Diesel, 53, is a producer on the franchise so when Johnson 49, took on the role of Luke Hobbs, he had an opinion about what that should look like.
“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,” the Guardians of the Galaxy actor said in the latest issue of Men’s Health. “As a producer to say, ‘OK, 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.”
Diesel added that he’s “proud” of the aesthetic they created for Hobbs and just wanted to make sure it was executed 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 shared of his conversations with the former wrestler. “Not Felliniesque, but I would do anything I’d have to do in order to get performances in anything I’m producing.”
Reports of the pair’s feud first surfaced in 2016 when they filmed the eighth movie of the franchise, The Fate of the Furious. During the last week of filming, The Rock posted via Instagram 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–t to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses.”
He added, “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.”
Two years later, the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star shared insight into the conversations he had with Diesel.
“Vin and I had a few discussions, including an important face-to-face in my trailer,” the Young Rock creator told Rolling Stone magazine at the time. “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 clarify. Whether we work together again or not.”
He added: “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.”
In February 2019, Fast & Furious star Michelle Rodriguez opened up exclusively with Us Weekly about the beef between the actors and why it didn’t come as a surprise to her.
“Boys will be boys,” the Texas native, 42, said at the time. “And you know what? There’s always some sort of conflict when tribes meet and they get bigger. I think that’s the world, that’s globalization. We’re seeing it right now with nationalism, all over the planet. So I’m not surprised that the tribe back home is arguing too!”