NEW YORK (AP) — “The Fast and the Furious” franchise has seen its share of drama outside of the films, but rumored infighting between the series’ biggest stars, Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is uncharted territory for the long-running series.
The riff was put into the spotlight last year when Johnson, while shooting “The Fate of the Furious,” took to Instagram to both express appreciation for his female co-stars and embarrass some of his male counterparts for unprofessional behavior, calling them “candy asses.” It’s alleged he was referring to Diesel.
But at the film’s world premiere Saturday night in New York, many attributed the situation between the two stars as nothing more than “business as usual” on a film set.
Johnson and Diesel were not seen together during promotional appearances, nor did they pose together on the red carpet. Johnson walked the carpet at the beginning of the premiere, while Diesel arrived later.
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Michelle Rodriguez, who plays Letty in the series, equated it to a family squabble.
“If you know a family that never fights, then I think … you just met a Stepford family, and that family is (expletive),” Rodriguez said. “It’s not real.”
Kurt Russell, who is back as Mr. Nobody, didn’t notice any bad blood on the set. But he also said conflict is not an unusual thing on movie sets in general.
“I didn’t see that, and I was there a lot. I would tell you. If there was I would tell you, ‘Yeah, they got into it pretty good,’ ” Russel said. “I’ll tell you what I can tell you: All movies are the same. Sometimes they are not an easy ride.”
Russell feels the public paid attention to the rumors simply because of the popularity of the eight-movie franchise.
Director F. Gary Gray, a newcomer to the franchise, thinks the situation was overblown in the media.
“When you’re striving for perfection, the process isn’t always perfect, but we are all proud of what ended up on the screen,” Gray said. But when asked if the two stars got along in the end, Gray simply said “ask them” before walking off.
Off-screen intrigue isn’t expected to hamper box office results, however. The latest installment in the $3.9 billion franchise is expected to earn over $110 million when it speeds into theaters on April 14.
AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr contributed from Los Angeles