It’s no secret that Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have allegedly feuded on set, to the media, and on personal social media channels throughout the production of several Fast and Furious movies. Whether or not their verbal dustups and overall “feud” is just a clever marketing ploy to generate more interest in the series remains to be seen. But regardless of its validity, it’s hard to deny its entertainment. The Rock has previously referred to Diesel as a “candy ass” on Instagram and Diesel, who serves as co-producer of the franchise, has made passing references to their beef in the past. Two badass Hollywood leading men butting heads as they share the screen? Universal definitely knows how to sell a picture.
But in a recent sit down with Men’s Health, Diesel opened up about the origin of their tension from his point of view.
“It was a tough character to embody, the Hobbs character,” Diesel said. “My approach at the time was a lot of tough love to assist in getting that performance where it needed to be. 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.’”
I hate to break it to ya, Vin, but no one is buying a ticket to Fast and Furious in the hopes of seeing a Shakespearean performance. And it’s not as if Johnson was some stranger to the silver screen when he joined the series in 2011’s Fast Five. The wrestler turned actor had already led franchise-style pictures in The Scorpion King, Walking Tall, and Doom. He was shockingly hilarious in 2005’s Be Cool. He’s often the most charismatic presence in these blockbuster blow out shindigs. Still, Diesel says he stepped in to help shape his performance.
“Hobbs hits you like a ton of bricks. That’s something that I’m proud of, that aesthetic. That took a lot of work,” he told the outlet. “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.”
Johnson reprised his role in Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7 before getting his own spinoff film Hobbs & Shaw, with Jason Statham. That movie earned a cool $760 million worldwide, likely earning itself a sequel. It’s also the reason Johnson and Statham are not present in F9. But with two more Fast and Furious films slated to close out the franchise, it’s a good bet Dominic Toretto and Luke Hobbs will cross paths once again.