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Thursday, 13 April 2017 09:48

The Fate of the Furious

Written by Kristie Bertucci | Photos by Brian McGee | Dennis McCarthy Photos Courtesy of Universal Pictures
The Fate of the Furious

The popularity and the influence of The Fast and the Furious franchise doesn’t seem to be letting up. Fans can’t get enough of the action sequences, killer four-wheel eye candy and memorable characters they’ve come to love since the original dropped back in 2001. Now we’re here, 17 years later on movie No. 8 - The Fate of the Furious.

The Fate of the Furious

To date, it’s Universal’s biggest franchise of all time and the ninth and tenth installments will soon follow. But for now, we’re excited for all the action we’ve come to love with the highly anticipated The Fate of the Furious and we were lucky to catch up with a few of the beloved and original stars.

The Fate of the Furious

VIN DIESEL

Dominic Toretto

After the intensity and success of Furious 7, tell us about your thoughts on doing The Fate of the Furious? Very heavy thoughts obviously. Just the very first thought of committing to the next trilogy was a heavy one for me. I only wanted to continue the saga if we were going to all collectively try to make the best final trilogy.

What did you think about Dom going rogue?

A couple things...one is we had been talking about going dark, this was going a step beyond that and now betraying the family. So you, you can go dark, but going dark and actually being on the opposite side of your family members is another level; that was very scary. And at the same time, if I was just by myself and I was just thinking, then how can you justify another chapter, after potentially the best and most powerful ending in cinematic history. One could argue that Furious 7 had the best ending in cinematic history.

The Fate of the Furious

You have so many awesome action sequences, what can you tell us about the ones in this film?

The first thing for me is the location. The Cuban mile race is dynamic, it’s entertaining it’s nothing like we’ve seen in the past. But then we go to New York City, which was another dream of mine.

The Fate of the Furious

What did you think of the rides Dom had in this one?

These cars are pretty spectacular, Dom’s Ice Charger is pretty spectacular. I mean, I’m just so grateful for everything that Dodge has done for our franchise. My daughter’s favorite car is really a ’69 Dodge Daytona and she’s not even two years old yet.

Do you have a couple of favorite moments from all the films?

I have so many favorites, so that’s a little harder for me because it’s like they’re all my children so it’s like trying to pick a favorite. My favorite moments are usually moments when we see our characters bond, so many of my favorite moments are between Dom and Brian, especially when they were on a balcony in Fast Five talking about Mia and fatherhood. [LAUGHS]

LUDACRIS

Tej Parker

There have been so many cars in the series - which one was your favorite and why?

The Ford GT in Fast Five that I think Jordana was driving in the train scene was my favorite car. That car is American muscle!

How about a car that was on set that you weren’t able to drive?

That would definitely be the Koenigsegg at the end of Fast & Furious 6.

The cast has become like family over the years. Which cast member are you closest with and why?

Apart from Tyrese being my brother from another mother, I felt I was closest with Paul Walker. Our birthdays were one day apart and we shared a lot of the same interests in life.

There have been so many dynamic stunts in the franchise but which one was the craziest to do? What was it like doing it? What about the stunt that scared you most?

I’ve been studying a form of martial arts called 52 Blocks and it was an honor for me to be able to implement that in my fight scene in Fast 7. It felt natural because I had been studying this for a while. The stunt that scared me the most was when we were on the simulators being jerked like we were on roller coasters to try to emulate the movements to look like we were actually driving. With machines you never know what the fuck could happen.

When you first signed on for the series, did you ever think it would be this popular and have these many installments?

Absolutely not! I don’t think anyone could have predicted it would be this huge.

Which character do you most identify with and why?

I mostly identify with my character Tej because he is like the thread that holds everyone in his life together.

Which character would you most likely hang with and why?

Tyrese’s character because I love to laugh and he makes me laugh all the time. And I actually do hang with him.

What’s your favorite plot point of the series and why?

The Fate of the Furious has the best plot point because nobody ever expected Dom to go rogue on us.

