2011’s Fast Five was an especially notable entry in the Fast and Furious franchise. Not only did it mark the film series’ de-emphasizing street racing and delivering more over-the-top action, it also introduced Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Luke Hobbs, who quickly became one of the most popular Fast and Furious characters and led a spinoff alongside Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw in 2019. However, Johnson and Vin Diesel, who’s played Dominic Toretto since the Fast and Furious franchise launched, haven’t always gotten along, and Diesel recently talked about “tough love” factored into their feud.
After more than a year of being delayed, F9 is finally racing into theaters this weekend, and while plenty of familiar faces are returning for this latest Fast and Furious installment, Dwayne Johnson is sitting this one out. Here’s what Vin Diesel had to say to Men’s Health about why he and Johnson have butted heads, particularly during Johnson’s early years on the franchise. In Diesel’s words:
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. As a producer to say, Okay, 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.
The feud between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson escalated in 2016, when Johnson called one of his Fast and Furious costars a “candyass” It was later confirmed that Johnson was referring to Diesel, as the two of them had frequently clashed during the making of The Fate of the Furious. That said, by early April 2017, shortly before the eighth Fast and Furious movie came out, Diesel said that he and Johnson were quite close and that things had just gotten a little out of hand. By 2019, nearly two months after the release of Hobbs & Shaw, Johnson thanked Diesel for all his support during the making of the spinoff, indicating that these two had indeed squashed their beef.
Now we know that when Dwayne Johnson joined the Fast and Furious franchise, Vin Diesel, in his duties as a producer, took a “tough love” approach with getting the WWE superstar to properly embody Luke Hobbs, the former DDS agent who initially tried to apprehend Dominic Toretto and his crew, but has since worked with them to fight the forces of evil. Diesel’s approach occasionally led to disagreements between him and Johnson, but in 2021, it sounds like these men are on good terms with one another. The question now is when will Dom and Hobbs reunite?
With two more movies left in the main Fast and Furious film series, there’s definitely no shortage of opportunities for Dwayne Johnson to participate in the finale, and director Justin Lin is certainly game for that happening. And let’s also not forget that even though it’s a ways off, Johnson is on deck to reunite with Jason Statham on Hobbs & Shaw 2, so he’s not leaving Luke Hobbs behind him anytime soon.