The 10th instalment of the enduring Fast and the Furious franchise has released to cinemas worldwide.
An adrenaline filled vehicle exploding action film with heart and a star studded cast.
Thanks to Universal Pictures we have been given the opportunity to have an interview with Vin Diesel who plays lead character Dom (and has done since the very first film).
STG: How does it feel to deliver the finale of this beloved and extraordinary franchise?
Vin Diesel: You only attempt that when you know that you’ve earned the trust of your audience. This is a quarter of a century, and the time has come to finally deliver the finale. It’s a promise I personally made to my cast a decade ago, and it’s an incredibly enjoyable process. If there was ever a moment to be this daring, I believe we’ve earned it after all these years; but to truly tell a finale we needed more than just the length of one film.
STG: How has the Dom-Letty relationship evolved?
Vin Diesel: I remember when the first film came out. It was back when I used to read the reviews, and there was one article that said that, as great as the movie was, the biggest crime was that there wasn’t enough of Dom and Letty. Well, little did I know that a quarter of a century later we would still be playing these characters that represent the longest love story in cinema – which is something I’m very proud of. I was just with Michelle for the holidays, and someone was saying to us that we should be in The Guinness Book of World Records for having had the longest love story in Hollywood, which I thought was very funny. One of the things that’s made this franchise so special and relatable for people is that the relationships on and off screen are built out of love. As I got older, I have learned about brotherhood and family, and a large part of that is because of the wonderful person that Michelle Rodriguez is.
STG: And what can you say of the new characters that are joining the franchise?
Vin Diesel: We’re excited to introduce new characters to the franchise. One of them is named Dante Reyes, played by Jason Momoa. And although you all know him, you will never forget the way that he portrays Dante. One of the things that we take pride in is allowing artists to explore their characters in unique ways, and the way that Jason Momoa portrays this character really plays nicely into the mythology. So, we’re very excited for you to be introduced to him. We needed somebody who, at face value, you regard as a worthy and formidable adversary. It is unnerving to portray a character that masks such palpable pain and thinks in a way that’s so scary. That’s a feat by Jason, and it’s what makes Dante so entertaining.
STG: What was it like to have a legend of the caliber of Rita Moreno on board?
Vin Diesel: The Fast and the Furious has been blessed to have probably the largest Latin audience of any franchise. The whole world has supported us, but there’s always been something very special about our Latin audience. I grew up as an actor in New York City, and I was a huge fan of the first female Latin Oscar winner; which is, of course, Rita Moreno. I met her a few years ago while we were both getting an Icon Award, and it occurred to me that we had never worked together and how it would be a childhood dream to work with her someday. And I don’t know if she came up to me first, or if I came up to her first, but the idea very quickly grew, and boy were we lucky! But what character could such an iconic, regal, and incredible talent play? Well, it just so happens that we are casting her as the very important matriarch of the family: the grandmother, the Abuelita. It is a dream come true for me.
STG: Family, whether it’s by blood or by choice, is always at the heart of these movies.
Vin Diesel: By blood or by bond, family is family. In the earlier years of this franchise, we were exploring the concept of brotherhood, cherishing and celebrating family. Then, as the mythology continued and evolved naturally, we were going to end up discussing fatherhood, and in Fast X you will see the representation of parenthood where survival is everything. It’s something that every father and mother in the world can identify with. We all want the next generation to be better than the last – we want our children to be better than us, and that’s represented in the movie. That’s what’s so great about this franchise that I’ve been so blessed to be a part of: how multigenerational it is. Life does at times imitate art and art imitates life, and one of the things I’m so proud of in this film is the fact that the car that’s in the most iconic garage ever – the Toretto garage – is the one I gave my son for his eleventh birthday. Of course, he can’t drive yet, but all he wanted for his birthday was to have a project car to work on with his father. In this movie, that’s exactly what Dom and his son, Little Brian, are doing. And when Dom is explaining the role of fatherhood to Han, he says something that touches everyone and that I think is one of those things that fathers and sons will be talking about on their way home from the theater.
