Vin Diesel has shed new light on his rumored feud with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the Fast & Furious franchise. The two have reportedly been at odds on and off throughout the filming of the last few movies. This week, Diesel spoke to Men's Health about F9, where he revealed that the root of the issue was creative differences over Johnson's character, Luke Hobbs.
"It was a tough character to embody, the Hobbs character. My approach at the time was a lot of tough love to assist in getting that performance where it needed to be," he said. "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."
Johnson joined the Fast & Furious franchise in Fast Five back in 2011, and has appeared in every movie since including the spinoff, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. Diesel said that he's "proud" of how the characterization has worked out, and says that his tension with Johnson arose from simply trying to get it right.
"That took a lot of work. We had to get there and sometimes, at that time, I could give a lot of tough love," he admitted. "Not Felliniesque, but I would do anything I'd have to do in order to get performances in anything I'm producing."
Reports of a feud between Johnson and Diesel really started in 2016 during the filming of the eighth movie, The Fate of the Furious. At the time, Johnson was the one who took things public. He posted on Instagram saying that some people on set "conduct themselves as stand-up men and true professionals, while others don't. The ones that don't are too chicken s– 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."
Johnson explained himself years later in an interview with Rolling Stone, saying: "Vin and I had a few discussions, including an important face-to-face in my trailer. And what I came to realize is that we have a fundamental difference in philosophies on how we approach moviemaking and collaborating. It took me some time, but I'm grateful for that clarity. Whether we work together again or not. I wish him all the best and I harbor no ill will there, just because of the clarity we have. Actually, you can erase that last part about 'no ill will.' We'll just keep it with the clarity."
Johnson's character Hobbs is notably missing from F9, the latest installment of the franchise. It hits theaters on Friday, June 25 in the U.S. It will not be streaming like other recent movie releases.