*Warning: Spoilers ahead.*
Even if you weren’t excited about 2017’s addition in the Fast and the Furious never-ending story, you still probably heard about the Rock/Vin Diesel feud that fueled controversy and threatened to turn the entire thing into a catastrophe. The Fate of the Furious is more than just cool cars and really confusing plot holes. The movie is really about the egos of the film's two stars. Dwayne Johnson posted multiple Instagram posts about his distaste for one particular actor who went unnamed, Tyrese sort of got in the middle of it but no one could remember who Tyrese was, and Vin Diesel posted a cryptic video on Insta about industry dirt. What a nightmare. In order to get around the Fate of the Furious feud, director F. Gary Gray had to resort to a myriad of ridiculous ways to make the audience believe that Johnson and Diesel were sharing the same space even though they probably weren’t even on set together.
The Fate of the Furious filming demands were so strenuous they affected the entire plot. Despite all the bombast of the final sequence which involves an exploding submarine, and Vin Diesel being shielded from the blast by a bunch of fancy cars, the film lacks the visual exhale that would have been seeing Johnson and Diesel occupy the same space either as friends or foes. The film only needed for this to happen twice, once at the beginning, and again at the end when the team is reunited, but the feud between to two bald stars was so intense they wouldn’t even give the audience that much. Whether you’re a Furious-Head or not, you’re going to want to keep reading to discover all of the truly silly ways they kept the Rock and Vin Diesel apart during filming.
This is the most obvious ways that the two feuding dynamos were kept apart in the film, but it still needs to be discussed. The film follows Vin Diesel's character Dom as he gallivants around the world committing crimes for Charlize Theron's poorly-named hacker villain Cipher, while Dwayne Johnson's character Hobbs and his team search for a missing EMP device, track down some nuclear codes, fight Russian separatists, race a submarine, and kind of search for Dom. But not really, because then the two actors would have to be on screen together. You wouldn't be wrong to think there are two different movies there, and that's pretty much how it's played until the two narratives dovetail because they have to for anything about the film to work. By dividing the characters for so much of the film's running time each actor gets to be the star of the show while thinking of the other guy as his co-star.
In a movie like Fate of the Furious that's more cars crashing than it is actors acting, it's not hard to believe most of the heavy lifting is performed by stunt people. But the most harrowing stunts performed in this film are accomplished by Johnson and Diesel's stunt doubles, tasked with standing in for the A-list actors who seriously did not want to be in room with each other. Due to the narrative structure of the story, Dom and Hobbs don't share a lot of physical space with each other, and when they do, they rarely converse. In fact, most of the screen time spent between the two is actually the stunt doubles.
Yes, this is a movie about cars crashing into things and a submarine heist, so it makes sense there would be a mass of collateral damage to go around, but there's one character who seems to be a magnet for falling objects. In the rare moments of the two-hour-and-40-minute(!) film that Hobbs and Dom spend together, Dom usually crashes into something or blows up a room leaving Hobbs under a pile of bricks. If the film were taking place in a world where physics and medical science made sense (which it doesn't), Hobbs would have been dead 37 minutes in.
Blood was so bad on set they used a door as a plot device so the two actors wouldn't have to physically see one another. To add even less interaction time, Johnson's stunt double did most of the acting. In one scene, Hobbs is trapped under a large steel door while Dom is in the room.
Theron figuratively burns down the room with a Nicolas Cage-like intensity (side note: Theron and Ludacris seem to be the only people who showed up to act in Fate of the Furious, which is a sentence that feels strange to type). In response, Hobbs is covered by the door and inexplicably gets free. If you're having trouble picturing a door that could contain Johnson, imagine a steel bank vault door and then add a couple of inches in both length and thickness.
And despite being in the same scene, most of the time it's just Dom talking to Hobbs's flailing arms poking out from underneath.