'The Rock' talks a future in politics, including potential White House run

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After parleying a professional wrestling career as “The Rock” into leading roles in Hollywood, Dwayne Johnson is entertaining the idea of jumping into the political ring, including perhaps even a run for the White House someday.

Actor Dwayne Johnson poses at the premiere of 'San Andreas' in Hollywood, California, U.S. May 26, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

Johnson, 44, who stars in the upcoming Disney animated film “Moana” as the voice of demigod Maui, told Reuters the excitement surrounding last week’s presidential election had renewed public interest in him running for office.

“I love my country, I’m extremely patriotic and I also feel, especially now, leadership is so important, great leadership is so important, respected leadership is so important,” said Johnson, star of “The Fast and the Furious” franchise

Asked specifically about a potential White House run, Johnson replied: “If I felt like I could be an effective leader for us, and surround myself with really high-quality leaders, then sure, I would.”

It is not the first time Johnson’s name has been mentioned in political circles.

Earlier this year, Johnson took to Instagram to thank a Washington Post journalist who said he had a “weirdly plausible path to a political career” as a mixed-race registered Republican from Florida, a swing state in the presidential election.

While Johnson did not specify which office he might seek, when he might run or which party he would represent, he said he thought that running a business as a producer in Hollywood had given him a discipline he hoped he could apply to politics.

“I’ve found really good success in being able to galvanize people in a positive way and continued to push them, as I’ve pushed myself along the way too, because I walk what I talk, daily, which I think is an important quality,” he said.

If Johnson does take on politics, he would be following another pro wrestler, Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura, who served as governor of Minnesota, and body builder-turned-action star Arnold Schwarzenegger, who served two terms as Republican governor of California.

Known for his catchphrase: “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking,” Johnson still participates in occasional World Wrestling Entertainment matches, alongside producing and starring in HBO’s sports dramedy “Ballers” and the upcoming “Baywatch” film reboot.

Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Leela de Kretser and Peter Cooney