By People Staff
Updated February 25, 2005 06:00 AM

Former pro wrestler The Rock says playing the “bad ass” Elliot, a gay bodyguard and aspiring star, in the action-comedy Be Cool, was a chance to exercise his acting chops – alongside an A-list cast including John Travolta and Uma Thurman. The Rock (born Dwayne Johnson), 32, recently chatted about playing gay, fawning over Travolta, and singing loud and proud.

You play a gay man who gets poked fun at by the other characters. Are you ready for any criticism that might provoke?
I didn’t want to really turn anything into a mockery or a Saturday Night Live skit. … My intent was just to play a guy who wanted to make it, someone that I could connect with and not only that, but he just happened to be gay. And if you didn’t like it, he’d be happy to kick someone’s ass.

Were you upset that he didn’t end up with a boyfriend in the movie?
Nah. In the next one I’ll have a boyfriend.

What do you think of being the butt of jokes?
I love self-deprecating humor.

Good thing since you got Punk’d on the set.
Everyone was involved in blowing up my trailer and it was actually a great punk. It almost escalated into a big brawl because I wound up shoving a cop. But actually, the cop was one of the actors from MTV. I was really, really relieved. I like that kind of stuff, but it could’ve meant trouble.

You got to sing in the movie. How did that go for you?
I drive my family and my friends crazy every time that I sing because I think I’m going to win a Grammy or something like that. And I thought doing “Coal Miner’s Daughter” made sense since my character was a gay man.

What was it like working with John Travolta?
I drove him crazy. Probably by day 18 of us working together, it was like, “Hey, remember in Grease when you did this? You remember Urban Cowboy?’ ” He was great though, very patient. … He saunters and is just cool. He’s Vinnie Babarino, of course.

And finally, tell us about the hair. You grew an Afro?
The Afro was a wig. I grew out my hair, which was probably maybe an inch or so, and then they put the Afro on me. I looked good, right?