They may be one big heist away from calling it all quits
The Fast and Furious franchise is the essence of Hollywood bottled up in a convenient two-hour package. Throughout the decades, we’ve seen stories fill our hearts with dramatic intrigue, compelling romance, and death-defying feats of action. No series epitomizes that more than the Fast Saga. While that may be hard to digest, consider this: the series of now 10 films spans two full decades. As an average everyday moviegoer, it may be easy to overlook such monumental facts as this, but after I had a chance to sit down and chat with the cast over Zoom, I gained a newfound appreciation for the franchise. The amount of love, care, and attention that everyone puts into the film is quite astonishing. It turns out, they really are a family on and off camera. But don’t take my word for it, here’s what Ludacris said when asked what the energy was like on set, considering they’re all like a family – “The energy on set is absolutely amazing. And it’s the same way that I just talked about Tyrese. We have a rapport with one another and spend time with each other on and off screen. Again, that’s what it’s like. Every time we’re on screen, every time we’re on set it’s like you’re doing a movie with your real brothers and sisters.” He even closed off his remarks by saying that being around the other members of the cast– his true family, is his favorite part about making the movies.
However, that sense of family extends beyond the cast of the film and well into the ether of the gearhead community far beyond what I expected. Luda’s pal on and off camera, Tyrese Gibson, touched on this when explaining what it means to have the film shown in theaters – “There’s something exciting about it and it puts us all in a place of anxiety and nervous jitters. One thing I’ve been getting from everyone as far as the fans is that this isn’t just a movie. It’s an experience before the movie, during the movie, and after the movie. And what does that mean? People get dressed. They get their car washed with Armor-All to shine their tires, they put on their best perfume or cologne, they get to pull out the hot rod shirts and LED lights on their cars. People are racing on the freeways even though they’re supposed to be safe. They all meet up to watch the movie. There’s a lot of diversity and inclusion, and after the movie, people are out there in the parking lot doing a lot of things I’m not very proud of. From burning rubber and tires, [but also] eating food and drinking beers saying “man this movie brings us all together” and it literally brings them all together.” To cap it all off, he said something almost every member of the cast echoed: “A year without a Fast movie is like a year missing a holiday.”
Vin Diesel didn’t just resonate with that mentality, but he fully embodied it. In fact, his commitment and love for this franchise was so palpable that it added an almost entirely new contextual layer to the film. He clearly thinks about the future of the franchise and sweats over even the minor details of the finale they’re heading to, and I’m sad to say, there is a finale. When asked why he needed Justin Lin, a veteran director of the franchise to return to helm the production again, he said it needed someone close to the mythology of the series that knew the characters deeply, adding t“All of those reasons were why it was so critical for him [Justin Lin] to direct the Fast 10 two-part series finale, and, of course, the prequel to that, this magical film, Fast 9.”
The fact that the finale is fast approaching (pun intended) certainly added an air of nostalgia to the atmosphere. Jordana Brewster, a staple since the film’s inception, reflected a bit on that 20-year history, recalling that she never thought the original film, initially slated to be called Redline would ever catch on as it did, but she’s glad it did and now is back in the family ahead of the series’ final steps. She even spent time with Justin Lin on some of his other television series like Magnum P.I in order to practice her stunt work, and it paid off as we see her character explore new heights in the action department.
My favorite part about chatting with the cast was learning about their car tastes, or particularly, their lack of. Sung Kang, who plays the beloved character Han, explained he never had much of a love for cars growing up as he never had any cool ones around the house. But as he’s a product of American television and movies, watching shows such as Knight Rider, he started to garner interest for all things automotive. Now that he is who is, he noted he’s just one DM away on Instagram from pretty much any car enthusiast, all of whom actively welcome him to come by, see their cars, and learn. In that same vein, Nathalie Emmanuel had an interesting take. I had asked if she had a love of cars outside of the film, to which she said “Um, not really. I care that cars are safe and get me from A to B, but I’m not particularly car invested. But I’m a big fan of the tube in London. It’s like my favorite thing”.
It will be interesting to see where this series goes next. They’ve already been to space and back. After talking with director Justin Lin, he mentioned that they really do have a motto of “Let’s not do crazy things for the sake of crazy things.”Each stunt and new region explored is done so thoughtfully and from an overarching eagle-eye view of the production and series as a whole. With that said, I still would welcome a heist on Mars with Elon Musk as the villain and I’m sure they could find a way to make it work. Regardless, talking with the cast was fun, the movie was great, and you’ll be able to see it June 25th in theaters if you hurry to get your tickets. Drive safe!