March 29th, 2013
03:41 PM ET
For Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, joining the cast of the "G.I. Joe" franchise was a little bit like coming home.
As the actor told CNN at the movie's premiere in Los Angeles on Thursday, he was a big fan of the action figures when he was growing up as an only child.
"'G.I. Joe' and 'Star Wars' action figures, they were my family," Johnson said. "So you can imagine what it was like to get the phone call saying, 'Hey, we want you to be a G.I. Joe, we want you to lead the Joes, and then we have this idea to really reignite the franchise.'"
That idea involved casting Johnson as the lead of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," the follow-up to 2009's "G.I. Joe," which starred Channing Tatum. Jon Chu directed the action flick, which has been described as grittier, and not as keen on the "cartoonish" but fun moments some critics picked up on in the first installment.
But for Johnson, who's starred in the "Fast & Furious" franchise as well as the "Journey" series, he sees "G.I. Joe" as another "massive opportunity."
"I enjoy being in franchises because they make a lot of people happy around the world," he said. "That's a lot of smiles, and that's a cool thing."
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