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Celebrity Slam (10/11/2017)

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Less fast, more furious

Things are getting fast and furious behind the scenes of one of Hollywood’s biggest and most lucrative franchises.

(Do you get it? We’re talking about the “Fast & Furious” movies.)

It’s easy for people to get swept up by the spectacle and scope of mega-franchise moviemaking. And despite an intellectual understanding of the fact that it isn’t real, we can sometimes be guilty of ascribing character characteristics to the actors that play those characters.

That’s not always (or even often) how it works.

These are people doing a job. Sure, they’re people who are far more good-looking and making far more money than most folks doing jobs, but ultimately – it’s a job. And as anyone who has spent literally any time in a workplace knows, there are going to be some people that you like, some that you merely tolerate … and some that you just can’t stand.

But now we get to see that animosity and pettiness up close, thanks to a schism in “Fast & Furious” land.

So you might have heard that the next installment in the franchise – the ninth (!) – has been pushed back, with a new tentative release date set for April 2020. Part of that springs from the falling out between “F&F” OG Vin Diesel and relative newcomer Dwayne Johnson (who we’re resigned to calling Dwayne Johnson, but he’ll always be The Rock in our hearts) that basically had the two of them refusing to even be on set at the same time.

From that issue came a desperate scramble to a) keep The Rock (we didn’t even last a paragraph with that Johnson stuff) onboard, and b) continue making a metric crapton of money. The solution? Spinoff!

Yep – the studio pushed back the next film to make space for a new spinoff pairing The Rock’s character from the franchise with Jason Statham’s that would land in July of 2019.

As you might imagine, some of the “F&F” crew didn’t take particularly kindly to this, with folks like Diesel and Tyrese Gibson sounding off about the decision on social media. Meanwhile, The Rock did his Instagram thing and went on and on about how great this new project was going to be and passive-aggressively inviting previous castmates to join in the fun before finishing with the hashtag #CandyAssesNeedNotApply, a throwback to the early part of the Rock/Diesel beef.

For a franchise whose core tenets revolves around the notion of family, this all seems a bit much. Although dysfunctional families are still families, so hey – maybe this is just the natural evolution of things. After all, don’t we all get a little stressed out if we’re forced to spend too much time with our families?

Still – it’s kind of a bummer that things are falling apart like this. We wholeheartedly approve of the bats—t insane direction the franchise has taken in the last three or four installments, and the presence of The Rock is a huge part of that. Still, we can kind of see how Diesel would be a little miffed at the idea of his thunder being stolen (though we would argue that that’s just the risk you run when attempting to smell what The Rock is cooking).

And if you’re Tyrese? Or Ludacris or Michelle Rodriguez or any of the other folks who have essentially spent the last decade building this franchise? Yeah, you’re probably pretty ticked off. Vin Diesel will be fine, but these other folks still have bills to pay on their enormous beach houses and exotic supercars. To sit there and listen to some dude talk about how awesome this new thing is going to be – a new thing that kind of comes at the expense of your awesome thing – has to make you … oh, what’s the word … extra super angry about the situation.

Make no mistake – we love The Rock and think the idea of some sort of weird action/buddy comedy hybrid starring him and Jason Statham is phenomenal. This movie has the chance to be one of the most delightfully mindlessly entertaining cinematic experiences of the decade. It just seems unfortunate that this is the way it had to play out.

Sadly, we anticipate that The Rock and Jason Statham will come together to be both fast and furious, but never again will they be “Fast & Furious.”

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