John Cena.
But the 41-year-old action movie hero said he won’t rule out a return to the ring that made him famous.
"I’d like to leave it open. But if I’d never wrestle again, I’d be very content with that," Johnson said recently while on set filming the season finale of TNT’s "The Hero," which airs Thursday night. "Winning or losing never really mattered to me. The whole idea was to put on a great match. Got injured in that match. Still was able to walk out on my own, which I was more happy about. I don’t know. We’ll see."
Johnson’s wrestling career has been in question after he lost his WWE championship to Cena in WrestleMania XXVII in April. He injured himself during the match, reportedly tearing his abductor and rectus tendon that required him to have hernia surgery.
He has plenty of other projects to keep him busy, having made the leap from wrestling star to action movie hero to reality TV host. He’s the executive producer of "The Hero," mentoring contestants who endure a variety of challenges to win over viewers who vote on the grand prize.
Johnson has become known as the savior of stale film series, and his movies this year include "Fast & Furious 6," "Pain & Gain," "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," "Snitch" and "Empire State." But for the reality show, he had to make an adjustment dealing with the emotions from contestants as host.
"See, what happens in film is everyone, they’re actors on a movie set, and we’re making a movie and hopefully you make a good one," he said. "But in this case you’re on set; well, these contestants are not actors. And they’re going through real drama and hardship, and they’re losing, they’re winning, they’re taking temptations, they’re not. It’s going through that with them, and being that personal and close to them as they were going through that was really special."
Johnson, Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson are teaming up to executive-produce an HBO show about Miami athletes. The former Miami Hurricanes football player said the pilot will be filmed this fall in Miami.
"That means I’ll be sleeping in my own bed every night," he said with a smile.
Arsenio Hall gearing up for return of talk show
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. » Arsenio Hall is eager to get back in the late-night talk show game, minus the big hair and shoulder pads that marked his initial foray nearly 20 years ago.
Joking to the Television Critics Association on Monday that he’s "been away making turkey bacon," Hall said the challenges are much bigger now than when he was a pop-culture tastemaker on his old show, which ran from 1989-94.
Back then there were fewer channels, and Johnny Carson was the dominant late-night host of "The Tonight Show."
"It’s a huge challenge this time to bring people to the television," Hall said. "Your biggest fan doesn’t watch you every night. You hope to get a guy three nights to check you out; the other nights they’ll be catching someone else."
He offered few details on the format and style of the new "Arsenio Hall Show" other than the old theme song is coming back with a new bit of music that Hall wrote.