Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced on Instagram on Wednesday that he was cast as King Kamehameha — the celebrated founder and ruler of the Hawaiian Kingdom — in the upcoming movie “The King.”
King Kamehameha united the Hawaiian Islands under one royal kingdom in 1810 following years of war and conflict.
“From the day I began my Hollywood career (2001), my dream was to bring this legacy to life,” Johnson said in an Instagram post. “In Polynesian culture we have a belief, that something isn’t done when it’s ready… it’s done when it’s right.”
KA LA HIKI OLA. Dawning of a new day with hope and promise. Humbled & grateful to begin this once in a lifetime journey. KING KAMEHAMEHA – the legendary King was the first to unite the warring Hawaiian islands — fulfilling the prophecy that surrounded his fabled life since birth and creating the powerful & spiritual 50th state as we know it today. Academy Award winning director, Robert Zemeckis (FORREST GUMP) will direct. Academy Award nominated writer, Randall Wallace (BRAVEHEART) will write. From the day I began my Hollywood career (2001), my dream was to bring this legacy to life. In Polynesian culture we have a belief, that something isn’t done when it’s ready… it’s done when it’s right. The time is right. The one who walks alone. #Culture #History #Mana #TheKing #KAMEHAMEHA
Directed by Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”) and written by Randall Wallace (“Braveheart”), “The King” is a “sweeping historical epic based on the true life story of Kamehameha, who fulfilled the prophecy that surrounded his fabled life since birth,” the Hollywood Reporter noted.
Stay strong Kauai! 🤙🏾 Thank you to all the rescue workers and volunteers working tirelessly to help rebuild our communities and assist our local families. Proud of our fighting spirit and proud to bring our JUNGLE CRUISE production back home to HAWAII. * LINK TO DONATE IN MY BIO #MalamaKauai #Rebuild #KauaiStrong
However, some native Hawaiians are worried about cultural appropriation.
“Kamehameha is a grand chief of Hawaii and not some Hollywood Disney character,” Lilikala Kameeleihiwa, senior professor at the University of Hawaii’s Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, told the Star-Advertiser. “It is totally inappropriate to have a non-Hawaiian actor play him. There must be a hundred descendents of Kamehameha who could play the part.”
🐍🚢🗺🌴 On set of our DISNEY’S JUNGLE CRUISE and I made friends with a big ‘ol hungry Anaconda. While my brave co-star and good buddy @jackwhitehall did his best to smile thru his fear of snakes. Good times with the animals of the Amazon. Next, me and Jack will swim with the piranhas.. completely against his will. The adventure of the lifetime. #AllAboard #Disney #JUNGLECRUISE 🐍🐟🚢🗺🌴
Others like Vicky Holt Takamine love Johnson — who is Polynesian, but grew up in Hawaii — are concerned that the film will ruin the legacy of the legendary king.
“I love Dwayne Johnson and some of his films, but he’s such a comedian. I hope this is not going to be a comedy and the character is not a comic character,” Takamine told Hawaii News Now.
She can be anything she wants. She can sit at any table. She can trailblaze a path, while humbly and gratefully recognizing those before her who paved the way. She and her big sister, Simone and her baby sister, Tiana Gia will always have a strong voice and always make a positive impact. She can also just forcefully shove a buttery, delicious croissant 🥐 in daddy’s mouth when daddy is on a very strict diet. #JasmineLia #WomensEqualityDay 💪🏾🌴
After breaking the news to his followers and fans, Johnson said, “The response to our King Kamehameha announcement has been incredible worldwide. A true privilege and dream for me to bring King Kamehameha’s legacy to life on the silver screen. The cultural and historical significance of this role, I hold with the highest respect and reverence; and, I’m honored to share the epic story of our people and culture with the world. Imua!”