The Grévin Museum in Paris found itself in the spotlight recently when its waxwork of Dwayne Johnson received widespread criticism for its light skin tone. The actor himself took note of the controversy and expressed his intention to have the statue updated to better reflect his appearance. On 25th October, the museum unveiled the revised waxwork, featuring a slightly darker skin tone while keeping the outfit and sculpture’s shape consistent with the original.
Yves Delhommeau, the museum’s managing director, acknowledged the mistake and the challenges of working with wax sculptures. He explained, “Painting on wax is very complicated. It’s a long process, like oil painting. They worked on his skin texture using photos. And we know that Dwayne Johnson looks very different from one photo to the next. We’re going to work on this amazing waxwork so it better represents him.”
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Dwayne Johnson has not yet issued a response to the updated waxwork. In his initial Instagram post addressing the issue, Johnson humourously mentioned his plans to visit the museum on his next trip to Paris, quipping, “Next time I’m in Paris, I’ll stop in and have a drink with myself.”
Veronique Berecz, the museum’s head of public relations, spoke about the reasons for the initial mistake. She mentioned that the museum had to rely on photographs as they didn’t have the opportunity to meet Dwayne Johnson in person. Berecz explained that working from photos can be challenging due to variations in skin tones caused by different lighting conditions.
“We didn’t get to meet Dwayne Johnson, so we used several photos – but as it turns out, pictures can be very tricky because the nuances of skin tones can differ depending on the lighting on photos,” Berecz stated. Sculptors faced the intricate task of determining precise facial and body shapes without the benefit of an in-person meeting, which made the process even more challenging.
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To recreate Dwayne Johnson’s iconic physique, the museum conducted a casting of models based on his body measurements. Finding a model with a similar body type to Johnson’s, with a towering height of 6’5″ and bulging muscles, proved to be a significant undertaking. They eventually located a suitable model in a bodybuilding club.
Berecz clarified that the museum’s actions were not driven by any intention to whitewash Johnson’s figure. She emphasized that the lighter skin tone was an honest mistake based on the photos they had at their disposal.
To create an accurate representation of Dwayne Johnson, the sculpting team even visited gyms. The museum’s artists devoted ten days to meticulously recreating Johnson’s Samoan tattoos, requiring extensive research to ensure accuracy.
Image Courtesy: Madame Tussauds
The Grévin Museum in Paris boasts approximately 450 wax figurines representing figures from French history, some dating back to its original opening in the late 19th century. These figures include prominent politicians, scientists, entertainers, musicians and athletes, making it a renowned attraction for those interested in history and culture.