STG: Looking back at the different cars you have used, is there one that has a special place in your heart?
Vin Diesel: People ask me all the time about the iconic cars we have. When I think of the Dodge Charger, I go back to that moment from the first film in the Toretto garage where Dom and Brian are talking heart-to-heart, and Dom is mentioning the relevance of this particular car in his life, as if it were a living, breathing entity – which is why we cast cars like other movies cast actors. So, when I think of that car, I think of the moment that I got a brother in real life: Paul Walker. Each car has a place in this mythology; but, for me, personally, the Dodge Charger always makes me think of my brother Paul. There’s just a special place in my heart for it.
STG: What has a director like Louis Leterrier brought to this tenth film of the series?
Vin Diesel: I can’t say enough good things about Louis. He’s the sixth director to be a part of this mythology, and what he brought was so special. He has a tireless work ethic, and I believe that kindness is his superpower. Louis is just such a sweet and generous soul, and I think that above all, what I gravitated towards was how much he truly loved the franchise. You can feel when a director really wants to contribute and honor the legacy. So, we’re all very fortunate to call Louis Leterrier the director of Fast X. As the godfather of this franchise, I’ve been lucky to have so many great directors be a part of this world. Since the first The Fast and the Furious where it all began, five new directors have climbed aboard, and they all brought something different and unique that Universal and the franchise have benefitted from. And in return, each one of those five directors made their largest box office hits, which I think is a testament to the support we like to give the directors and the fact that we cherish and inspire their creativity. On Fast X we were lucky to find a soul out there in the universe that so perfectly fit into the mythology, like Louis. And one of the things as a producer that I love is how tirelessly he works and how much he wants to honor the franchise. That’s what you hope for when a new director comes on board. So, I’m very grateful to Louis Leterrier for directing the first part of Fast X.
STG: Regarding the action, audiences are looking forward to the Cypher vs Letty fight that takes place in Fast X.
Vin Diesel: Yes, it’s the fight audiences have in essence been waiting for since 2017, with The Fate of the Furious, and wow does it deliver! As a producer, I was especially grateful to see both Charlize and Michelle training so hard with our stunt department to create this electrifying fight sequence that really made the production team and the franchise so proud.
STG: So, how do you look back at the whole franchise now?
Vin Diesel: You know, it never gets lost on me how lucky I am to be a part of this franchise and to be one of the storytellers of a mythology that’s lasted for almost a quarter of a century.
STG: What would you say is so unique about it?
Vin Diesel: What’s unique about the Fast and the Furious franchise is that there were never any inherited fans. There were no comic books, no video games, no TV shows, no remakes of movies, and no Tolkienian authors that gave us a blueprint. Every single fan that’s ever come to adopt this saga as their own has come just by the merits of the films we’ve created.
STG: And now that we are approaching the end of the saga, what should audiences all over the world look forward to when they watch it?
Vin Diesel: We all knew that day would eventually come. With every great story told throughout the history of time, the ending is sometimes the best part of it. And we knew that this saga would ultimately need to have its ending, but it was no easy task because so much has been created in this universe; so, to tie up all the storylines the last film would have to be broken up into multiple parts to pay homage to the myriad of incredible talents that have been a part of our franchise. It’s always bittersweet to think about the end of a journey that’s meant so much to you and has been such an important part of your life. And it’s important for us as filmmakers to honor all of you who have adopted this as your saga, as the world’s saga. So, this film is the beginning of the end of the road. As you know, we make these movies with our hearts and our souls, and we are so grateful that you have always been there with us and always supported us and always believed in us. So, we just hope to make you proud. It’s been twenty-three years since we first started this saga, and we never could have imagined we’d be here today with our tenth film about to come out. Now, we hope fans can just sit back and enjoy Fast X. It will honor the people that have grown up, raised their children, and supported and lived with us for a quarter of a century.
Fast X is now in cinemas and released by Universal Pictures.