With “Hobbs & Shaw” having just hit cinemas, talk is running high about the film which made an impressive $5.8 million in Thursday night previews domestically along with $25 million in early international openings over Wednesday and Thursday.
However one of the more interesting stories related to it that has been doing the rounds over the past 24 hours is one from The Wall Street Journal which has gone into the “Fast and Furious” franchise a bit more and looks at the demands and behaviors of its three leading male action stars – Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, and Jason Statham.
More specifically it appears all three go to great lengths to avoid looking weak on screen. Producers and crew members on the films tell the outlet that Statham has a studio agreement limiting how badly he can be beaten up on screen, and would visit the editing room to weigh in on fight scenes. Johnson meanwhile enlists producers, editors and fight coordinators to ensure “he always gives as good as he gets”.
Then there’s Diesel who has his younger sister police the number of punches he takes. Diesel reportedly cared so much about who landed more blows in his fight scenes he assigned a numerical value to each move in a fight so he could make sure that Domenic Toretto never lost. Said system was abandoned as it was deemed too complicated.
It seems the men of the franchise are far bigger divas than the women as the girl-on-girl fight scenes such as those between Michelle Rodriguez and Ronda Rousey in the seventh film don’t concern themselves with ‘scorekeeping’. It gets even sillier as one report over a scene that required Johnson to be lying on the ground at Diesel’s feet, Johnson insisted his character at least be sitting up.
Long-time producer Michael Fottrell, speaking about the fight choreography in the films, was asked if this competitiveness and reluctance to show any vulnerability have anything to do with the actor’s vanity. He later responded: “Of course it does”.
There have been no such reports of concern about appearing weak on screen by actors like Keanu Reeves or Tom Cruise in their action films, that pair of actors routinely get beaten nearly to a pulp and sometimes win their on-screen fights due to sheer chance.