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Vin Diesel's Feud With The Rock Isn't Over Yet

2001's "The Fast and the Furious" found major success by all accounts, and in the years since, the franchise it spawned has more than left its mark on Hollywood. It has made several big-screen stars, taken in boatloads of money, — over $6 billion, in fact — and made front-page news on more than one occasion. One of the strongest examples of this phenomenon is the bitter feud between two of the series' biggest names, Vin Diesel and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. It took hold of the media several years ago, and has seemingly reemerged on the road to the premiere of "F9."

In an interview with Men's Health (via Slash Film), Diesel was asked about his experience working with Johnson in previous "Fast and Furious" installments. More specifically, he discussed the part he played in influencing Johnson's performance as Luke Hobbs. "My approach at the time was a lot of tough love to assist in getting that performance where it needed to be," Diesel said, noting that he went the extra mile to make Hobbs come off as an in-your-face, hard-hitting character and that he's proud of the final product. "I would do anything I'd have to do in order to get performances in anything I'm producing."

At first glance, this may just sound like Vin Diesel explaining an unorthodox method to get Dwayne Johnson's portrayal of Luke Hobbs just right. However, considering their personal history and various reports from their time working on "Fast and Furious" films together, Diesel's 2021 statement is completely recontextualized.

Rumors of the Dwayne Johnson-Vin Diesel feud spread like wildfire

This story begins on August 8, 2016, when Dwayne Johnson made a since-deleted Instagram post to voice his displeasure with someone on the "Fate of the Furious" set (via Vanity Fair). He outed an unnamed person for acting unprofessional and not backing up their behavior, clarifying that he was on good terms with most of the cast and crew otherwise. "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," he wrote, thus opening the floodgates for speculation to begin over who he's referring to.

Unsurprisingly, various news outlets ran with this developing story and spread the common belief that Vin Diesel was the person Dwayne Johnson was not-so-subtly pointing the finger at. According to TMZ, the two parties met up for a secret meeting on August 9, 2016, in hopes of putting their anger to rest, adding that the "Fate of the Furious" cast was unhappy with Johnson for causing a stir at the tail end of the shoot. Apparently, the clash stemmed from Diesel's position as a producer and his penchant for making changes that drew the ire of his co-star.

To add fuel to the fire, an anonymous source close to the project told People that the tension between the actors rode high for months. A common complaint was Johnson's apparent lack of punctuality, sometimes not appearing at all and stalling production. This angered Diesel, but he was far from absolved of any wrongdoing since he would engage in similar behavior, even locking himself in his trailer during the filming of "Furious 7." Their secret meeting was also touched upon, but what they discussed remains a mystery.

Both men gave off mixed signals

As word of the budding rivalry began to spread, Johnson hopped back on Instagram to try and quell any further rumors about him, Diesel, or anyone else connected to the "Fast and Furious" name. "And like with any team – that's a family – there's gonna be conflict. 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," he stated, once again addressing the on-set animosity but highlighting that the ability to work past it is what really matters.

Come August 19, Vin Diesel took to Facebook to speak directly on the subject, showing his appreciation for the fans for their support and letting them know that "Without you, I would not be doing Fast 8." He then detailed their involvement in Johnson landing the Hobbs role, to begin with, revealing, "We gave the role that was originally written for Tommy Lee Jones, we gave it to Dwayne, and he shined in it." Some took this as a sign that the two were on their way to finding common ground, but that turned out to be far from the case.

Either by total coincidence or as an indirect response to Diesel's video, Dwayne Johnson made a post of his own that same day on Instagram. He announced he'd wrapped up on "The Fate of the Furious" with a caption thanking numerous people involved in making the project a reality. Conspicuous by his absence was Vin Diesel, who wasn't among the several cast members named in the comment — indicating that Johnson hadn't seen Diesel's video or was unimpressed by what the Dominic Toretto actor had to say.

Water under the bridge?

Though few doubted that Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel weren't at odds, their fellow "Fate of the Furious" star, Michelle Rodriguez, set the record straight. She told People in September 2016 that "Any human being who knows what men are like knows to stay out [of those] situations and let them figure it out," making it abundantly clear that their feud went far beyond simple disagreements. Nevertheless, she clarified that the two were friends even in the face of their heated conflict and would put aside their differences sooner rather than later.

Months later, the press tour for "Fate of the Furious" was in full swing and Diesel expressed his love and appreciation for Johnson. "I don't think the world really realizes how close we are, in a weird way," he told USA Today on April 7, 2017, mentioning that "In my house, he's Uncle Dwayne." Two days later on Entertainment Tonight, Johnson posited that his issues with Diesel boiled down to "different philosophies" and that the most important thing at that juncture was the film itself. With that, TMZ reported on April 18 that the two were once again on good terms and that their beef was officially squashed.

With all of this backstory in mind, could Vin Diesel's most recent quip about "The Rock" and his acting abilities reopen old wounds? Perhaps, but that's a question that only time can answer.