The Rock, Vin Diesel And The Rift That Could Destroy The ‘Fast And The Furious’ Franchise
It'll never be the same again.
When you watch any film in the Fast and the Furious franchise, the one thing that you need to know is that they’re family.
This is essential to understanding and enjoying these movies. Even if you started watching these films because of the cars driving out of an exploding skyscraper into another exploding skyscraper, or girls making out with each other at bikini parties in the desert, you stayed because of the family.
This franchise is so strong that even when Paul Walker — an integral and vital member of the family — passed away in 2013, it just served to bolster the importance of the Fast and the Furious and the necessity to make infinity number of films, as a continued triumph to his memory. I thought these movies were going to last forever. Because that’s what real friendship is like.
Now, the impossible has occurred: the family is running the risk of breaking up and I don’t know if anything will ever be the same again.
I think it’s best to listen to this while I explain what happened:
What Happened To The Family?
Like most schisms in 2016, this break-up began with a savage social media post. What you need to understand is that there are many, many members of the current Fast and the Furious family and they all love social media. Here is a list of everyone in the family:
- Vin Diesel
- The Rock
- Michelle Rodriguez
- Jordana Brewster (sort of)
- Sung Kang (deceased in film; might come back)
- Gal Gadot (deceased in film; might come back)
- Lucas Black (In Tokyo Drift, so not really family)
The most active social media user is The Rock, who usually utilises his Instagram account as a motivational tool, and often as an opportunity to hold up tiny miniature items (dogs, babies) that turn out to be full-size (big dogs, his wife) because he is giant. The Rock generally plays with scale and tries to motivate you to lift weights, but lately his social media has been primarily used for breaking up the family.
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
Some of this is classic Rock, but the accusation that some of his male co-stars are “chicken shit” and have “candy asses” is deeply, deeply concerning. The Rock is a man who thrives on positivity. Why would he do this to the family?
When it comes down to it, we all have #ZeroToleranceForCandyAsses. But to suggest that there was a candy ass in your very own family? That’s cold. No family could survive that. What’s even worse was that TMZ revealed the candy ass in question probably belonged to the don of the family, Vin Diesel. According to TMZ, the brothers “butted heads” so much that it was “impossible to shoot scenes”.
Apparently a secret meeting had to be called a couple of weeks ago just so The Rock and Vin could remain civil. According to an “insider” who spoke to E!, The Rock had problems with many cast members who did “some small things that pissed him off”.
These men were once friends. They were brothers. To air your grievances publicly and call out a member of the family, is unforgivable. To insinuate that one of the family is made out of anything but steel and meat and burnt rubber, is unforgivable. This Instagram post by The Rock goes against the code of brotherhood and frankly, the entire spirit of the Fast and the Furious. Beef must be handled within the family. Now this family is broken.
HOW DID WE GET HERE, AND WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE FAMILY.
Okay, But What Did The Rest Of The Family Say?
The ramifications of this betrayal were felt instantly and deeply. Tyrese immediately posted a now-deleted Instagram of The Rock singing sweetly to Tyrese’s nine-year-old daughter, and wrote that The Rock was “my brother and we never had a problem”, obviously covering his ass in case anyone suspected that his ass was the ass that was made out of candy.
“Why are you guys so impressionable?,” he continued. “A man wouldn’t be singing from his heart and soul to another man’s little angel if he had a problem with her dad… I will humbly say this: I’m personally not doing this for anyone but my brother Paul Walker. This franchise is not about and has never been about any one of us individually. It’s about the #FASTFAMILY – the TRIBE.”
Tyrese proclaimed himself Team Rock, but the deletion of the post suggests that he realised that showing support for one member of the family against another member of the family, is in strict violation of the family.
His hashtag #FASTFAMILY suggests to me that Tyrese is terrified of one day being kicked out of the family and needs constant reassurance. He is the most insecure member of the family.
Ludacris took a different route. Shortly after The Rock unleashed his Instagram accusations, Luda posted an image about staying away from people who are “still hating” and “still living in the past”. This could be read as a damning criticism of The Rock, or a veiled warning to the family to keep their issues at home and work them out quietly.
