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Vin Diesel is talking about what it was like to work with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson when he first joined the “Fast and Furious” franchise — specifically how much work went into getting Johnson’s character right for the “Fast” family.
In the July/August cover story of Men’s Health, Diesel revealed it took “a lot of tough love” and “a lot of work” to get Johnson’s federal agent Luke Hobbs character right for his entry into the franchise for 2011’s “Fast 5.”
“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.”
Diesel, who plays the franchise lead Dominic Toretto and by that time was also a producer on the movies, noted that he had to take that “tough love” approach because the way he saw it, Johnson was coming in known best as his “The Rock” persona from his years as a popular WWE wrestler. But Diesel wanted the Hobbs character to be someone audiences “don’t know.”
“That’s something that I’m proud of, that aesthetic,” Diesel continued. “That took a lot of work. We had to get there and sometimes, at that time, I could give a lot of tough love.”
Insider reached out to Johnson’s rep for comment but didn’t get a response.
That “tough love” approach could be part of the reason behind the reported feud between Diesel and Johnson in the years that followed as Johnson’s character became more ingrained in the franchise.
Their beef became pubic in August 2016 during Johnson’s final week of shooting “The Fate of the Furious,” the eighth installment in the movie series. The “Jungle Cruise” star took to Facebook to call out some of his male costars for being “candy a–es,” writing that some don’t “conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals.” It turned out Johnson was calling out Diesel.
The two talked it out later, Johnson told Rolling Stone, following a face-to-face meeting in his trailer.
Johnson went on to star opposite Jason Statham in the “Fast and Furious” spinoff movie, 2019’s “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” but it’s still not known if the Hobbs character will ever share the screen with Diesel’s Toretto again.
Diesel plays the character again in the latest “Fast” movie, “F9,” opening in theaters on Friday.