Seiuli The Rock speaks Samoan, moves his mother to tears in new role
Seiuli Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson has always been proud of his Samoan roots.
But now he'll be making them the centre of a movie role, to the delight of Samoan audiences, not least of all his mother.
Seiuli and two fellow Polynesian co-stars perform the Siva Tau at a pivotal plot point in his newest movie: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
The scene was designed with help from Samoan cultural consultants to ensure it was authentic and respectful, Seiuli told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published on Saturday local time.
It passed its first screen test - with Seiuli's mother, Ata, whom he brought to the set for a surprise viewing.
“I look over and she is bawling,” Seiuli told the Times. “The mama’s doing the ugly cry! I didn’t show her any rehearsals.
"She’s never heard me speak in Samoan to that extent."
The moment brought together not just Seiuli but his co-stars Cliff Curtis (the New Zealand actor of Maori heritage) and fellow Samoan and WWE star Roman Reigns (Leati Joseph Anoaʻi).
“After the take — it’s so beautiful and I’ll never forget this — all the guys go over to her,” he said. “‘Oh, Mama, are you okay?’ and give her hugs.”
The decision to cast Polynesian co-stars reflects Samoa's central place in the movie's plot.
The film sees Seiuli's character (law enforcement official Hobbs) sent back to Samoa after 25 years away. His character joins his brothers in the family business, a car repair shop that has recently gone upmarket.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is set to be released internationally on August 2.