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Tyrese Gibson Says Co-Star James Franco Was "Full-On Hitting Him" in Fight Scenes

The Fast X star said that he'd never work with the Method actor again.

Both Tyrese Gibson and James Franco were young actors on the rise when they were cast together in the 2006 drama Annapolis. Directed by a pre-Fast and the Furious Justin Lin, the Naval Academy drama wasn't very well-received by critics or theater audiences. (It currently has a 10 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) The underperforming film also led to a longtime feud between its two costars that Gibson claimed started when Franco, who is known to be a Method actor, took his role too far and actually hit Gibson during a choreographed fight scene. Read on for details on why the Fast X star said he never wants to work with Franco again and the day their issues brought production to a standstill.

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Gibson said he would never work with Franco again.

Tyrese Gibson in 2006
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

When Annapolis was released, Gibson, who is also an R&B artist, had appeared in a handful of films, including 2 Fast 2 Furious. Franco had a longer acting resume, with both TV and film projects under his belt. However, Gibson was quick to say that he didn't want to repeat the experience of acting with Franco.

After starring opposite him, Gibson made it known that no one should expect to see him and Franco onscreen together again any time soon. In an interview with Playboy in 2007, less than a year after Annapolis was released (per The Irish Examiner), he said: "Me and Mr. James Franco didn't hit it off too well. I never want to work with him again, and I'm sure he feels the same way. It felt very personal. It was [expletive]-up."

He claimed Franco really hit him during the boxing scenes.

James Franco in Annapolis
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Gibson went into further detail about his beef with Franco later that year in an interview with Elle. At the time, Franco was following the so-called "Method" school of acting, diving headfirst into character as a hotheaded amateur boxer in the Naval Academy who ends up fighting his commanding officer in the ring. According to his co-star, that meant he would actually hit him during their boxing scenes instead of pulling his punches.

"Whenever we'd have to get in the ring for boxing scenes, and even during practice, the dude was full-on hitting me," he said. "I was always like, 'James, lighten up, man. We're just practicing.' He never lightened up."

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Franco called Gibson "a sweet guy."

James Franco, Justin Lin, Jordana Brewster and Tyrese Gibson in 2006
L. Cohen/WireImage for Disney Pictures

Franco eventually addressed stories that the former co-stars were not getting along in a 2008 interview with GQ. He shared some kind words about Gibson, although he denied actually punching him during the Annapolis shoot. "I take full blame for any problems on that film," he said. "I was probably a jerk. I was not purposely cruel to him, but I was probably so wrapped up in my performance that I was not as friendly as I could have been. This is such a stupid issue I can't believe I'm still talking about it. But when I'm asked about it in the press it makes it seem as if it's still an issue. I think Gibson is a sweet guy with a good heart."

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Gibson later revealed they had shut down production with a fistfight.

Tyrese Gibson in 2023
Prince Williams/WireImage

Despite Franco's attempt to smooth things over in the press, Gibson didn't have anything nice to say about him in a 2018 episode of The Red Pill podcast. At the time, Gibson was addressing his quashed beef with Fast and the Furious co-star Dwayne Johnson. Noting that he had gotten along with all his co-stars except one, he revealed that his feud with Franco had escalated to the point that the two exchanged real-life blows that forced production to take a pause. "We fought," he said. "We actually got in a full-on fight. It was a situation. They had to shut down production for a whole day. That sh** was crazy."

While Gibson went on to work again with Lin again in the Fast franchise, he and Franco never reunited. Franco has been largely out of the spotlight since facing multiple allegations of misconduct, though he has some projects upcoming.

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller is a pop culture writer living in New York. Read more
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