The relationship between The Rock and Vin Diesel appeared to be deteriorating in 2016 while filming Fast & Furious 8. At the time, Dwayne Johnson referred to “candy asses” on the movie set who didn’t conduct themselves as professionals. A couple years later, The Rock clarified that he and Vin Diesel have a “fundamental difference in philosophies on how we approach moviemaking and collaborating.” The two Hollywood stars buried the hatchet shortly thereafter once The Rock made a boatload of money from the spinoff movie Hobbs & Shaw.
In a recent interview with Men’s Health, Diesel admitted that he brought some “tough love” on set to evoke the desired performance from The Rock:
“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.”
I usually roll my eyes at the concept of “tough love”, which can easily produce more harm than good. In the case of Vin Diesel and The Rock, it seems that Diesel miscalculated when he thought The Rock would be receptive to that approach.
With Fast & Furious 9 set to premiere in the United States this weekend, The Rock has (at least temporarily) exited the franchise while John Cena takes his spot. We can only speculate if Dwayne Johnson will eventually return to the series and lay the smack down on Vin Diesel or John Cena’s candy ass.