You know those credits most of us used to skip before Marvel Studios trained us to wait until the end? Well, one of the reasons they exist is because of the very long list of people — most of whom you will never see on screen — needed to create any major motion picture. According to Dwayne Johnson, it was in part because of the treatment of the unseen heroes on the sets of the Fast & Furious film series that he finally made his private feud with co-star Vin Diesel public. Johnson also says those same crew members thanked him for it.
Speaking to Vanity Fair this week, Dwayne Johnson said his 2016 decision to call Vin Diesel a “candy ass” in a since deleted Instagram post (via ScreenRant) — though he didn’t mention Diesel or anyone else by name — sparked “a firestorm.” But as much as he now regrets making the matter public, he said apparently the crew of the film was grateful for it. He said it was as if “every single crew member” found their different ways to discreetly thank him.
Exactly what did Vin Diesel allegedly do to crew members to incur Dwayne Johnson’s wrath? The Rock wasn’t specific about that, but when asked about how he and Diesel are different, he told Vanity Fair that the two approach moviemaking in “two very different ways.” He went on to punctuate the importance of “looking at the crew…as equal partners—with respect and with humility.” The implication, of course, being that this is precisely what Diesel allegedly does not do.
This synchs with what TMZ reported at the time. The site credited unnamed production crew sources with the word that while Dwayne Johnson was a thorough professional who always crushed his scenes and was “easy to work with,” that in contrast Diesel would allegedly keep production crews waiting for him for no specific reason, and was overall arrogant on set.
The Instagram post that started it all went up and down in 2016, during the final week of shooting on The Fate of the Furious. At the time, no one was sure exactly who Johnson was talking about and, as ScreenRant recalls, once it was known that the static was between Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel, some thought it might actually be a publicity stunt or even the part of a ramp up for a future wrestling match between the two.
According to Dwayne Johnson, the feud was only too real. In fact, he told Vanity Fair that he only agreed to appear in The Fate of the Furious on the condition that he didn’t appear in any scenes with Diesel.
Dwayne Johnson did, however, appear in scenes with Jason Statham in The Fate of the Furious, and according to The Wrap, one of them was cut because of Vin Diesel’s anger. The site claimed unnamed sources told them a scene with Johnson and Statham was filmed without Diesel’s knowledge and that the scene did extremely well with test audiences and had the word “spin-off” on everyone’s lips. The site says Diesel allegedly phoned NBC Universal in a fury when he found out and had the scene scrapped. Of course since Johnson and Statham starred in 2019’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, we know if it was Diesel’s intention to cut off a spin-off at the pass, he wasn’t successful.