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Behind-the-scenes photos offer look at The Rock as 'Dwanta Claus'


While Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has risen to the top of the A-List, one man has had a front-row seat.

Hiram Garcia was in his early teens when he first met Johnson, then a University of Miami football player dating Hiram’s sister, Dany. Although Dany and Johnson, who share a daughter named Simone, are now divorced, the two men have remained close friends and frequent collaborators — with Hiram producing many of Johnson’s movies, including ones from the “Fast and Furious” and “Jumanji” franchises.

A skilled photographer, Hiram has also captured candid moments from Johnson’s life in a new book, “The Rock: Through the Lens: His Life, His Movies, His World” (St. Martin’s press), out Tuesday.

“When I first met DJ, I was probably 14 or 15,” said Hiram, who still has a snapshot (inset) from that day.

“He’s like a brother,” he told The Post of Johnson, 48, who was recently named Hollywood’s highest paid actor, having earned $87.5 million in the past year.

“I really made a conscious decision to start doing this starting with ‘Baywatch.’ I bought a camera and one lens and said, ‘I’m going to make sure I always have something with me to get a shot — no matter what.’ ”

Following in Daddy’s big footsteps

Dwayne and his daughter, Simone, on a past Halloween.
Dwayne and his daughter, Simone, on a past Halloween.Hiram Garcia

In February, 18-year-old Simone Johnson began training as a wrestler at a WWE center, like her 10-time world champion pop. Hiram said his niece was born to be a fighter.

“I’ve gotta be honest, Simone has always loved wrestling,” he said of his niece, seen here as a young girl. “[Since she was] really small she was always enamored with it, and I remember her always watching it. She’s so creative and there’s a ton of things she wants to do in the business. But it would always come back to wrestling.”

Hollywood odd couples

The Rock and Danny DeVito (left) during the casting of
The Rock and Danny DeVito (left) during the casting of “Jumanji: The Next Level”.Hiram Garcia

Johnson counts a lot of celebs as friends: Kevin Hart, Ryan Reynolds and Emily Blunt for starters.

When he made 2017’s “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle,” The Rock and Blunt unexpectedly got on like frat bros.

“They’re like twins,” Hiram said. “If there was an equivalent to him in a small British woman’s body, it would be Emily Blunt.”

During that movie, the actor also became pals with Danny DeVito. After their first meeting, Hiram knew he had to take a snapshot of the famous physical opposites.

“I thought, these are two of the most iconic silhouettes,” he said.

“Danny goes, ‘The truth is, you can put 100 people in a room and put me in it, shut off the lights and look at the silhouettes. Everybody’s instantly gonna know who I am, and Dwayne’s like that, too.’ ”

Ruff cut

Dwayne and his dog, Hobbs.
Dwayne and his dog, Hobbs.Hiram Garcia

“Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw” fans will be happy to know that The Rock’s pup in the film is his real dog, an adorable French Bulldog also named Hobbs. But, channeling his superstar owner, he had a stand-in.

“We were shooting in London, and as we continued to expand on the character of Hobbs, and letting people more into his life, we wanted him to have a dog,” Hiram said. “Our plan was to use Hobbs for all those scenes, but that day Hobbs wasn’t feeling well.”

Thankfully, Hobbs the Dog had a lookalike, a female canine, seen here. The actual Hobbs came in the next day for the rest of the shoot, and had plenty of attitude.

“He’s the best dog ever, and was a killer on set,” Hiram said. “A true rockstar.”

Jingle bell Rock

“The Rock: Through the Lens: His Life, His Movies, His World,” by the actor’s pal Hiram Garcia, includes photos like this holly jolly dress-up session.
“The Rock: Through the Lens: His Life, His Movies, His World,” by the actor’s pal Hiram Garcia, includes photos like this holly jolly dress-up session.Hiram Garcia

Meet Dwanta Claus.

Hiram and Johnson created the Rock’s holiday alter ego around when they were filming 2018’s “Rampage,” to put a fun spin on charity events during the holidays.

“Dwanta Claus loves to come to set when we have our big Make A Wish visit,” Hiram said. “When Dwanta Claus is around, you know luck is on your side, because you’re going to leave very happy and very loved. The key is you just gotta leave him some cookies and tequila.”

One Dwanta event will stick in Hiram’s mind forever.

“We had this great set visit when we were in Vancouver shooting ‘Skyscraper,’ and we had a bunch of amazing kids come visit and Dwanta Claus showed up in a really big way,” Hiram said. “We were giving out Xboxes, and they were getting rides in Lamborghinis.”

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