It’s no secret Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson don’t exactly get along. In fact, their infamous feud was well-established while filming multiple Fast and Furious films, with Johnson even calling his co-star names like “chicken shit” and “candy ass.” Now, in a new Men’s Health profile, Diesel is explaining what all that beef was about in the first place, per IndieWire.
“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, ‘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.’”
Over the course of eight years, Johnson appeared as Luke Hobbs in three Fast movies: 2011’s Fast Five, 2013’s Fast & Furious 6, and 2019’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. While Diesel has starred in the film franchise as Dominic Toretto, he’s also produced the hit action films.
He added, “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.”
Diesel’s comments come years after their feud first blew up in 2016, with Johnson posting a photo on Instagram to commemorate his final week filming Fast and Furious 8 that TMZ speculated was about Diesel. “My male co-stars … are a different story. Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don’t,” he wrote at the time, per Us Weekly. “The ones that don’t are too chicken s–t 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.”
Diesel later told USA Today that the tension between the two was “blown out of proportion.” He explained, “I don’t think the world really realizes how close we are, in a weird way,” adding, “I know he appreciates how much I work this franchise. In my house, he’s Uncle Dwayne.”
Johnson hasn’t appeared in the any Fast & Furious films since Hobbs & Shaw, and is also absent from the latest, F9. Back in 2018, Johnson told Rolling Stone he wasn’t sure if he’d work with Diesel on another film, but insisted he wished him “all the best.”