Earlier this year, the news was on fire with reports of a gigantic clash of the titans between Vin Diesel and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson on the set of Fast 8. With tensions on the set getting to the point where a secret meeting between producers and the two warring stars, the situation was wound down to an even keel. But don't go thinking that The Rock has changed his mind on what he said, as he's doubled down in recent remarks to the press.
An interview with The L.A. Times saw Johnson talking about his recent gig in Disney's Moana, with an eye towards both the past and the future in mind. But, of course, the discussion had to include the big assed feud that allegedly almost derailed the final days of production on Fast 8, and Dwayne Johnson was more than happy to answer with his trademark bravado at the forefront:
I was very clear with what I said. I've been in the game a long time. Would Universal have preferred that didn't happen? Sure, we talked about it. The irony is after that and as they do their tracking and all their analysis, the interest shot through the roof to a whole other level.
You have to hand it to Johnson, he's not going to backpedal or be fake about the remarks he'd made throughout his Instagram posts during this past summer. Even braver is the fact that Dwayne Johnson has, directly or indirectly, pivoted on the rumors that this feud was carried out as a publicity stunt that would wind up resolving itself at Wrestlemania next year. Whether that's true or not, it's undeniable that Fast 8 was the talk of the town during this supposed throw-down between the action stars. Even interviews like these are grist for the mill that leads to next April's release of the eighth installment in the Fast and Furious saga.
Any other aging franchise might result to some sort of stunt casting, or maybe a format change to keep itself fresh. Yet all it's taken is an increasingly breathtaking level of action, and some choice disagreements, to keep Fast 8 on the minds of moviegoers all over. While the former strategy is a better tactic in the long run, it wouldn't surprise us if the latter is still on the simmer, waiting to make a little more news when Vin Diesel starts to promote xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.
We'll see if the controversy either harms or helps the box office result when Fast 8 races into theaters on April 14, 2017.