A photo posted by @ludacris on
Jason Statham wanted absolutely nothing to do with it, which proves his dedication to the family that he’s not yet a part of.
Eventually, Vin Diesel had to respond. When you let tensions like these simmer and you don’t address them, even the strongest dynasties can be ripped apart. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the beef actually stemmed from the fact that Vin Diesel was notoriously late to set. I guess that would be pretty annoying but there were also reports that The Rock annoyed Vin Diesel with his own lateness. Maybe they were both just in their trailers being mad at each other while Tyrese wept?
One aspect of The Rock and Vin Diesel break-up that seems almost impossible to reconcile, is a joke that The Rock made in his show Ballers about being “better looking” than Vin. This is low. Why would you, without provocation, call out your brother on television for something so cold and so true that it should NEVER be said? You think that Vin doesn’t know that he’s kind of ageing into a potato? He knows, man. Families never tell each other that they’re slowly turning into a potato. Never.
(Has that song up top finished? Okay, listen to this now.)
What’s The Real Issue Here?
When siblings act out at each other, it’s usually because one of them believes that they’re getting the bad end of the deal. In a family, the idea that someone is getting the bigger piece of chicken or more TV time than you can cause lifelong rifts — until another sibling becomes the new enemy and you both turn on them.
That’s why, for siblings, Christmas morning is like the beach scene in Saving Private Ryan — you don’t know exactly who your enemy is and where they’re coming from, but you definitely know that you’re enemies with someone.
This is what I think has happened. For the first five Fast films, Vin Diesel was the man. Other cast members provided the comic relief, the romance and the sass, but Vin was like a magnet to the action and always got to do the crazy stunts. Then, in Fast Five, The Rock comes along. He was meant to be a disposable foil, but he was so charismatic and a great action hero to boot. He’s like Vin, but funny.
Suddenly The Rock’s character Hobbs is a fan fave and he signs a contract to be in three more films in the franchise. People cheer when he’s on screen! People cheer when he breaks his arm out of a cast! He was the missing element of the family.
I think that deep down, this got to Vin Diesel. Vin cares so much about this franchise, that he thought Furious 7 was going to win Best Picture at the Oscars. Vin was used to being the anchor and suddenly there was another big, bald guy to contend with.
Paul Walker was different enough to Vin Diesel that sharing the top billing was in no way a rivalry, but Rock and Vin’s brands are too similar and therein lies the source of this beef. In a Facebook Live interview last week, Vin expressed his displeasure with the situation through a veiled and very shady admission that the role of Hobbs had actually been written for Tommy Lee Jones. The Rock was only subbed in, he claimed, because of the “fan demand” to see Vin and The Rock fight.
Well, now we have. And everything has been ruined.
Every Fast and the Furious film has been about the importance of cars, brute strength and family. The idea that in real life the ensemble cast are turning on each other and putting someone on blast with the explicit intention of hurting their feelings tears at the very fabric of this series. It’s important that The Rock and Vin remain homies — that the whole family remain homies — because the movies rely on these relationships.
I don’t know how to invest in the Fast and the Furious if I don’t believe that these people truly love each other. I don’t know how to believe in it unless I truly believe that they do have BBQs together and drink pale Mexican beers between filming.
While the internet speculated, The Rock seemed compelled to show some sort of contrition on Instagram. Deep down, he must know that he has wronged the family. He must know that he was too hot-headed, and didn’t think about the right way to deal with family drama; which is privately, and only among the family.
“Family is gonna have differences of opinion and fundamental core beliefs,” The Rock said on Instagram. “To me, conflict can be a good thing, when it’s followed by great resolution. I was raised on healthy conflict and welcome it. And like any family, we get better from it.”
The Rock ended the caption with the hashtag #FamilyGrowth.
I don’t know if they will ever repair the damage that has been done. But I can hope. As a wise potato once said, “You can’t ever turn your back on family”.