In the Netflix film Red Notice, Dwayne Johnson plays top FBI profiler John Hartley who pits wits and fight skills against Gal Gadot as The Bishop, the world’s most wanted art thief.
As the Interpol issued the Red Notice — the highest level of warrant to hunt down fugitives — Hartley strikes an unlikely partnership with the world’s greatest art thief, Nolan Booth (played by Ryan Reynolds), to capture The Bishop. What happens next is a globe-trotting pursuit from Russia to Bali, blending action, adventure, hijinks and comedy.
During a paired interview with Gal and Dwayne, The STAR learned that Red Notice is their reunion project after starring years back in a film from the Fast & Furious franchise (which incidentally was Gal’s first major Hollywood project).
And so, when asked what made her accept the Red Notice, despite it being filmed during these COVID times, Gal was quick to answer, “Dwayne.”
Besides Dwayne, the actress perhaps best-known by fans as Wonder Woman also said that when their “wonderful director and writer” Rawson Marshall Thurber first pitched to her the idea for the movie, “I was blown away by how ambitious and surprising the story is. And I was also very intrigued to be able to play a character who’s a bit different from what I usually used to do.”
The action star also known as The Rock, on the other hand, shared that it was always Gal who their director had in mind to play the enigmatic and badass The Bishop.
“The moment he (Rawson) said her name, I said, ‘Well, I love her. She’s one of my favorite human beings. She’d be amazing in this.’ The idea that she plays the most wanted art thief in the world, that automatically is intriguing to me as a movie fan,” Dwayne said.
To which Gal quipped, “So, he did the movie because of me. But to be fair, he was attached to the movie before I was, before I ever heard the pitch.”
Dwayne joked back, “I was just going to sneak my way somewhere into the movie. I was going to look like a small role, a supporting role. But yeah, my role grew.”
This kind of exchange that The STAR saw in a virtual presscon and later on in a more intimate chat spoke volumes about their built-in chemistry, which served them well as bantering enemies in the film.
Among their scenes to watch are the “torture” sequence and the “heated” dance number. But it’s all family-friendly action, as director Rawson described Red Notice as “a movie where nobody dies” and that “there’s not a lot of blood if any, no real violence, no sex, no drugs, (but) a little bit of rock and roll.” (More on him in a separate story).
Here are more excerpts from our fun roundtable interview, where Gal and Dwayne both jokingly expressed concern that we weren’t laughing at their jokes. We were muted, they belatedly realized, and that was the only downside to the Zoom session that did feel like an extension of their riot of a movie. Read on.
What did you do for the first time in the film?
Gal: “I mean, I’ve danced in movies before, but I’ve never done like a walk and talk before. So, this time, I got to dance and talk (laughs), which was quite challenging to catch my breath every time, but it was a lot of fun.”
Dwayne: “And I had never actually danced before and Rawson, our writer and director, wanted to create this really beautiful dance sequence between Gal and I, that was sexy and charged and had a lot of electricity and chemistry to it. But uniquely, I am the one who is vowing to arrest her and take her in. So, it’s like when the good guy and the bad guy, or in this case, the good guy and the bad girl get together. And they have this really cool dance knowing at any time it could explode. That moment, it was really great. I had never danced before but I had a great dance partner in Gal.”
Can you talk about the “team dynamics” between the three of you (including Ryan)?
Gal: “Pure fun! I mean the biggest challenge I’ve had in the movie was just not to break takes. And Ryan oh, Ryan, he was looking and went for every opportunity that he had in order to try and break us. And we were laughing a lot. We had a lot of fun.”
Dwayne: “Same. I’m guilty of that as well. You know, Gal and I think that with Ryan he has the ability a little bit more to not crack and really hold on to the scene and his character in the moment. Whereas Gal and I, we can’t keep face for long and we ruined many, many takes.”
Why was it an immediate yes to the script?
Gal: “I just loved the story! And I loved all the people that were involved. First of all, you know, DJ (Dwayne Johnson) and I connected 10 years ago in the Fast & Furious franchise and we’ve been looking for the right opportunity to do something together ever since. This was just the perfect one. I think that Rawson, our wonderful director, had managed to write a super thrilling, funny, fun script with many twists and turns, and I was all in.”
Dwayne: “Me, too. That was it. Rawson had pitched the idea to me as he had pitched to Gal as well, and the pitch was fantastic and I was in. Plus, of course, I wanted to work with Gal again, especially at this stage of her career where she’s just like sitting on top because we’d worked together 10 years ago, as Gal has said, in the Fast & Furious franchise.”
What was the most difficult action to execute and did you experience any injury on set?
Gal: (Deadpans) “No.”
Dwayne: “She did. She had a bad cut on her toe and there was blood everywhere.”
Gal: “Oh injured, I thought ‘enjoyed ourselves.’ Yes, I did. There was a lot of blood but I made it through. You know the scene where I’m kicking the handcuffs? And then the boys go head to head. So, I went all in and I just kept my toe when I did the kick. But hey, it’s worked.”
What’s your favorite scene in the film?
Dwayne: “There’s a scene at the end where after this long, crazy adventure around the world, we finally see Gal’s character and my character in the middle of the ocean on this beautiful yacht. And the scene starts off with Gal coming out of the ocean. It is a gorgeous, iconic and cinematic history shot because the boat is so…”
Gal: “The boat (is) unbelievable, so darn sexy, I can’t stop thinking about the boat…”
Dwayne: “The boat guys, wait till you see the boat. And Gal coming out of that ocean is…”
Gal: “You should watch the movie for the boat.”
Dwayne: “Yeah, watch till the end and you’ll see what I’m talking about.”
Do you feel more pressure with each new project?
Dwayne: “One could interpret that as you feel pressure. But I think it all comes down to the choices you make. Whatever the script is and whatever the character is, you’ve got to love what you’re doing and if it gets you out of bed, (you’re) passionate about it, then really that’s all that matters. I hear what you’re asking, it’s a smart question, but it’s tricky to answer because Gal and I, we’re so lucky and blessed in our careers to play some iconic characters that, you said, were Wonder Woman and the meaning of the principles of Wonder Woman, so how do you top that? You just have to find something else…”
Gal: “I completely agree with DJ. I completely agree with this very, very wise, old man (laughs). And you know, it’s all about the choices that we make. But I think what’s most important is not to try and think about the success, but believing in the process and believing that what we do is good. And I think that I can speak for both of us that we always want to bring something special, something entertaining, something to make people happy or to inspire them — and that’s the drive.”
(Red Notice starts streaming on Netflix today.)