It seems that a beef once thought squashed may burn eternal.
With “The Fate of the Furious” opening in theaters tonight, news of conflict between two of the film’s biggest stars is back in the headlines. This time, rumors have to do with a scene cut by actor and producer Vin Diesel that starred Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham. Diesel and Johnson are rumored to have butted heads during the production of “The Fate of the Furious.” Recently, it seemed that their grievances had been aired and the hatchet buried, but the latest rumor goes all the way up to the film’s release.
The rumor comes from a duo of alleged insiders speaking exclusively to The Wrap. According to one insider, “The Fate of the Furious” was originally going to include a tag that featured Johnson and Statham's characters exchanging quips. The two apparently gelled well during filming.
“They had early screenings where Johnson and Statham popped so much on-screen together that they were looking at doing a spinoff,” the insider said.
That same insider claimed that Diesel’s sister, Samantha Vincent, an executive producer on the film, informed Diesel about the tag, which had been filmed without his knowledge. Supposedly, Diesel called NBCUniversal to demand the scene be removed, which resulted in the film’s theatrical prints being recalled and the scene getting cut.
Another insider claimed that the scene was never meant for theatrical release -- rather, it was filmed as an extra for the inevitable home release. Whether the scene will ever see the light of day -- or even if it exists at all -- is currently up in the air, but there are certainly legitimate reasons for Diesel to balk at such as scene being included in the film.
The “Fast and Furious” franchise is known for its characters’ sudden changes of heart. The foundation of the series was built on the interplay between Paul Walker’s police officer character eventually coming to understand and empathize with Diesel’s adventurous, street-racing-fueled outlook on life. In the series, bad guys become good guys and good guys become bad guys all the time. Statham’s character, Deckard Shaw, is another case all together.
While Statham played the antagonist in “Furious 7,” Shaw is also known as the character who killed series-favorite Han Seoul-Oh at the very end of “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” a revelation that was not made apparent to viewers until the conclusion of “Fast and Furious 6.” Seeing Statham play best buds with Johnson, another “Fast and Furious” veteran, may have rubbed Diesel the wrong way given the series’ history.
Of course, the whole rumor could be overblown, a half-truth or a total fabrication. Fans will have to wait until the home release of “The Fate of the Furious” to see.
Currently screening in theaters, “The Fate of the Furious” is a production of Original Film directed by F. Gary Gray and starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren.