Dwayne Johnson might be the strongest actor in Hollywood, boasting enviable eyebrow athleticism and a back catalogue of blockbusters, but apparently there’s another man who can match him in both physique and charm.
‘Who is this specimen, rare as a unicorn, that can challenge our love and adoration for The People’s Champ?’, I hear you ask. Meet Tanoai Reed, a Hawaiian-born Hollywood stunt performer who also happens to be Johnson’s cousin… Because there can be no stronger gene pool than that of The Rock.
Don’t believe me? Just check out Dwayne playing ‘Bigger or smaller than The Rock’s bicep’ with UNILAD:
Tanoai Reed has followed his cousin’s film career avidly and has even performed as the stunt double of his cousin – who he calls ‘DJ’ – in many of his blockbuster Hollywood hits.
Amazingly, the relations actually met for the first time on set, Tanoai exclusively told UNILAD:
Working with DJ was literally a dream come true. We only first met on the set of his first starring role movie The Scorpion King. Before that, I admit I was a huge fan of his and was actually “The Rock” for Halloween the year before I started working with him.
While his days as a professional wrestler prepared 46-year-old Johnson for a multitude of stunts, it’s Reed who is the real pro – he’s racked up 23 years as a stuntman and has been doubling for Dwayne for the past 16 years. He steps in when the explosions get too hot for even The Rock to handle.
In 2002, Reed doubled for Johnson on the set of The Scorpion King, and started a partnership that’s lasted for over a decade – partly thanks to their uncanny resemblance, and their physical fitness, which clearly runs in the family.
Since, Reed has doubled for Johnson in Faster, The Other Guys, Pain & Gain, San Andreas, Be Cool, Gridiron Gang, the Fast & Furious franchise and Baywatch.
But it’s not all been smooth sailing; in 2003 Reed shattered his ankle while completing a dangerous stunt in The Rundown, which involved tumbling down a cliff side.
Tanoai recalled: “Being a stuntman had its ups and downs (no pun intended) but overall I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. We get paid to crash cars, jump off buildings and do other things most people wouldn’t normally get to do.”
You can check out the scene where the accident (probably) happened here:
The bumps and bruises seem to be water off a duck’s back, though. The cousins are part of the Anao’i family, a wrestling dynasty that goes back generations.
They even got matching traditional tattoos back in the nineties to honour their rich heritage of Samoan and Norwegian, Swedish and Irish descent.
Reed, 44, never got into the professional wrestling ring, but by the looks of his fitness regime – and his stint on American Gladiators – he could definitely give his cousin a run for his money.
Tanoai told UNILAD how he keeps as lean and healthy as The People’s Champ, explaining:
I have to stay in shape to double him. If he leans out, I need to lean out. If he packs on muscle for a certain role, I must do the same. I also need to be in great physical shape to perform the stunts I do so I won’t get injured.
We both have great genetics so our physiques are similar.
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I know what you're thinking….typical cheesy shirtless selfie like you see on all those narcissistic egomaniacs IG and FB posts. I just woke up this morning with a new ab (and tattoo by @sobellemakeup) I wanted to share what I've been doing. For the past 3 weeks I've been doing intermittent fasting, taking my SEX ( Strength Energy Xcelerator) pre and intra-workout supps by @steve_cardillo and 2 protein puddings a day by @muscleliciousfoods. Great combination to lean out, build muscle and feel great! #42isTheNew22 #FirstAndLastShirtlessSelfie #FakaNoAck #TrainHardTakeYourVitaminsAndSayYourPrayers
The ‘Samoan Stuntman’ added:
DJ eats very clean and works out very hard to achieve his look. It’s a great challenge for me, but it’s my career.
He motivates me and supports me as well. Lots of love and respect between the two of us.
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I wanna thank by good friend @gymsherpa for sending me this awesome bench by his company @vicorefitness. Its an air filled bench that supports the natural curve of your back and shoulders as you press. It also lets you get a great stretch in your chest and sternum while protecting your shoulders. It also works like a Bosu ball or an ab-ball requiring you to use your core to stabilize yourself. I love this thing! Check them out on their IG @vicorefitness . They have a new inexpensive portable bench like this called the "Terra-core". I'd recommend it over any flat bench.
Dwayne is renowned in the industry for being a family man, and it seems his cousin shares the same kind-hearted values.
He and his wife, stuntwoman Suzanne Reed, have one not-so-small child together, Samson, who is embarking on a promising career in college ball having previously accepted an offer to play for the Virginia Cavaliers while studying at the University of Virginia.
Reed is currently fundraising on GoFundMe for his local school gym, which is in a state of disrepair, and he’s hoping to give back to the community that raised him to be a world-class athlete.
Tanoai explained why the cause is so close to his heart, saying:
I’m currently trying to raise money for my Alma Mater Kahuku High School in Hawaii. It’s a very poor public school who’s facilities have been neglected by the State. The weight room equipment is old and everything is torn, broken or rusted.
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I'd like to wish the most realist, down to earth, humble, talented ( and almost as handsome as me), brother from another mother, my Uce Deuce Dwayne "DJ" @therock Johnson a very happy and blessed 45th birthday! I hope I look as good as you when I turn 45 in a year and a half😉. Thank you for being a great example not only to myself, but to all of the Polynesian youth, as well as every youth, woman and grown ass man from all over the world! 🙏🏽May the good Lord bless you with many more happy years to keep inspiring and sharing your Mana with the world! 🎂💪🏽💓🤙🏽
He concluded: “Kahuku High School is full of athletes (80 per cent of the students play a sport) and for most of these kids, an athletic scholarship is the only way they will be able to afford to go to college and continue their education. I just want to help give these kids the best and safest tools to work with so they can earn their future through hard work.”
It’s a message of fitness and determination The Rock himself, who you can expect to see in the upcoming reboot of Hobbs & Shaw later this year, would surely get behind.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.