Lord in heaven help me, I cannot get enough of the Fast & Furious drama. I know it’s ugly to admit. And hypocritical, too, as I have a long and storied history of scoffing dismissively at headlines about the Kardashian family and their assorted doings. But I can’t help it. It’s like oxygen to me. Or NOS, if we want to keep our metaphors on-brand, which we do and always should. And it keeps getting messier. I’ve stopped typing this paragraph two separate times to see if anyone else has called out a cast member on Instagram, by name or implication. I’ll probably stop again after this sentence. It’s not a sustainable situation.
But let’s back up. There’s history here. Quite a bit of it, dating back over a year. We should start with that.
August 8, 2016 — The Rock fires a shot
With filming about to wrap on the franchise’s eighth film, The Fate of the Furious, which we later discover features The Rock punching a torpedo, The Rock logs into his Instagram and punches a metaphorical torpedo. After a sentence or two about how great the crew and studio were, he switches gears and says this:
“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 sh-t to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses.”
Many assume this is a promotional stunt, with The Rock taking a page out of his old WWE playbook to get people hyped up. But reports soon follow that the post was about his co-star, Vin Diesel, and that the two of them had been butting heads on set like two rams attempting to establish dominance, which is a lot of fun to picture, like, for real.
August 11, 2016 — Tyrese takes a side
Three days after The Rock’s post, with drama percolating and the world — mostly me — fascinated by the developing feud, Tyrese goes on Instagram and takes a side in an ellipses-filled post.
Our brotherhood and every moment has inspired me to be a better man and father…. So much strength to pull from….. I’m so f-cking proud to call you my family and my brother…. even now I’m learning so much about sitting still and being centered in the mist of all of this unexpected energy……. I’ve always said that if ONLY people knew how hard you work to protect this franchise and characters, minds would be blown
The post doesn’t mention anyone by name, but its message is clear. Tyrese is Team Vin.
August 19, 2016 — A curious omission
Finished strong and on to the next. That's an officially wrap on #FastAndFurious8. Thank you to our director @fgarygray for the vision and execution. Thank you UNIVERSAL for being tremendous partners as always, thank you to all my fellow co-stars for the daily effort and grind. Scott Eastwood you handsome sumbitch! Natalie Emmanuel I have a cold Budweiser ready for you and Tyrese Gibson you still have the biggest smile and forehead I've ever seen.😂 And a huge THANK YOU to our hard working production crew – the backbone of our business. Your kind words meant a lot to me last night – thank you! In the end, we all rallied, as great teams do, kicked ass and will deliver an amazing movie to the world. Proud of our entire FAST FAMILY. And now in two weeks I'll reunite with ol' friends Kevin Hart & Jack Black and we have the honor to introduce a whole new generation to the amazing world of #JUMANJI. *(for the record we are NOT making a reboot, but rather a continuation of the awesome JUMANJI story). It's also crazy to me how much me, Kev and Jack look like triplets when we're together. 👶🏽👶🏻👶🏿. Man this is gonna be FUN. #WheelsUp #ThatsAWrap #FromFastAndFurious #StraightIntoJumanji #BigBrownBaldTattooedMan #DarkChocolateComedicRockStar #BrillaintCrazyCurvyCaucasion #TheseHashtagsAreRidiculous #INeedSleepAndCARBS #ButIWillSettleForTequila
Damage control is underway. While no one has officially backtracked, both sides have attempted to cool things off a bit. The Rock says conflict can be a good thing. There were reports of a secret meeting between him and Vin Diesel. Things appeared to be calming down. But then The Rock posted the above message on Instagram, in which he shouted out pretty much everyone involved in the film except Vin Diesel. Was this an innocent omission? Or was it a subliminal shot? Many members of the media — still just me — stay awake at night wondering what it all means, and if their — my — dads will ever stop fighting.