The Fast and the Furious franchise has been hugely successful. Did you ever think you’d have such a pivotal role when you were first cast in 2 Fast 2 Furious?

No, and I am just very blessed to be part of such history. I can’t take the credit for the success, but everyone plays their part to the tee and because of that this franchise is so successful.

The Fast and the Furious was one of your first acting gigs. How have you evolved as an actor and how has the franchise helped you become the actor you are today?

Since these films come out on such a consistent basis, it allows all of us to continuously sharpen up our skills. Outside of The Fast and the Furious franchise, I think I’ve evolved as an actor because I try to take on roles that are completely opposite of my character, Tej.

What were some of your most satisfying scenes to shoot for the franchise?

The most satisfying scene to shoot was the final scene in Fast 7 where we really got to pay homage to our brother Paul Walker.

Is your rapport with Tyrese’s character scripted or is it improvised? [Laughs] A little of both!

TYRESE

Roman Pearce

There’s been so many cars in the series, but which one was your favorite and why?

I would say I loved the blue and grey Skyline that Paul Walker drove in 2 Fast 2 Furious because the steering wheel was on the right side and I also really loved the Lamborghini that I’m driving in The Fate of the Furious.

The cast has become like family over the years, but which cast member is your favorite and why?

I love Vin because I just see him more often and talk and communicate with him more often than anyone else. But I’ve known my brother Ludacris longer.

So many stunts in these action-packed flicks, but which one was the craziest to do? What was it like doing it? What about the stunt that scared you most?

I would say in Fast & Furious 6, when I had to jump off of one car and land on the roof of the other car with Paul, that was probably my most dangerous stunt. That was pretty crazy. We couldn’t do too many because it was too dangerous and took too much time to prep and start over.

When you first signed on for the series, did you ever think it would be this popular and have these many installments?

No, not at all. I mean that’s not even a question. None of us believed that things would go this far. It’s been more than 17 years for The Fast and the Furious and it keeps getting bigger, better and crazier. We’re all very humbled by it and, one would hope to do a movie and be able to feed their families this long off of one franchise. If we didn’t have The Fast and the Furious, we’d all be winging it from one project to the next.

What’s your favorite plot point of the series and why?

I would say Fast Five because Dwayne Johnson came on board and we were able to broaden the fan base and get more folks excited about seeing those two fight.

Where does The Fast and the Furious rank in terms of all the movies you’ve starred in?

I would say No.1 and Transformers No.2, Baby Boy No. 3

How long will you continue to reprise your character?

I’ll do as many as I can because as long as they keep calling and I’m able to do my thing, I’ll do it.

Has The Fast and the Furious inspired your automotive style outside of the movies?

I’ve always been a fast driver, but I now feel like I have more skills now.

Tell us about Voltron Motors and these custom Jeeps you are selling.

Quick story: I’d seen these two Jeeps on the set of The Fate of the Furious and was like, “What’s that?!” I wanted to buy one of the two that really blew me away, so I got hold of company that built the Jeeps and they were by some guy Will Williams of High Born in Houston. I reached out to him and it turns out he didn’t own them, just designed and built them. He then called the owners and they told him no. Vin actually was interested in the other one and they still told us no.

I ended up designing my own Jeep with him and I was so in love with it since it came out so sick that I asked him if he wanted to partner up with me. Once I put it on my social media feeds, I knew he’d have people calling him and ordering Jeeps; I didn’t want to be sitting on the sidelines.

He decided to fold his company name and now we are Volton Motors. You’re able to go to VoltronMotors.com and build and design your own Jeep online. We offer 100% financing, and there are so many options to choose from. We have different colors, interiors, wheels, lighting packages - everything imaginable, it’s all there. The Jeeps are flying. We build them all from scratch in 15 to 20 days all in-house, then you get it delivered.

MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ

Letty ‘Ortiz’ Toretto

What was your favorite scene in the first The Fast and the Furious?

