Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Vin Diesel – how did the friendship start?
The Rock is one of the most charismatic and influential professional wrestlers in the history of the WWE. Furthermore, he was one of the cornerstones and driving forces behind the success of the much-acclaimed Attitude Era of the WWE.
He later transitioned into Hollywood and has now become one of the biggest box-office attractions and is also the highest paid actor in the world in 2016, according to Forbes. Much of The Rock’s success in the movie business, has been due to the overwhelming success of the Fast and Furious movies that he has been a part of.
How did it all begin? How did the collaboration between The Rock with Vin Diesel and with the Fast and Furious franchise come about?
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The Fast and Furious franchise is one of the most popular action film franchises, which is centred around illegal car racing and robberies.
The story mainly revolves around Dominic Toretto, a charismatic thug played by Vin Diesel and a cop Brian O’Connor, portrayed by the late Paul Walker. Later we were introduced to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s character of Luke Hobbs, a DSS agent through the fifth instalment of the series titled ‘Fast Five’ in 2011.
It couldn’t have come at a better time. After the first four releases, the general consensus among the fans and even some of the cast members, was that the story has grown stale and has outgrown the target audience.
It came to the point, that one of the most integral and beloved cast members of the series, Paul Walker, was on the verge of quitting the series, lamenting the inability of the latter movies to truly connect with their audience.
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Rumours began swirling around in mid-2010 that an appearance by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in the upcoming fifth entry in the franchise, was in the works. It was later announced that The Rock had indeed signed for the next movie in the series titled ‘Fast Five’, which was released in 2011.
For many, The Rock’s introduction in 2011 was the much-needed shot in the arm for the franchise. His unquestionable charisma, a kinetic blast of sheer enthusiasm and his infectious zeal provided for the necessary dose of adrenaline for a stale movie series. The Rock’s Luke Hobbs proved to be the perfect foil for Vin Diesel’s Dominic Torreto character.
The movie went on to do better than expected, and The Rock continued and reprised his role in the subsequent movies. The next two movies did even better and the latest one– Fast and Furious 7 broke all-time box office records.
The part of Luke Hobbs was initially written for Tommy Lee Jones, and the original character description was in stark contrast to what it was ultimately being portrayed by Dwayne Johnson. The original character was supposed to be a gruff, older man to better suit Tommy Lee Jones.
However, Vin Diesel came across a fan comment on his Facebook page, where the fan suggested that it would be fun to see The Rock and Vin Diesel tangle on the big screen. Later Vin Diesel convinced the director of the film, Justin Lin, to cast The Rock instead for the role of Luke Hobbs.
They later had to redesign and rewrite the character to fit The Rock’s bulky frame and enlarged physique.
The cast is notorious for being a family on and off screen, so nobody could have foreseen friction between The Rock and Vin Diesel. However, that’s exactly what happened if we are to believe Rock’s cryptic and semi-cryptic social media activity, in August of 2016.
The Rock posted an Instagram image, where he insinuated that he had ‘beef’ with some of the male stars. He did not mention any names but several implications were made, that The Rock was specifically referring to Vin Diesel.
It was claimed by various media outlets that The Rock’s anger was directed at Vin Diesel, as Vin Diesel always showed up late on the set for filming and spent far too much time inside his trailer.
The speculation grew even further when The Rock posted another Instagram image, after wrapping up the shooting of Fast and Furious 8, thanking and mentioning everyone by name except for Vin Diesel. The cast was very much divided on this supposed issue, between the two muscle-bound stars with many taking sides.
Later the two had an alleged meeting which was reportedly futile
This is my final week of shooting #FastAndFurious8. There's no other franchise that gets my blood boiling more than this one. An incredible hard working crew. UNIVERSAL has been great partners as well. My female co-stars are always amazing and I love 'em. My male co-stars however are a different story. Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don't. The ones that don't are too chicken shit 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. Bottom line is it'll play great for the movie and fits this Hobbs character that's embedded in my DNA extremely well. The producer in me is happy about this part. Final week on FAST 8 and I'll finish strong. #IcemanCometh #F8 #ZeroToleranceForCandyAsses
The situation seemed to have simmered down when Vin Diesel actually mentioned The Rock by name, in a Facebook Live video and had nothing but positive things to say about his co-star.
"The reason we brought Dwayne Johnson into Fast 5 was because of you (the fans)," he said.
"There was a girl named Jan Kelly who said, 'I would love to see you work together on screen.' So the role that was originally written for Tommy Lee Jones, we gave to Dwayne and he shined in it," he added.
An interesting theory that was making rounds, was that the story of a feud was cooked up to build interest and was a mere publicity for the next movie in the franchise Fast and Furious 8, which is slated to release in April 2017
Hopefully, if there was ever any fallout, it would be or could have already been resolved, as they edge closer to an ‘all hands on deck’ promotional drive for the latest instalment.
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