Some “families” aren’t forever, apparently.
After debuting the character a decade ago, Dwayne Johnson has confirmed that he will not reprise the role of Agent Luke Hobbs in the final two films in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise.
It was during the promotional tour of his latest Disney adventure-fantasy blockbuster with Emily Blunt, Jungle Cruise, that he was prodded by The Hollywood Reporter to react to what “Fast” co-star Vin Diesel said about their dynamics to Men’s Health back in June.
In that interview, Diesel insinuated that his widely-known war of words with Johnson was, on his part, a ploy to muster the most genuine performance possible out of the powerhouse Luke Hobbs.
“It was a tough character to embody, the Hobbs character,” Diesel says. “My approach at the time was a lot of tough love to assist in getting that performance where it needed to be. 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.”
“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,” Diesel adds.
Johnson voiced his less-than-loving reaction to Diesel’s remarks to The Hollywood Reporter, which echoed his confirmation that he really has driven away from the franchise: “I laughed and I laughed hard. I think everyone had a laugh at that. And I’ll leave it at that. And that I’ve wished them well.”
“I wish them well on Fast 9. And I wish them the best of luck on Fast 10 and Fast 11 and the rest of the Fast & Furious movies they do that will be without me.”
Johnson first starred as Luke Hobbs in 2011’s Fast Five and went on to strut more muscle in subsequent films Fast and Furious 6, Furious 7, and Fate of the Furious.
It wasn’t clear who fired the first salvo in this feud, but Johnson had shot with a few scathing words of his own to Diesel, albeit avoiding to drop names at the time. During the production of The Fate of the Furious back in 2016, Johnson conveyed his feelings of frustrations towards certain male co-stars whom he called “candy asses,” a signature smear from way back to his wrestling days.
“Some conduct themselves as stand-up men and true professionals, while others don’t. The ones that don’t are too chicken s*** 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.”
It was also widely reported at the time that the two didn’t share a single screen time throughout the whole movie, something which clever editing made up for during post-production.
Moving forward, it remains unclear whether this affects Universal’s plans for a sophomore outing for Hobbs and Shaw, of which Johnson is a huge part. Jason Statham has already confirmed that he will star in the second spinoff film.