Dwayne Johnson has snubbed Vin Diesel's offer to return to the Fast & Furious franchise, claiming his former co-star's public invitation was "an example of his manipulation".
The Red Notice star has insisted he previously told Diesel he would not be returning to the movie series, and as a result he was "very surprised" when the 54-year-old actor took to Instagram in November to try to tempt him back.
Speaking to CNN, Johnson — who played Luke Hobbs in five Fast & Furious films, including the spin-off Hobbs & Shaw — 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."
In his November post, Diesel said his children — Hania, 13, Vincent, 11, and Pauline, six — call Johnson "Uncle Dwayne" and he also referenced their late franchise co-star Paul Walker, who died in 2013 aged 40.
Diesel, who plays Dominic Toretto in the Fast & Furious movies, wrote at the time: "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 fulfill 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 fulfill your destiny. (sic)"
And Johnson has admitted he didn't like Diesel referring to his kids, or Walker, when trying to convince him to return to the franchise.
He said: "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 & 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." — BANG SHOWBIZ
Photo: TPG News/Click Photos