Jason Statham and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are two of the biggest action stars of all time. They’ve played some of the toughest, baddest characters in cinema history, and they never, ever seem to lose. That shouldn’t be a surprise—they literally cannot lose. At least, not according to their contracts.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the stars’ contracts actually limit how badly they can be beaten up, how many punches they can take, and that they cannot lose a fight on screen.
Vin Diesel, another headliner from the Fast and Furious series, is actually to blame. He developed a system that rated blows delivered to the stars, including all punches, kicks, and even headbutts. Each blow received a point value and that value was tracked to see who was “winning.” Diesel actually employed his sister to keep a running tally. Statham’s contract actually has a clause stating that he can’t be beaten too badly.
Johnson had the script rewritten so that he sat down after a fight instead of lying down. It’s all meant to maintain the masculine mystique that each of the actors has worked to create. You can’t really blame them for not wanting to waste all that cred. Nobody wants to see these bigger-than-life heroes look frail and weak.
Stipulations on contracts aren’t new. Samuel L. Jackson’s contract requires that he be allowed to play golf twice a week. Queen Latifah can’t be killed off. Daniel Day-Lewis is allowed to stay in character even off set, which means those around him have to play along (in Lincoln, everyone—director Steven Spielberg included—had to address Day-Lewis as “Mr. President”).
Regardless of the stipulation, most are meant to either maintain an image, allow for a better performance, or keep the star healthy. They may seem outlandish, but as you consider them, the stipulations have a sound logic behind them and aren’t based on the whims of a spoiled actor. Well, at least in many of the cases anyway.