Johnson first joined the famous franchise in 2011 for Fast Five and was last seen alongside Diesel in 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, before getting a spin-off with Jason Statham, Hobbs & Shaw, in 2019.
‘It was a tough character to embody, the Hobbs character,’ Diesel told Men’s Health. ‘My approach at the time was a lot of tough love to assist in getting that performance where it needed to be.’
Not only has Vin portrayed the racing ringleader Dominic Toretto in every installment of the series (except 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious), he’s also served as a producer with the fourth Fast & Furious film in 2009 through his One Race Films production company.
‘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,’ he said.
‘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.’
While all seems well again between Dwayne and Vin, that was certainly not the case a few years ago as sources noted a feud had been brewing between the stars while filming The Fate of the Furious in 2016.
‘Tension has been building up for months,’ an insider told PEOPLE magazine at the time. ‘Vin has been having problems with The Rock because The Rock keeps showing up late for production,’ the insider said. ‘Sometimes he doesn’t show up at all and he’s delaying the production.’
Johnson and Diesel reportedly hashed out their issues during a secret meeting in 2018 and squashed any beef.
‘Vin and I had a few discussions, including an important face-to-face in my trailer,’ the former professional wrestler told Rolling Stone. ‘And what I came to realize is that we have a fundamental difference in philosophies on how we approach moviemaking and collaborating. It took me some time, but I’m grateful for that clarity. Whether we work together again or not.’
He added: ‘But I wish him all the best, and I harbor no ill will there, just because of the clarity we have … Actually, you can erase that last part about “no ill will.” We’ll just keep it with the clarity.’
F9, starring Charlize Theron, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Anna Sawai, Vin Diesel, Justin Lin, Jordana Brewster, Shad Moss and Sung Kang, races into theaters on June 25.