Entertainment

Fast X stars Vin Diesel, Jason Momoa and Michelle Rodriguez on Fast & Furious 'finale'

As Fast X hits cinemas, Ellie Iorizzo chats stars Vin Diesel, Jason Momoa and Michelle Rodriguez about delivering the final chapter of the blockbusting Fast And Furious franchise...

Fast X: Vin Diesel as Dom with his iconic Dodge Charger
Fast X: Vin Diesel as Dom with his iconic Dodge Charger

FROM street racing to heists and espionage, the Fast And Furious mythology has always involved rapid cars, high-octane action and, above all, family, and the 10th film in the franchise is no different.

Now in its third decade, the same core cast and characters from the 2001 original movie return to launch the final chapters of the saga, as the end of the road begins with Fast X.

"If you would have told me 23 years ago that I would be so blessed to be a part of a mythology that has been embraced and supported by the world, I would have thought you were crazy," said Vin Diesel (55), who reprises his role of Dominic Toretto.

"When we made the first movie, we filmed it in LA and it was a regional story. We never anticipated its global implications or appeal. We certainly didn't anticipate that we would travel all over the world and take the theme of family around it."

Vin Diesel and Daniela Melchior
Vin Diesel and Daniela Melchior

Diesel promises that the franchise's loyal fans will feel a sense of completion at the end of these final chapters: "This saga has a close," he said.

"It will honour the people that have grown up, raised their children and supported and lived with us for a quarter of a century."

The Hollywood star explained that while the Fast franchise continues to evolve, his character still has an unwavering attachment to his Dodge Charger, reminding him of his bond with the films late star Paul Walker, who died in a car accident in 2013, aged 40.

"When I see that car, I think of the moment that set this world apart from any other movie or franchise. That was when Paul Walker and I were in the Toretto garage and Dom's talking about a vehicle as a living, breathing entity," Diesel said.

"Which is why we've cast the cars like other films would cast actors. When I think of that car, I think of the moment that I got a brother in real life, Paul Walker."

Over the years, Diesel's character Dom and his family have outsmarted, out-nerved and outdriven rivals despite seemingly impossible odds, but the latest film will see a threat from the shadows of his past who is fuelled by revenge.

Jason Momoa as Dante
Jason Momoa as Dante

In 2011's Fast Five, Dom took out nefarious Brazilian drug kingpin Hernan Reyes unknowingly in front of his son Dante, played by Jason Momoa, who has spent the last 12 years masterminding a plan with the ultimate target of his vengeance being Dom's eight-year-old son Little Brian, played by Leo Abelo Perry.

Star and producer Diesel described Momoa, who performed all of his own stunts on the film, as a "massive talent" who he had been "watching".

"The character of Dante 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."

Returning stars include Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Ludacris, John Cena, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, and Academy Award winners Charlize Theron and Dame Helen Mirren.

Fast X is action-packed
Fast X is action-packed

The film will include an "epic fight scene" between Rodriguez's character Letty and Theron's character Cipher who both "trained religiously" to deliver the scene "that the audience has been waiting for since 2017", Diesel said.

Rodriguez, who was in peak condition following her training for Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, said: "Charlize is a monster, no pun intended. She's very sharp elbows, and so good at what she does. She doesn't miss a beat, and that's what I love about her.

"She's the kind of person who isn't scared to throw herself on the floor and bang her head against the wall. We work well together because I'm all about taking it to the limits, and she's the same."

Meanwhile Theron described the scene as an "out-of body experience" and said Rodriguez "sells action" with her "body, eyes and heart".

Brie Larson in Fast X
Brie Larson in Fast X

The film also features a new cast including Oscar-winners Brie Larson and Rita Moreno, as well as Alan Ritchson and Daniela Melchior.

Larson said she had been "begging" to be involved in the franchise and described being cast in the role of Tess as a "dream come true". She added: "When I first found out I was going to be a part of the franchise, Vin invited me over to his house for dinner with his family. I got to meet his kids and become close with them, which made me feel like I already belonged on set."

Meanwhile Moreno, who plays Diesel's paternal grandmother on screen, said she appreciates the Fast franchise because it has brought every kind of person to the screen.

"Every nationality, every colour, every shade. It did so particularly because it came at a time when nobody was really caring about such things. It's quite astonishing, and that's a testament to Vin," she said.

Fast X
Fast X

Fast X also brought on director Louis Leterrier, from The Transporter to The Incredible Hulk, who grew up watching the blockbuster franchise and was offered the job while on a 45-minute Zoom call with Diesel and the chairman of Universal Pictures.

He said: "It was surreal because 48 hours earlier, I didn't know that my life was about to change. I immediately went to my family and said, 'I think I'm going to England tomorrow.' And that was it. I got on a plane, and 48 hours later, I was directing Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Charlize Theron in the biggest franchise ever."

Diesel testified that it was more than a job for Leterrier: "He wanted to honour the mythology, so much so, that after we'd work all day, we'd work two more hours fine-tuning and prepping for the next day, week or month.

"It was like we were playing a game where we were world building. We were so lucky that there was a director out there like Louis who could fit so perfectly into the mythology."

Leterrier later described watching Diesel in "Dom Toretto mode", explaining: "The set gets quiet, there is a respect for the work that I've never witnessed before."

:: Fast X is in cinemas on May 19.