A wise man with a jet-black beard stopped me the other day to remark that The Rock Report must be about a quarter of the way through its lifespan. I nodded, for the wise man was right. Week 13 marked the exact 25% point of this mammoth 52-week project. And, with this installation, week 14, we dip our toes into the hallowed Second Quarter. We have come a long way, friends, and we should be proud of what we have achieved.
This week we’re carrying a plate of something red. Something cold. Something raw.
That’s right. What we’re carrying is a plate of beef.
Word reached us here at The Rock Report that the subject of this weekly chronicle had decided to expand in the press on the curious beef that developed on the set of The Fate of the Furious, the eighth Fast and Furious film. That curious beef, as you well know, was between himself and a specific actor: a gentleman known as Vin Diesel. In a since-deleted Instagram post from the summer of 2016, Mr Johnson went out of his way to call out his male co-stars: “Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don’t. The ones that don’t are too chicken shit to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses.”
He goes on (most of The Rock’s Instagram captions could be sold by Penguin as novellas), but you get the gist. He rounded off the caption with “#ZeroToleranceForCandyAsses”.
Vin Diesel – essentially a smaller version of The Rock – seemed to have genuinely upset The Rock. This week, to the delight of a gossip-thirsty world, Mr Johnson doubled down on his historic Instagram remarks and told Rolling Stone that he and Diesel (for God’s sake…easy to forget that this is a conversation between two grown men called THE ROCK and VIN DIESEL) had “an important face-to-face” in The Rock’s trailer.
The men, he explained, have a “fundamental difference in philosophies on how we approach moviemaking and collaborating. But I wish him all the best, and I harbour no ill will there, just because of the clarity we have.” He explained that he may not be in the ninth film and is focusing on making the spin-off film featuring him and Jason Statham as good as possible. So far, so reasonable. Then…here it comes. Here it comes! “Actually,” he said, “you can erase that last part about ‘no ill will’. We’ll just keep it with the clarity.”
SHOTS VERY MUCH FIRED!
OK, so let’s get this straight. Vin Diesel pissed off The Rock so badly – The Rock, a man made of the very essence of goodness, a man comprised of little other than muscle and the undiluted notion of positivity – that even he doesn’t wish to wish him well. Even The Rock doesn’t wish to wish Vin Diesel well. How much of a candy ass must Vin Diesel be? What happened on that set??
This is educative beef. While browsing The Rock’s social media output for the last 14 weeks, I have come to fully appreciate something: this man is a tower of patience. So just how bad do you have to be, how truly unbearable does your behaviour have to become, before The Rock lashes out at you on INSTAGRAM? I would say completely unbearable. I am fully prepared to believe that Vin Diesel is an incredibly unbearable man.
So what does this tell us about The Rock, and what in turn does it tell us about that most important group of people: ourselves? It tells us, reader, that we need not feel forced to get along with everyone we encounter. Some people – like Vin Diesel – are truly beyond help. We will simply never get on with some men. If you can be as likable and charming as Dwayne Mr The Rock Johnson and still feel compelled to publicly denounce a fellow human being as chicken shit and candy ass, then those of us saddled with considerably less patience are certain to meet many men who make our blood boil. (Notice that Mr Diesel has never bothered to refute the accusation that he is a candy ass, nor has he levelled any charges at The Rock. This implies that he knows exactly where the blame lies. He knows. Oh boy does he know.)
Like The Rock, we must forever strive to be patient with the people we meet. But sometimes, we just have to ditch ‘em, admit it ain’t happening, and go and make an action movie with a different bald guy.
Stay hungry, stay humble.
(Illustration: Dan Evans/other images: AllStar/Getty)