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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has criticised former co-star Vin Diesel’s recent attempts to get him to return to the Fast & Furious franchise.
The pair – who have appeared together in several films in the action-packed series – have long been rumoured to have clashed behind the scenes.
With the 10th instalment of the franchise currently slated for release in 2023, Vin took extra to new levels last month, in a very public Instagram post aiming to get Dwayne to reconsider his exit from the Fast & Furious world.
“My little brother Dwayne... the time has come,” he wrote. “The world awaits the finale of Fast 10.
“As you know, my children refer to you as Uncle Dwayne in my house. There is not a holiday that goes by that they and you don’t send well wishes... but the time has come. Legacy awaits.
“I told you years ago that I was going to fulfil my promise to Pablo. I swore that we would reach and manifest the best Fast in the finale that is 10! I say this out of love... but you must show up, do not leave the franchise idle, you have a very important role to play.”
In a new interview with CNN, The Rock once and for all ruled out ever returning to the Fast & Furious films, and hit out at Vin for the post addressing him publicly.
“I was very surprised by Vin’s recent post,” he told the news organisation. “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.
“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, but that there was no chance I would return.
“I privately spoke with my partners at Universal as well, all of whom were very supportive as they understand the problem.”
Dwayne continued: “Vin’s recent public post was an example of his manipulation. I didn’t like that he brought up his children in the post, as well as Paul Walker’s death. Leave them out of it.
“We had spoken months ago about this and came to a clear understanding. My goal all along was to end my amazing journey with this incredible Fast And Furious franchise with gratitude and grace.
“It’s unfortunate that this public dialogue has muddied the waters.”
He added: “Regardless, I’m confident in the Fast universe and its ability to consistently deliver for the audience, and I truly wish my former co-stars and crew members the best of luck and success in the next chapter.”
HuffPost UK has contacted Vin Diesel’s publicist for comment.
Earlier this year, Vin – a producer on Fast & Furious, as well as one of its stars – made headlines when he appeared to try and take credit for The Rock’s performance in the fifth film.
He claimed: “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.
“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 Fellini-esque, but I would do anything I’d have to do in order to get performances in anything I’m producing.”
Responding to his former co-star’s comments a few weeks later, Dwayne said he “laughed hard” when he heard them.
“I laughed and I laughed hard,” the former WWE star told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think everyone had a laugh at that. And I’ll leave it at that.”
He also reiterated that he would not be returning to the franchise, after bowing out in the eighth film.
Dwayne had previously expressed his frustration with male co-stars during the production of The Fate Of The Furious in 2016, with many speculating he was referring to Vin Diesel
“Some conduct themselves as stand-up men and true professionals, while others don’t,” he said at the time.
“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.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.