Dwayne Johnson: ‘I was saved by my faith’

Los Angeles - Dwayne Johnson, whom we interviewed recently for his latest movie ''Pain & Gain,'' has a revelation: ''My faith saved me from going the wrong path.''

The bodybuilder actor revealed that just like his character, Paul Doyle, a recently released born again criminal in the action-comedy movie, ''I started getting in trouble very early in life and I had a hard time staying on the right track,'' he admitted.

''When I was 14 or 15, I started getting arrested and doing a lot of things that I shouldn't have been doing.

''(But) I had faith at that time that things were going to get better. I had faith in my relationship with God and also just as important, I just had some adult figures in my life who cared for me and saw the potential in me even when I didn't.

''Something very defining happened to me when I was 14 years old. We were living in Hawaii and we were living in a very small house. When we came home one day, there was a lock on our door because we were evicted. We didn't have a place to live. I was with my mom and then I just saw her. She just broke down. And why do I say it was defining? I remember at that time when I was a kid, I thought, 'Gosh, I never want to see this happen again to my family.' I never want to be evicted again so what can I do? I thought about the heroes in my life at that time or who I perceived being a hero. Some of them were men in my family and some were my screen heroes from Harrison Ford to Arnold Schwarzenegger. I thought, well, those guys are successful and they built their bodies with their hands. That's what I could do. I could go build my body with my hands so I started working out. I remember that drove me so that was a defining time for me. So I would say that happening mixed with my faith, mixed with some good people around me, saved me.''

''Pain & Gain,'' which is directed by Michael Bay and also stars Mark Wahlberg, is based on a 1999 series of Miami New Times articles about two bodybuilders who are members of the Sun Gym Gang who committed crimes and are now in Florida's death row.

• • •

Fil-Am Hailee Steinfeld Is CinemaCon's 'Rising Star Of 2013'

At the recently held CinemaCon, Fil-Am Hailee Steinfeld received the ''Rising Star of 2013'' award at the Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

According to CinemaCon managing director Mitch Neuhauser, ''Having already garnered an Oscar nomination, not to mention international acclaim for her big screen debut in 'True Grit,' Hailee Steinfeld will continue to show audiences this coming year just how amazing a young actress she is with five new films set to hit theaters.''

Hailee, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2011 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her impressive portrayal of Mattie Ross in the Coen brothers' 2010 remake ''True Grit,'' bagged another coveted role.

She will be joining Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, John Lithgow, James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson and David Dencik in the upcoming western, ''The Homesman.'' Jones also writes, directs and produces.

The film, which is being filmed in New Mexico, is about an untrustworthy man (Jones) and a spinster school teacher (Swank) teaming up to transport three women who were driven mad by the Nebraska frontier back to Iowa via an ox-drawn wagon. Based on the novel ''The Homesman'' written by Glendon Swarthout, the film's screenplay was adapted for the big screen by Jones. Hailee will play Tabitha Hutchinson.

Turning 17 years old on Dec. 11, Hailee was born in Tarzana, Los Angeles to interior designer Fil-Am Cheri (nee Domasin) and personal fitness trainer Peter Steinfeld.

When we met Hailee, she was oozing with confidence, poise and maturity. She said, ''I think this whole (show business) process had definitely matured me, given me thicker skin.''

She added, ''My dad and mom always tell me to have fun and not to take anything too seriously. I am still a kid. You put me with some of my best friends and you will not recognize me but a lot of kids are mature now. I don't know why. Speaking for myself, I just think that going through this whole process has really done it for me.''

She revealed that she decided to become an actress when she was only eight years old. ''I just kind of found different inspirations that kind of pulled me in,'' she said. ''I had a cousin who was doing commercials at the time and a close family friend who was doing a play. I was sitting a few rows back from the stage and just watching her. I thought what she was doing was so cool. It opened my eyes to the possibility of becoming an actress, too. So after that, I went to my parents and asked them if I could start acting. They were very supportive and they made me study for one full year before we took any step further. Since then, I've been studying acting.''

Now home-schooled, Hailee nevertheless has a number of upcoming projects aside from ''The Homesman.''

She will portray Petra Arkanian in the sci-fi action movie ''Ender's Game'' with Asa Butterfield (''Hugo'') as Ender Wiggin. The film also stars Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin and Sir Ben Kingsley.

She is also in the musical-drama, ''Can a Song Save Your Life?'' as Violet, alongside stars like Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Cee-Lo Green, Adam Levine and Mos-Def.

In ''Forgotten,'' Hailee will play London Lane, the leading female role. She will also be starring in the screen-adaptation of Daniel Handler's romantic comedy book, ''Why We Broke Up,'' as Min Green.

A go-getter, Hailee describes herself as ''just like Mattie Ross in 'True Grit' especially the way she handles her problems, the way she thinks. We both stop at nothing to get what we want.''

E-mail the writer at janetrnepales@gmail.com for your comments or questions. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@jrnepales.

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