Yesterday, The Wrap published an exclusive report alleging that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, one of the most famous and popular movie stars in the world, a man whose entire persona is being Mr. Nice Guy Hard Work Positive Vibes Only, was so chronically late on his Christmas action movie Red Onethe one co-starring Chris Evans—that he caused massive delays and even forced the crew to “shoot around” him, meaning go on with production even though the star of the movie wasn’t on set. What’s more, Red One, which is about a bounty hunter and an elf teaming up to save Santa, has allegedly ballooned in costs to over $250 million, an insane spend for a Christmas caper that sounds terrible.


Specific to Johnson, more allegations include peeing into bottles to “save time” and forcing other people to deal with it—this actually sounds very believable, like the sort of nutbar thinking productivity-obsessed people get into, like those guys who think eating flavorless paste for every meal is owning all the lazy slobs who enjoy their meals and not a sad, wordless treatise on their inner lives—and bubble-breaking behavior during the production of Red Notice—the other “red” movie co-starring Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot—in which Johnson disobeyed strict quarantine rules to throw BBQs and hang with his family. (He got COVID.)

He also allegedly got into a “huge fight” with Reynolds on Red Notice after Johnson was five hours late to set one day, though TMZ has their own sources who say the confrontation “wasn’t nearly as dramatic”, and that Reynolds and Johnson were able to patch things up and go on working together without incident. Red Notice has been okayed for a sequel, but there has been no movement on that in years.


Of course, we know Johnson’s most famous feud is with Vin Diesel, who doesn’t have the nice guy reputation of Johnson and thus most people assumed Diesel was the problem there, but maybe it was Johnson? Or, let’s be honest, probably it was both. Two things can be true—Dwayne Johnson is a pill, and Vin Diesel is a pill, too.


Another accusation that might make industry leaders angry is that Johnson uses production resources to shoot promotional material for his various business interests. As Johnson’s Seven Bucks production shingle is usually involved in his movies these days, wouldn’t that be co-mingling of funds? Isn’t there an actual law about that? Or maybe something about taxes? Don’t f-ck with the IRS’s money! 

There are several issues here, most of which fall under the “diva” category: chronic lateness, personal habits that are an imposition to others, refusing to work a full day like everyone else. The using production resources for his side hustles thing is a separate “you’re pissing off the accountants” category. But most of this is what I think of as “bad movie star behavior”, the kind of behavior that, while inexcusable, also isn’t uncommon to see from movie stars who get high on their own farts and self-importance. 


Again, it doesn’t make any of this okay, but it’s also not unusual. This is the level of bad behavior that really hasn’t been addressed over the last several years, the sort of everyday on-the-job rudeness that makes everyone hate #1 on the call sheet a little bit, but none of it is like, actionable. There’s no harassment—the pee bottles, if true, is the closest to that—it’s just everyone being inconvenienced by a co-worker wasting their time. What makes these allegations unusual is that they’re aimed at Dwayne Johnson, who has built his public persona around work ethic and niceness. It’s not unlike what happened when the world found out Ellen DeGeneres isn’t as nice as her talk show persona made her out to be. People are extra offended when they discover someone that they think is nice is not, in fact, nice. Like, Vin Diesel has also been called out for being chronically late to set and rude to co-workers, but no one thought much of it because Diesel’s persona isn’t built on being a nice guy. It just sounds like bad movie star behavior, and nothing about Diesel suggests he’s above it.

Not! An excuse! But these are the things people absorb in the movie business, that the stars will sometimes turn out to be divas and everyone has to figure out how to work around that. Hopefully, a more conscientious and respectful era is being ushered in, in which everyone is appreciated for their contributions to the work at hand and the movie stars aren’t total assholes to everyone around them as if it’s their right to treat people that way, and calling out major stars like Johnson, and Diesel and anyone else, when they act like this might be part of that, the same way publicly naming and shaming stapler-chucking executives has reduced stapler-chucking behavior. Movies are hard enough to get made without dealing with a diva on set.

On a totally unrelated note, the movie star character featured in The Fall Guy is a diva who never shows up to set and talks about his “brand”. Fall Guy director David Leitch also directed Hobbs & Shaw, starring Dwayne Johnson. Totally coincidental, I’m sure. 

Let's Squawk about it!  (app link here)