It wouldn’t be a modern Fast and Furious press tour without the scent of feud permeating the air. Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, who have repeatedly and publicly clashed while making these high-octane action movies, are seemingly at it again, with Diesel reigniting the feud by claiming his behavior was actually just a manipulation tactic all along, implemented in order to coax out the performance he wanted from Johnson. (And no, he does not seem to be joking.)
In a new Men’s Health profile, it appears that Diesel was asked about the behind-the-scenes rifts between him and Dwayne Johnson – and like Dominic Toretto, Diesel saw a metaphorical window and hit the NOS button to fly right through it in order to take credit for Johnson’s performance.
“It was a tough character to embody, the Hobbs character,” Diesel told the magazine:
“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, kkay, 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.”
Is Diesel Delusional…or Brilliant?
So in Diesel’s mind, all of the shit-talking and the squabbling – which eventually spilled out into other members of the #family, like when Tyrese Gibson threatened to quit the franchise – was a game, a type of meta performance designed specifically to twist a desired outcome from Johnson’s acting. Whether or not Johnson was capable of or interested in delivering that performance without Diesel’s antics remains a mystery, but if you’re Johnson, I imagine it would be impossible to read Diesel’s words here and not be insulted. I mean, I realize that part was originally intended for Tommy Lee Jones, but I’m fairly certain that Dwayne Johnson (who’s nickname, if you’ll recall, is “The Rock”) is the one who brought the “aesthetic” of Hobbs to the table without much help from Diesel.
So will Johnson respond? And, perhaps more importantly, will director Justin Lin be able to convince these guys to bury the hatchet for real this time so they can reunite on screen in the upcoming Fast 10 or Fast 11, which are intended to be the conclusions of the Fast Saga?
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