Dwayne Johnson has a reputation for being a very likable guy—he really goes out of his way to connect with fans on social media—but there’s one person he definitely does not get along with: Vin Diesel. The pair had a falling out during the filming of 2016’s The Fate of the Furious, in which Johnson played the role of Hobbs. That feud has been simmering ever since, but it returned to the spotlight this fall when Diesel posted on Instagram asking “little brother Dwayne” to return to the franchise. In a recent interview with CNN, Johnson made public his response to that request: Absolutely not.
“I was very surprised by Vin’s recent post,” Johnson told CNN. “This past June, when Vin and I actually connected not over social media, I told him directly—and privately—that I would not be returning to the franchise.”
That makes Diesel’s post, which came months after he and Johnson apparently spoke in person, even more bizarre. For Johnson, however, these kind of tactics are exactly why he and his Fast and Furious co-star didn’t get along in the first place.
“Vin’s recent public post was an example of his manipulation,” Johnson said. “We had spoken months ago about this and came to a clear understanding.”
Diesel, for his part, speculated to Men’s Health in June that Johnson didn’t appreciate his “tough love” approach on the set of The Fate of the Furious. Johnson disagreed with that view.
“I laughed and I laughed hard,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think everyone had a laugh at that.”
Despite the conflict on the 2016 film, it wasn’t Johnson’s last appearance in the franchise: He went on to star in 2019’s The Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. In the CNN interview, he made it clear that he has no hard feelings toward the rest of the cast or the series in general—a sentiment he made clear to Diesel when they spoke earlier this year.
“I was firm yet cordial with my words and said that I would always be supportive of the cast and always root for the franchise to be successful,” Johnson said, “but that there was no chance I would return.”
Diesel will return for the final two installments of the Fast and Furious franchise, Fast 10 and Fast 11. The first of the two films is slated for a May 2023 release date, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Although he’s leaving Fast and Furious in the rear view mirror, Johnson has been staying busy with other projects. His latest film, Red Notice, has smashed Netflix streaming records and become the platform’s most-watched movie of all time. (Check out our interview with the film’s director, Rawson Marshall Thurber, here.) His upcoming superhero flick, Black Adam, is scheduled for a summer 2022 release.