Have you ever wondered who’s behind Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s high-octane action sequences? Meet Tanoai Reed, Johnson’s distant cousin and the man who has been making Johnson look good in daring stunts for over two decades.
Reed’s Early Life and Career Background
Reed was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in February 1974. He has a diverse ethnic background that includes Samoan, Norwegian, Swedish, and Irish descent. Growing up in Hawaii, Reed was raised on food stamps by his grandmother. Before entering the world of Hollywood stunts, he played football at the University of Hawaii on a full scholarship.
His first exposure to stunt work came in 1994 during the filming of the movie ‘Waterworld’ starring Kevin Costner, where Reed initially worked as a laborer on set. He eventually got a part as a Jet Ski-riding bad guy and decided to pursue stunts as a career, leaving college and football behind.
The Relationship Between Rock and Reed
Reed’s first stint as Johnson’s stunt double was for ‘The Scorpion King’ in 2002. Interestingly, Reed was initially chased down by a stunt coordinator at Universal Studios while working as a day laborer.
Prior to Reed, a white stuntman had been standing in for Johnson, but the daily process of altering the stuntman’s skin tone to match Johnson’s became too difficult for the production team.
Once Reed and Johnson met on the set, they realized through casual conversation that they were actually related through their great-grandfathers. Reed had already been aware of Johnson’s background in a famous Samoan pro-wrestling family, watching Johnson’s wrestling career from afar.
Reed has been working with Johnson for more than 20 years now, covering a variety of films from the ‘Fast & Furious‘ franchise to the action-packed ‘Rampage‘ and ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.’ It’s worth noting that Reed has sustained injuries on set, including a broken wrist and heel, as part of his work.
Johnson and Reed have a feeling of family beyond just a professional relationship. The Rock often publicly credits Reed for his work, saying he trusts him and describing him as a very calculated risk-taker. Reed describes their relationship as one filled with love, loyalty, and trust.
His Personal Life and Other Endeavors
Reed is married to Suzanne Reed, who is also a professional stunt double. The couple met on the set of ‘The Scorpion King.’ He starred as the gladiator Toa in the 2008 remake of the TV series ‘American Gladiators,’ and he even appeared in the Black Eyed Peas music video ‘Pump It.’
When it comes to action sequences, Johnson performs a lot of his own stunts, particularly in fight scenes, thanks to his wrestling background. However, the riskier aspects, like falling or crashing, are executed by Reed to prevent any halt in production.
Reed has gained experience by working on the job and learning from veteran stuntmen. He is adept at reading scripts to prepare for stunts and meticulous about safety procedures, especially after a nearly career-ending injury on ‘Fast and the Furious 7.’
What is Tanoai Reed’s Net Worth?
In his career, Reed has received three World Stunt Awards. Writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber describes him as ‘the greatest living stuntman,’ and he was named ‘The Hollywood Reporter’s Stuntperson of the Year’ in November 2021.
According to CelebrityNetWorth, he has a net worth of $1 million. He has worked on a variety of film and TV projects, such as ‘Nash Bridges,’ ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ and ‘Iron Man 2,’ to name a few.