By Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor
Dwayne Johnson has said there is “no chance” he will return to the Fast And Furious franchise and branded star Vin Diesel’s attempts to lure him back as “manipulation”.
The action star also known as The Rock, who plays federal agent Luke Hobbs in the blockbuster franchise, addressed a November Instagram post from Diesel, in which he implored Johnson to “rise to the occasion and fulfil your destiny”.
Diesel also added that his children call the actor “Uncle Dwayne” and his return to the franchise would help him fulfil a promise he made to late co-star Paul Walker, who he calls Pablo.
In an interview with CNN, Johnson criticised Diesel’s post and said the public dialogue has “muddied the waters”.
Dwayne Johnson reflects on his record-breaking year, becoming the tequila king and whether he'll run for the White House https://t.co/gDgwtv9TqS
— CNN (@CNN) December 29, 2021
He said: “I was very surprised by Vin’s recent post.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
It has long been rumoured that Diesel and Johnson feuded during the filming of the Fast And Furious movies.
Last month Diesel publicly asked Johnson to return to the franchise for its tenth film, writing on Instagram: “My little brother Dwayne… the time has come. 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.
“Hobbs can’t be played by no other. I hope that you rise to the occasion and fulfil your destiny.”
Johnson was absent from the recent ninth Fast And Furious film, but did appear in 2019 spin-off Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, opposite Jason Statham.