Vin Diesel is addressing the feud with his Fast & Furious franchise co-star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. It was a subject that was inevitably going to come up as Diesel does pres for the latest Fast & Furious movie, F9; when the last film in the series hit theaters in 2017 (The Fate of the Furious) Diesel and The Rock were not on friendly terms. Social media posts from Rock hinted at major on-set beef between him and Diesel, but the two action stars managed to play nice by the time TFotF was out. And yet, after that Rock got his own spinoff lane of the franchise - so what's really going on?
In an interview with Men's Health, Vin Diesel re-affirmed that the conflict between him and Dwayne Johnson is now settled. In fact, in the interview Diesel somewhat implies that the tension between him and Johnson was somehow part of some planned approach to soliciting the necessary onscreen performance(s) from The Rock? As Diesel explains:
"As a producer, to say, 'Okay, we're going to take Dwayne Johnson, who's associated with wrestling, and we're going to force this cinematic world, audience members, to regard his character as someone that they don't know' — Hobbs hits you like a ton of bricks."
That's something that I'm proud of, that aesthetic. That took a lot of work. We had to get there and sometimes, at that time, I could give a lot of tough love. Not Felliniesque, but I would do anything I'd have to do in order to get performances in anything I'm producing."
That statement from Vin Diesel may reasonably explain how he coached The Rock way back in Fast Five (2011). However, it doesn't quite explain why Johnson was throwing the following shade on Instagram in 2016 while filming Fate of the Furious:
This is my final week of shooting Fast & Furious 8. There's no other franchise that gets my blood boiling more than this one. An incredible hard working crew. Universal Studios Entertainment has been great partners as well. My female co-stars are always amazing and I love 'em. My male co-stars however are a different story. Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don't. The ones that don't are too chicken shit to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses. When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I'm not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling - you're right.
Bottom line is it'll play great for the movie and fits this Hobbs character that's embedded in my DNA extremely well. The producer in me is happy about this part. Final week on FAST 8 and I will finish strong.
Right now, Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson have enough space to hold up separate ends of the Fast & Furious franchise without tripping over one another. That may soon change, though: there are two more (final) chapters of the Fast Saga planned, and fans will be expecting to see The Rock return as Luke Hobbs to help bring the story full-circle to the finish line. And that will mean Johnson in actual scenes interacting with Diesel - rather than the awkwardly clear distance that Dominic Toretto and Luke Hobbs kept from one another, during the last film.
F9 hits theaters on Friday, June 25th.