Race Wars was my favorite moment in that very first film because you would get to set every day and it was full of a bunch of car connoisseurs, and walking around just in between shots you were never bored. You could sit there and have a 10 hour conversation with anybody about cars. And everybody was just dying to show their wares. So I think it was the most fun. And plus, they were having real races on the side. I like that. I like it, um, when there’s activity. When there’s, you know, community. And you got the sense of that in the first one. It’s also, I think, what Paul really loved about it. He was always talking about like that world and how, attractive it is. You know, it’s a lifestyle. It really is. And I think that in Race Wars, in the first franchise film, you got to see that.

As with all the rest of The Fast and the Furious movies, there are tons of action sequences with loads of cars...

Yeah. I finally get one car I like. [LAUGHS] I got a Corvette. That was one of my first things with director, F. Gary Gray. I was like, please, hook me up with something beautiful for once. ’Cause usually, you know, I’m like the last pick of the litter ’cause I’m the girl. So, and I’m so focused on the acting and v the lines and on the integrity of the characters I never really have had time to go into the garage like Paul did, or like Vin does. It’s like get in there and play. And really blend the character in with your vehicles. ’Cause they’re an extension of yourself, and every single time I’ve been stuck with an extension that isn’t really me. [LAUGHS] Not Letty me. You know what I mean. Like I feel like as Letty evolves, the cars should as well. And I felt like there was kind of like a death to that evolution. It just stayed a flat line for a very long time and finally we got some color in there. So I’m very grateful for that.

What can we expect for Letty is this movie?

I’m either at the tail end of a gun or I’m in a car that’s flipping. [LAUGHS] I’m always gettin’ nailed by something in this one.

What was the auto yard in New York like?

It’s like a gear head’s dream come true. I mean they just posted footage of us walking in and looking at all the cars and it got like half a million views. It’s insane. People really do love cars. That place was a candy store.

How would you describe this film?

It’s about that unbreakable bond that one human can have with another. Where it doesn’t matter what happens in the peripheral. What darkness happens to that person. How dark that person becomes. Their inner light is something that is the only thing that their lover can see.

DENNIS MCCARTHY

Vehicle Coordinator

How did you first get started in the business?

I first started by building an off-road school bus for the movie Dragon Fly. It was needed for a camera-point-of-view shot when a bus drove off a cliff. This led to Bruce Almighty, Meet the Fockers, and soon afterwards, Tokyo Drift.

Where did/do you get all your car knowledge from?

Bikes, skateboards, go-karts, motorcycles, cars, etc., have been my passion since the age of five. Basically, anything with wheels that went fast. I’ve been working in the car business since I was 14. My early employment included: Glendale Speed Center, Thompson Dyno Tune, and I opened up McCarthy Performance when I was 20.

How did you go about sourcing the cars for the franchise?

Just like anyone else would, Craigslist, eBay, internet searches, word of mouth, etc.

What’s the hardest car you ever had to get?

The Ford Escort from Fast & Furious 6; I ended up sourcing all in the UK.

What about your favorite car in the franchise and why?

Would have to say Dom’s all-wheel drive Charger from The Fate of the Furious.

How would you say the cars chosen for the movies help drive the plot lines and characters?

The cars are chosen based on the plot and character, but the vehicles do influence dialogue.

Is there a car that you wished you would have sourced for the The Fast and the Furious franchise?

I’ve been lucky enough to feature most of my favorites. In an effort to change things up, I would like to see an AMC Javelin with styling cues from the ’70s Trans Am series. Another desire would be a Lamborghini Miura for Shaw [Jason Stratman’s character].

How does the The Fast and the Furious franchise stack up against other jobs/movies?

There’s nothing more challenging than a Fast and Furious film.

Do you have any tidbits you can tell us for each of the cars we are featuring:

Ice Charger : Wicked fast, all-wheel drive, ultimate Dom car for the ice

GTX : Ridiculous horsepower, tremendous effort went into getting the stance and tire size perfect

Dom’s Chevy in Cuba : Love this car, one of my favorite early body styles, fits for Dom in Cuba

Letty’s Vette : F. Gary Gray pick, another one of my all-time favorites

Tej’s Ripsaw (Tank) : Far too cool to not have in the film

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