'Rock' star: Lin-Manuel Miranda talks Dwayne Johnson's 'Moana' singing

In Moana, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson voices a Polynesian demigod named Maui.

He gets to be heroic and tough and humorous. You know, your basic "Rock" role.

Oh, and he also sings.

Whaaat?

Lin-Manuel Miranda (the MacArthur Genius behind the Broadway hit Hamilton), who helped put the music together for this film, said at a recent Moana press event that he didn't really have to twist Johnson's arm -literally or figuratively-to get him to stretch his vocal chords in song for the first time in a film.

"I got a lot of questions from reporters . . . asking, 'How did you get "The Rock" to sing'? That's not what happened here," Miranda told Tattle Los Angeles Animation Correspondent Jerome Maida. "When Dwayne accepted the role, he said, 'So what are you giving me to sing?' He was really excited for this!"

"For me, I went to YouTube, which is where the answers always lie." Miranda joked. "I'm a really big fan of his wrestling days and there was a time during his 'heel phase' where he would pull out a guitar and taunt whatever town he was in! He'd sing something like, 'I Can't Wait To Get Out Of Chicago!'"

"So, I got a little bit of an idea of his vocal range from that 10-minute super cut," Miranda continued. "The rest of it was just writing lyrics that embody the spirit of Maui, who is this amazing demigod and a trickster god! Once I had the title 'You're Welcome' (arguably the film's most memorable tune, in which Maui shows his arrogance toward Moana), which Dwayne can pull off and have you love him and root for him, we were off to the races!"

A talking Rock

Speaking of Mr. Johnson, the man nicknamed "franchise Viagra" said at the same Santa Monica press event that Moana is unique among his films.

Why?

Two words.

Aloha Spirit.

"'Aloha Spirit' is something that's very special," Johnson said. "It's very meaningful to us and our Polynesian culture. For example, those of you that have had the opportunity to visit Hawaii or any of the Polynesian Islands it's a very special thing.

"It's an intangible that that when you get off the plane and you have your feet on the ground, there is that energy that takes you to a different place. That is 'Aloha Spirit.'

"The opportunity that we had, just as Polynesians, to be part of a story about Polynesian culture, in this capacity, with our great partners at Disney (and) musically, with these masters, it was just a really, really special opportunity," he said.

TATTBIT

Hillary Clinton made a surprise appearance to fete Katy Perry and Perry gushed to E! News about her boyfriend Orlando Bloom Tuesday night in New York as Perry was given the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award at UNICEF's Snowflake Ball.

Who knew UNICEF held a ball for overly-sensitive Liberals?

- Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.


gensleh@phillynews.com

215-854-5678 @DNTattle