Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel are not pals. They have not seen eye-to-eye for years now. In the latest round of hostilities, Johnson firmly rejected Diesel’s invitation to return to the Fast and Furious franchise and accused his former co-star of “manipulation” by bringing in his (Diesel’s, that is) children and Paul Walker, the late actor who was one of the lead actors in the series.
In November, Diesel had shared a still of their characters from The Fate of the Furious on Instagram and told his “little brother” Johnson that “the time has come”. He added that he promised Pablo (Vin Diesel’s nickname for Paul Walker) that he would make the best Fast & Furious finale.
“I say this out of love… but you must show up, do not leave the franchise idle you have a very important role to play,” Diesel continued.
Johnson, in a CNN interview, said: “I told [Diesel] directly that I would not be returning to the franchise. I was firm yet cordial with my words and said that I would always be supportive of the cast and always root for the franchise to be successful, but that there was no chance I would return,” he said.
He added, “Vin’s recent public post was an example of his manipulation. I didn’t like that he brought up his children in the post, as well as Paul Walker’s death. Leave them out of it. We had spoken months ago about this and came to a clear understanding.”
Johnson entered the franchise with 2011’s Fast Five as an agent of the Diplomatic Security Service. He reprised the role in 2013’s Fast & Furious 6, 2015’s Furious 7 (2015) and 2017’s The Fate of the Furious.
The fans did not know what was going on behind the scenes. We got the first whiff of the stars’ differences when Johnson shared a very revealing post on Instagram. And the feud became public. The now-deleted post read, “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 s**t to do anything about it anyway. Candy a**es. 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.”
Later, while speaking to Vanity Fair, Johnson said that while he meant what he said, he regrets posting it on a social media platform. “It caused a firestorm. Yet interestingly enough…[it was] as if every single crew member found their way to me and either quietly thanked me or sent me a note. But, yeah, it wasn’t my best day, sharing that. I shouldn’t have shared that. Because at the end of the day, that goes against my DNA. I don’t share things like that. And I take care of that kind of bulls**t away from the public,” said the superstar.
Talking about a subsequent meeting with his former co-star, Johnson said, “He (Diesel) and I had a good chat in my trailer, and it was out of that chat that it really became just crystal clear that we are two separate ends of the spectrum. And agreed to leave it there.”
While Johnson refused to do F9, he did star in the spinoff movie Hobbs & Shaw alongside Jason Statham.
Earlier in 2021, Vin Diesel said that the reason for the enmity between them was because of the “tough love” he was giving to Johnson to bring out his best performance.
In an interview with Men’s Health, Diesel said, “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. 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.”
Responding to the comments, Johnson told Vanity Fair, “One part of me feels like there’s no way I would dignify any of that bulls**t with an answer. But here’s the truth. I’ve been around the block a lot of times. Unlike him, I did not come from the world of theater. And, you know, I came up differently and was raised differently. And I came from a completely different culture and environment. And I go into every project giving it my all. And if I feel that there’s some things that need to be squared away and handled and taken care of, then I do it. And it’s just that simple. So when I read that, just like everybody else, I laughed. I laughed hard. We all laughed.”