Vin Diesel Gave Dwayne Johnson 'a Lot of Tough Love' When He Joined 'Fast & Furious' Franchise

"That took a lot of work," Vin Diesel said of helping Dwayne Johnson perfect his performance as Luke Hobbs in the Fast & Furious franchise

Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel is shedding some light on his former beef with his Fast & Furious costar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

The F9 star, 53, opened up in his Men's Health July/August cover interview about working with Johnson, 49, who plays federal agent character Luke Hobbs in the hit film series. "It was a tough character to embody, the Hobbs character," Diesel said. "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' — Hobbs hits you like a ton of bricks," he continued. "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."

Reports of Diesel's feud with the former professional wrestler first surfaced in 2016, as they filmed The Fate of the Furious, the franchise's eighth installment. "Tension has been building up for months," a source close to the production told PEOPLE 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." Other sources recounted similar behavior from Diesel to The Hollywood Reporter and Page Six.

Vin Diesel

Johnson sparked the feud rumors as he took to Instagram with an angry rant about some of his male costars. "Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don't," he said. "The ones that don't are too chicken s— to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses."

The two hashed out their beef shortly after, during a secret meeting, later expressing their contentment on social media. Johnson spoke about what went on in the meeting in 2018.

"Vin and I had a few discussions, including an important face-to-face in my trailer," he said to 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."

"But I wish him all the best, and I harbor no ill will there, just because of the clarity we have," Johnson said, before adding with a laugh, "Actually, you can erase that last part about 'no ill will.' We'll just keep it with the clarity."

Vin Diesel

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Diesel also spoke about the feud to USA Today. "I don't think the world really realizes how close we are, in a weird way," he said in 2017. "I think some things may be blown out of proportion. I don't think that was his intention. I know he appreciates how much I work this franchise. In my house, he's Uncle Dwayne."

Diesel has been part of the action franchise since it premiered in 2001 with The Fast and the Furious. He's played the street-racing criminal-for-hire Dominic Toretto in every installment (with the exception of 2003's 2 Fast 2 Furious), and he's served as a producer since the fourth film Fast & Furious in 2009, which served as a reset for the franchise.

Johnson joined the franchise with 2011's Fast Five, making his last appearance alongside Diesel in 2017's The Fate of the Furious, before getting his own spinoff, Hobbs & Shaw, in 2019 with Jason Statham.

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