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How Red Notice staged an A-list brawl between Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot

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Rawson Marshall Thurber had everything a filmmaker could ask for on Red Notice: a big budget (reportedly Netflix's steepest to date), and even bigger stars in Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot.

The Dodgeball writer-director, who originally cut his teeth in comedy before leaping into action alongside Johnson with 2018's Skyscraper, is now doubling down with this globe-trotting adventure about a top FBI profiler (Johnson's John Hartley) who teams up with a wisecracking criminal (Reynolds' Nolan Booth) to catch the world's most wanted art thief (Gadot's "The Bishop").

His favorite sequence finds the trio battling over a valuable egg stashed in the secret Spanish lair of a mustache-twirling villain (Chris Diamantopoulos): "It's representative of the fun and swashbuckling nature of the movie."

RED NOTICE
RED NOTICE

Frank Masi/Netflix

THE MUSCLE

Red Notice marks Thurber's third consecutive collaboration with Johnson after Central Intelligence and Skyscraper. That history comes with both a shared shorthand and a significant challenge: to push it even further. "Working with Dwayne, who is the biggest movie star in the world, the bar is very high," he says. "Every time, I'm trying to show him something he hasn't done before." Thurber hoped to do that here by setting the fight in close quarters in a hall of arms with "all the weapons we could find."

THE SIDEKICK

Thurber jokes that his movie is "Fast & Furious 9.5," considering the acting trio's prior experience in the mega-franchise (RIP Gisele!). Action-movie cred aside, it was Hobbs & Shaw stars Reynolds and Johnson's breezy real-life camaraderie, not their brawn, that most easily translated to their roles as a mismatched pair with very different skills. "They have incredible chemistry together both on set and off," says Thurber. "When the cameras aren't rolling, they're yukking it up just as much as they are when we put them in front of the camera." And when those cameras were rolling, Thurber appreciated that Reynolds was more than happy to focus on cracking jokes and not skulls. "Choreographing a fight with three giant movie stars, you need to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to shine," shares the director of Reynolds taking on the scene's comedic weight. "Ryan was perfectly fine to not be as good a fighter as Gal and DJ."

THE GORGEOUS HEAVY

As the illustrious "Bishop," Gadot swapped her Lasso of Truth for a Versace dress. And, according to Thurber, the only real concern with her glamorous outfit was making sure that there was a slit long enough to allow this different kind of wonder woman to land a few nasty kicks on Johnson and Reynolds. "We wanted the sequence to be fun, dangerous, and a little bit red," says Thurber, who was surprised by Gadot's athleticism. "This role is much closer to who Gal is. She's really funny, very charming, and a little wicked."

Red Notice premieres Nov. 12 on Netflix.

To read more from our Fall Movie Preview, order the November issue of Entertainment Weekly or find it on newsstands now. Don't forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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