Yesterday, we reported on the festering tension on the set of Fast 8 revealed by Dwayne Johnson's Instagram post on Monday — in which he called out one or several 'candy ass' male co-stars for unprofessional conduct and 'chicken shit' behavior.
The finger pointing was fast and furious but it was quickly narrowed down to either Vin Diesel and Scott Eastwood, with Tyrese Gibson seemingly clearing his name with an Instagram post merely stating: "He's my brother". TMZ reported that both Johnson and Diesel had a private meeting to clear the air as shooting had apparently become nearly impossible in the last week of filming. Yesterday, Johnson dropped a jubilant Instagram post patting himself and the rest of the cast and crew on the back for completing a turbulent shoot.
He addresses the conflict without going into too much detail but it appears that the beef has been dismissed and the tension relieved.
"And like with any team - that's a family - there's gonna be conflict. Family is going to have differences of opinion and fundamental core beliefs. To me, conflict can be a good thing, when its followed by great resolution. I was raised on healthy conflict and welcome it. And like any family we get better from it"
The Rock is an old school guy and brings this sense of family values to every project he works on, but here it seems like he is being deliberately cryptic.
Reports of a Joyless Shoot
While Dwayne Johnson exuberantly declares a victory for the team, TMZ reports that Vin Diesel stormed off immediately after shooting his final scenes. Sources within the production claim he gathered the cast and crew for a speech which ended with the dramatic final words: "Daddy's gone". This isn't the first instance of a rupture within the Fast and Furious family as new addition Scott Eastwood was reportedly perturbed at the lack of chemistry on set:
"[E]veryone goes back to their trailer. I stick around and say, "Why you are setting up the shot like this?" I want to learn."
The word 'family' is thrown around a lot in the F&F world but it looks as though there was a power struggle and only one guy could be head of the family. Maybe Diesel was trying to insinuate that Johnson had muscled him out of his own family? Below we see an Instagram post from director of Fast 8, F. Gary Gray, with his "family", Diesel is noticeably absent.
How conflict is essential to filmmaking
Film sets are rife with conflict and are turbulent, stress filled environments as directors manipulate actors, actors refuse to be controlled and producers battle for control. Here are a couple of important examples of famous on-set feuds that led to terrific films.
1. Chinatown: Polanksi -vs- Dunaway
From day 1 of shooting, these two were clashing horns as Roman Polanski forcefully commanded Faye Dunaway after she asked what her motivation was.
"Say the fucking words! Your motivation is your salary"
The couple reportedly tangled throughout shooting, with Jack Nicholson loving every minute of it. When Polanski refused to give her bathroom breaks one day, she flung a coffee cup of urine in his face. The toxic relationship bled onto the screen as there is not one moment where Dunaway is not unnerved or relaxed. The negative aura surrounding the set was totally dismissed once Chinatown was released and became an instant classic.
2. I Heart Huckabees - Tomlin -vs- O.Russel
Lily Tomlin and David O.Russel butt heads:
In recent years, David O.Russel has become an academy favorite, with his last two films garnering award nominations. However, he has had to shirk the bad reputation of a petulant director as his early films were mired by stories of him being difficult and petty — even to get into a fist fight with everyone's favorite George Clooney on the set of Three Kings. Evidence of his power hungry pettiness can be found in a video that leaked from the set of I Heart Huckabees, one of his first major budget features. The pressure was obviously on O.Russel as he erupted and bickered with legendary comedic actress Lily Tomlin in an ugly on set confrontation. The film went on to attain cult comedy status despite the animosity off and on camera.
3. Groundhog Day - Murray -vs- Raimis
Bill Murray and Harold Raimis were an unbeatable tag team in the 70s and 80s , creating classics that redefined the comedy genre such as Stripes, Caddyshack and Ghostbusters. But Murray wasn't always the easy going, effervescent personality he is known as today and tempers flared on the set of Groundhog Day when he wasn't happy with the direction.
Raimis was determined to create a feel-good comedy whereas Murray wanted to explore a more philosophical route. This creative tug-of-war can be seen on screen as the film takes several dark turns including a sequence where Murray's character attempts to kill himself several different ways without success. However, the film concludes with a warm, rom-com happy ending so it seems the both had their way. The film went on to be considered a timeless, provocative comedy classic but Raimis and Murray ended their creative partnership after wrapping up and actively avoided each for a long time after.
Bill Murray's inspired suicide montage in Groundhog Day:
Filmmaking is a collaborative art form and whether its blockbuster entertainment or independent arthouse cinema, egos will get tangled as actors, producers and directors wrestle for control. As long as that tension is going in the same direction to produce a worthy film, then conflict can be healthy for the end product — even if it's not healthy for the people involved. From the sound of Johnson's post, the Fast 8 production has benefited from conflict, whether that means he has replaced Diesel at the helm of the franchise remains to be seen.
Do you think this beef will be good for Fast 8?