Vulture has previously written about the phenomenon of no hero ever losing a fight in the Fast and Furious universe, and The Wall Street Journal has looked into the contractual realities of that “everyone gets a trophy” approach. Based on interviews with people close to the productions, the Rock, Jason Statham, and Vin Diesel all closely monitor the amount of onscreen abuse their characters take to make sure that no one man is looking too much tougher than any other.
“According to producers and crew members on the films, Mr. Statham, 51 years old, negotiated an agreement with the studio that limits how badly he can be beaten up on screen,” according to the Journal. “Mr. Diesel, 52, has his younger sister, a producer on the films, police the number of punches he takes. And Mr. Johnson, 47, enlists producers, editors and fight coordinators to help make sure he always gives as good as he gets.”
One of the most notable differences between the newly released Hobbs & Shaw and the other Fast movies is how hard Statham (Deckard Shaw) and the Rock (Luke Hobbs) get beaten down by their adversary, Idris Elba’s Brixton, who is acknowledged in the trailer as “black Superman.” But the stars and their minders are reportedly always considering the optics of how long each man spends on the ground, when someone was last thrown through a wall, and when they can put the muscular order back into balance after their characters take a big blow. (According to the WSJ, Diesel is said to have attempted instituting an involved score-keeping system for hits landed to make sure things stayed even in the fights, but it was abandoned for being too tedious.) The actors’ involvement with the article was limited to a “Messrs. Diesel, Statham and Johnson declined to comment” because their muscles, as always, will do the talking for them.