Choreographing huge fight scenes in a film like Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is already a pretty time consuming task, what with the logistics and the specific moves that go into making a safe stunt session look like a knockdown, drag out brawl. But apparently, there’s one more complication to such a matter: the specific conditions of how much certain stars get beat up on screen.
It’s such a subject of importance that it’s been revealed that when it came to Hobbs & Shaw stars Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s contracts, everything down to the amount of damage they could take on screen was negotiated into their overall deal. And, naturally, they were never allowed to lose a fight on camera.
This is apparently not the first time this sort of thing has come up in the history of the Fast & Furious franchise either, as apparently Vin Diesel is just like Johnson and Statham, and doesn’t want to be beaten too much in the public eye. Though Diesel has apparently gone the extra mile by relying on his sister/fellow series producer Samantha Vincent to help count the blows he’s taken, and to also make sure they’re within his preferred damage ratio.
Going by the facts themselves, what The Wall Street Journal has reported about these contract wranglings and matters adjacent to an actor’s PR image can seem pretty damning on the surface. Especially when there are other actors who will take a pummeling in the name of the camera.
But in a sense, this sort of negotiation does tie into the careers of these actors who make a living off of being seen as superhuman ass-kickers who can be trusted to get the job done. And if you’re seen as too soft on camera, there’s a chance that you won’t get those roles for too much longer.
It’s especially important to actors like Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, and Jason Statham, as they head up two of the biggest action franchises on the market right now in the cohabitating Fast & Furious/Hobbs & Shaw universes. With the budgets sky high on those films, and the worldwide grosses potentially higher, the bankability of your stars is crucial to return investment.
Still, would it hurt any of these men to take a project where the punches leave them bloodied and beaten? A common response to this report on the internet is the fact that back in the days of the original Die Hard, Bruce Willis’ John McClane not only got to show emotion on camera, the dude took some damage. Then again, even that franchise, and its star, rose to a point similar to that of the scenario we’re discussing today. So it looks like you either die a hero, or live long enough to negotiate just how many punches you take to the face.
Hobbs & Shaw is in theaters now, with just the right ratio of punches landed. And if you want to know more about what went into those punches, and all the other stunning action on display in the film, take a look at our continued coverage from our time at the film’s junkets.
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CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.