Dwayne Johnson Paid Stuntman Out of Own Pocket for 2006’s ‘Gridiron Gang’

by Samantha Whidden

He has been Dwayne Johnson’s stunt double for nearly two decades, and now Tanoai Reed is opening up about what it’s like to really work with the actor and former professional wrestler. 

During his interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Reed spoke about how Dwayne Johnson actually paid him out of his own pocket for his 2006 sports drama film Gridiron Gang. When it was revealed that the film did not have a budget for a stuntman, Reed stated, “[Johnson] told me, ‘You’re more than just a stunt double, you’re like family.”

Reed has been Dwayne Johnson’s stuntman for various films, including Walking Tall, Get Smart, The Other Guys, Fast & Furious 6, Hercules, Furious 7, and San Andreas. He also appeared as a stunt performer in Iron Man 2, Hawaii 5-0, Half Past Dead 2, Against the Dark, and You, Me, and Dupree. 

Dwayne Johnson Recalls Incident that Almost Caused a Career-Ending Injury For Tanoai Reed

Also speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Dwayne Johnson recalled the incident almost caused a career-ending injury for his stunt double Tanoai Reed while on the set of Furious 7.

During one scene, Reed had stepped in for a moment for a glass shattering stunt. The glass was notably supposed to be tempered and would shatter into harmless pieces. Instead, Reed suffered an iPhone-size wound in his arm.

“Tanoai is a very calm and cool man in the locker when it comes to doing stunts,” Dwayne Johnson explained. He said when Reed got up, he could see something was wrong in his eyes. Following the injury, Reed was rushed to the hospital. It was revealed that he could have lost an arm because of the piece of glass. 

Reed stated, “I could have lost my arm. But if that shard of glass had gone through my back, my neck, I would have been paralyzed or worse.”

Although it was an unfortunate incident, Reed stated he learned from it. “The next time I go through, I’ll double-check and make sure we break the first one. See how that goes. And that means the rest of them are good.”

Dwayne Johnson also declared that while Reed is a risk-taker, everything he does is very calculated. “He’s a very smart man. And he doesn’t approach stunts like a bat out of hell and throwing caution to the wind.”

In regards to staying as Dwayne Johnson’s stunt double, Reed says he believes he has plenty of years left with The Rock. “His characters are going to age with him. And so is his action. He’s going to be parkouring. Running and flipping off building. When he’s in his 50s.”