Call it the feud of the furious. During the filming of the eighth Fast & Furious film, The Fate of the Furious, tensions mounted between its two alpha-male stars, Vin Diesel (who plays outlaw-with-a-heart-of-gold Dominic Torretto) and Dwayne Johnson (who plays DSS agent-turned-ally Luke Hobbs). As it happens, the real-life spat dovetails with the plot of The Fate of the Furious (in theaters April 14), in which Dom inexplicably turns against his own crew, who must band together to stop him. But the feud between Diesel and Johnson was no publicity stunt. Here’s a complete timeline of Vin and The Rock’s beef and the rumors it stirred, from that first Instagram post in August to last week’s awkward red carpet appearance.
August 8, 2016
The Instagram post that started it all: Dwayne Johnson announces his final week of shooting and calls out some unnamed “male co-stars” for their on-set behavior. “Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don’t,” Johnson writes. “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.” Media outlets immediately begin speculating on who Johnson’s post is actually about.
Tyrese Gibson assures fans on Instagram that Johnson’s message wasn’t about him, writing, ” I don’t know WHO he has a problem [with] and I don’t have any details of WHAT those problems are – as a matter of fact if I DID know I would tell you s–t!!!”” He deletes the post almost immediately.
Later in the day, TMZ breaks the story that Johnson was talking about Diesel. The website reports that the stars had a “secret meeting” on the Atlanta set that day, “partly because tensions were running so high it was almost impossible to shoot scenes.”
An E! News source says tensions were high on the shoot, which was “especially” hard on Johnson because he’s “a very emotional guy.” The source claims that “all is cool now.”
In a follow-up Instagram post, Johnson thanks the film’s stuntmen and production team. “And like with any team – that’s a family – there’s gonna be conflict,” he writes. “Family is gonna have differences of opinion and fundamental core beliefs. To me, conflict can be a good thing, when its followed by great resolution.”
TMZ reports that the feud is not resolved. “We’re told Vin went to Rock’s trailer and demanded to know why he was talking trash,” writes the website. Reportedly, Diesel left set just minutes after filming his final scene with Johnson, and his goodbyes to the cast and crew included the words “Daddy’s gone” (he thinks of himself as the franchise’s father figure).
According to People, “tension has been building for months” between the two stars. “Vin has been having problems with The Rock because The Rock keep showing up late for production,” a source tells the magazine.
Page Six has its own source, which reports that Vin is the tardy one. “Vin has a reputation for being difficult — he shows up late, keeps people waiting, holds up production and is disrespectful to people on the set,” says the source. “Dwayne lost his patience with him.”
Watch a trailer for ‘The Fate of the Furious’:
Vin Diesel speaks out (sort of) in an Instagram video message, promising fans, “I will tell you everything. Everything.” He does not elaborate further.
Tyrese posts a bro-y love letter to Vin Diesel on Instagram, seeming to confirm that he is Team Vin. “I’ve always said that if ONLY people knew how hard you work to protect this franchise and characters, minds would be blown,” he writes.
Ludacris also appears to declare his allegiance on Instagram with a #tbt photo of the Fast Five cast. Johnson was in that film, but Ludacris’ behind-the-scenes snap doesn’t include him.
Members of the Fate of the Furious crew trash Diesel to TMZ. According to the anonymous sources, Johnson is a true professional who’s easy to work with and always on time, while Diesel is late, rude to everyone, and likes to criticize his co-stars’ acting.
To commemorate the end of filming, Universal posts a thank-you message and a cast photo on the official Fast & Furious Facebook page, showing everyone — Vin and Dwayne included — as one big, happy family.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals what allegedly prompted that first Instagram post on Aug. 8: Earlier that day, Diesel was hanging out in his trailer for hours while the cast and crew, Johnson among them, waited outside for him in 90-degree heat. The next day, said the source, Diesel confronted Johnson “over the post and a joke Johnson said on his HBO show Ballers about being ‘better looking’ than Diesel, leading to a heated exchange in Johnson’s trailer.”
Johnson posts a thank-you message to the “entire FAST family” on Instagram, thanking by name director F. Gary Gray Scott and co-stars Scott Eastwood, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Tyrese… but not Diesel.
Diesel turns the other cheek in a Facebook Live video, praising Johnson’s performance in the franchise. “The reason we brought Dwayne Johnson into Fast 5 was because of you!” Diesel tells viewers. “There was a girl named Jan Kelly who said, ‘I would love to see you work together on screen.’ So the role that was originally written for Tommy Lee Jones, we gave it to Dwayne and he shined in it.”
A rumor emerges in Life & Style that the entire “feud” is a WWE publicity stunt. “The Rock convinced Vin to amp up the drama between them so they could turn it into a WWE match to help promote the April 2017 release of Fast 8,” says the magazine’s source. (Sadly, this one proves untrue.)
Jason Statham tells People that he’s staying out of this whole thing. “I have nothing to do with it and I don’t want any part of it,” he says.
New costar Scott Eastwood tells Us Weekly that he didn’t notice any tension during shooting, saying, “We had barbecues, like, every day on set.”
Michelle Rodriguez tells People that the fight is normal “bro” stuff, and that “at the end of the day, the movie is “bigger than all of us.”
Johnson (who has just been named People’s Sexiest Man Alive) stands by his Instagram post in an interview with the LA Times. “I was very clear with what I said. I’ve been in the game a long time,” he tells the newspaper. “Would Universal [Pictures] have preferred that didn’t happen? Sure, we talked about it. The irony is after that and as they do their tracking and all their analysis, the interest shot through the roof to a whole other level.”
February 5, 2017
The full-length trailer hits the internet.
The official Fate of the Furious poster is released. At the very top are Diesel and Johnson, glaring at each other.
As the film’s press tour begins, insiders tell THR that the stars are being kept apart and will not appear side-by-side at promotional events. Universal tells the trade publication that it’s nothing but a scheduling issue.
Diesel tells USA Today that the whole story has been “blown out of proportion,” saying that he and the Rock are friends. “In my house, he’s Uncle Dwayne,” says Diesel. He adds that as producer, it’s his job to “protect” the franchise. “I protected Dwayne more than he’ll ever know. And it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t have to know. But he appreciates it. He knows it,” says Diesel. “Dwayne has only got one Vin in his life. Dwayne Johnson only has one big brother in this film world and that’s me.”
The New York Post does a big story on the feud, with multiple sources saying that there was is no Fate of the Furious press junket because the two stars can’t be in the same room together. While everyone agrees that Diesel calls the shots in the Fast & Furious franchise, one insider says that the Johnson is the only other star big enough to “legitimately stand up and bust him.”
At the Fate of the Furious premiere, the actors speak separately to Entertainment Tonight. “We still love each other, that’s my boy,” Diesel says of Johnson. “When I was making that difficult decision, should there be an 8 or not, I called [Johnson] and he said, ‘Brother, I will be there shoulder to shoulder with you to make sure it’s the best movie in history.’ And he delivered.” Says Johnson, “Just like, in life, you have different philosophies and people have different fundamental philosophies on how you do things. And again, the most important thing is just the movie.”
‘Fate of the Furious’ director F. Gary Gray on the movie’s 4 wildest stunts: