In 2017, reports claimed that the Fast & Furious co-stars had been deliberately kept apart on the press tour for The Fate of the Furious. On his Instagram, Johnson then dubbed an anonymous male cast member a “candy ass” and “chicken s**t”.
During an interview with Rolling Stone in 2018, Johnson appeared to confirm his feud with Diesel, explaining that the pair have “a fundamental difference in philosophies on how we approach moviemaking and collaborating”.
Now Diesel has explained that his difficulties with Johnson stemmed from his own “tough love” approach to the performances of his co-stars. Diesel, who also produces the Fast & Furious movies, claimed that Johnson’s character in the franchise was a difficult one to play, and that audiences needed to be able to forget that Johnson was once a professional wrestler.
“My approach at the time was a lot of tough love to assist in getting that performance where it needed to be,” Diesel told 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 – [Johnson’s character] hits you like a ton of bricks. That’s something that I’m proud of, that aesthetic. That took a lot of work.”
It bears stating that Johnson may have been offended by Diesel’s notes as he had been acting for more than a decade before he had joined the Fast & Furious franchise. He had even phased out his old wrestling name, The Rock, and began being credited as strictly “Dwayne Johnson” in 2008.
Johnson does not appear in this month’s F9 – the ninth entry in the Fast & Furious franchise. This week Diesel claimed that the cast and crew’s goal while filming the movie was to make it “the best movie ever made”.
Diesel also recently teased that the daughter of the late Paul Walker could one day star in the franchise.