Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson lead the returning cast of all-stars as the global blockbuster franchise built on speed races to its next continent in “Fast & Furious 6.” Reuniting for their most high-stakes adventure yet, fan favorites Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Elsa Pataky are joined by series newcomers Luke Evans and Gina Carano. After the crew’s Rio heist toppled a kingpin’s empire and left the group with $100 million, Dom Toretto (played by Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (played by Walker) and the rest of the crew have scattered across the globe. But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam have left their lives incomplete.
Meanwhile, Hobbs (played by Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries, whose mastermind Owen Shaw (played by Evans) is aided by a ruthless second-in-command revealed to be the love Dom thought was dead: Letty Ortiz (played by Rodriguez). The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks Dom to assemble his elite team in London. Payment? Full pardons for all of them so they can return home and make their families whole again. Here is what these “Fast & Furious” 6 stars said in interviews at the movie’s press junket in London.
Interview with Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez
Are you as excited to be back in “Fast & Furious 6” as audiences are excited to see you back in this franchise?
Diesel: We’re really excited. It is exciting.
Rodriguez: We’re really excited, especially after seeing everything come together. Justin [Lin, the director of “Fast & Furious 6”] did such an amazing job under all that pressure. Just with the way the machine works today, I’m just in awe at how quickly and how fast the “Fast” franchise feature film “6” came together. Thinks about it, from the inception, with no finished script, it was pretty damn amazing, the feat. That’s some serious teamwork between Universal, between the One Race production team, Justin Lin. It was incredible.
Diesel: Yeah, everybody came together for this one. I think everybody across the board want to make this the best film, which is rare. Every time I see a movie with Paul Walker m— one of these [“Fast”] movies — he always walks out saying the same thing: “The best one’s in the can! The best one’s in the can!” What kind of pressure are you putting on people, man? You expect us to outdo this? $300 million opening weekend?
But it’s a good kind of pressure, because they’re also saying that they want to keep reaching higher an higher, which is a good place to be as an artist — especially when you’re a part of something like this, you feel a certain vested interest in it, ownership to it, all those feelings of family. It’s a good, good feeling.
Can you talk about the size and scale of “Fast & Furious 6”?
Diesel: It’s huge. The size and scare are huge. One of the things that Justin didn’t want was to be held back on too much reality on this. I think on this one, the sixth one, I think he wanted to take off the training wheels and just go as crazy as he could go, and use that imagination to the fullest. And I think it shows in this.
What grounds this movie, the irony, is that heart. And in some ways, it’s a perfect storm. We were able to do over-the-top stuff and own it. We were able to do it because the heart in the picture is so strong and so present that it allows us to kind of have this fantasy process.
The way that he took the action and made sure that even though a scene was competing on an action level, he was getting immense story out of it. Perfect example is the race around Piccadilly Circus. It’s a race around Piccadilly Circus that in any other movie, it would be a straightforward race/action scene.
Rodriguez: But it’s a testament to the teamwork, because Paul Walker the fact that cops came it behind us in that. That’s a testament to the influence the actors had and the openness that there was at least to receptivity to whatever works. So there’s definitely a lot of dialogue between the actors. For me, specifically, it’s always the dialogue, because I guess the boys don’t know how strong women will talk. It’s not necessarily, “I want to beat you up.” That receptivity, that teamwork, that’s what I think really brought the heart to the whole.
Diesel: Sure. You really get the sense of a team working together to knock something out of the park.
Michelle, you have a couple of fight scenes in this movie that people will be talking about for a long time. Can you describe what it was like to film those scenes?
Rodriguez: The Letty/Reilly fight, when I heard about the idea, and I saw it on the page, I was a little bit worried, because I was like, “How the hell do you guys really want to rival The Rock versus Vin Diesel? I mean, we’re chicks, first and foremost. Secondly, you’ve got an MMA fighter against a Letty character who’s thrown maybe one punch in the franchise. So how do you go up against that monster.
And the way it was written was like a “Terminator” scene, where there’s always one character that comes out on top. And in the script, it was Letty. And I was like, “Dude, this is incredible!”
Immediately, the red flags came up, and I was like, “We need to make this realistic. You don’t know how much pressure there is t make a female fight look credible.” I don’t want it to be something that looked fake, like, “Yeah, right! Michelle Rodriguez against an MMA fighter?” I wanted that to be real.
Diesel: And it is real.
Rodriguez: So we got together with Justin Lin and developed a skill set and the mindset behind that fight. And after working that out that with Letty, it was street grit, adrenaline “fight or flight” versus tact and the officer’s capability of tact fighting style, it worked like a charm. Everything else after that was a piece of cake.
How proud of you of “Fast & Furious 6”?
Diesel: When we came out of the “Fast 5” premiere, my twin brother, who is a trailer editor, said to me, “Oh my God! That fight between you and you and Dwayne, that’s got to be the best fight! I’ve got this great idea: Letty should fight Eva’s character or somebody!” We knew that was the only thing we could do, because there was nowhere to go up from the Dom/Hobbs fight. And the only way we could stay true to our franchise is to show that we could just as easily take two female characters and deliver the same intensity.
Interview with Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster
What did you most look forward to coming into “Fast & Furious 6”? And what are you most proud of now that you finished the movie?
Brewster: I have to remind myself every time I’m promoting “Fast,” I have to pinch myself, because it’s been such an unbelievable ride. We’ve been so lucky it’s been so successful over the years. I saw the movie last night, and I thought it was bigger than “[Fast] Five,” which is kind of unfathomable, in my mind, but it really is. It’s just insane what Justin pulled off. Every character has their moment. It was beautifully done.
Walker: I remember when we were doing the fourth one, I was like, “I don’t know.” Vin had basically stepped away, and they were talking about reprising it and getting us going again. I was like, “Really? It was a long time ago when we made the first one. Do you really think they want us still doing this?’
And the response was, “Yes.” And then another one. Really? OK. What? And the response was a better yes. And now, we’re doing “[Fast & Furious] 6,” and people are talking.
Sometimes people count their chickens before they hatch. It’s like, “Whoa! Stop with that!” But all signs are looking good. And, to me, it’s mind-blowing. And now this talk of announcing another one before this one has even been released. That’s bold as all hell. But OK, let’s go!
Brewster: You just reminded me: When we were about to make “[Fast & Furious] 4 ,” there were a lot of naysayers. There were a lot of people who were like, “I don’t understand.” We showed them, so that feels pretty good.
Walker: I’m just glad that I went on record [saying], “I don’t know if you want this or not. But when I say it now, it’s all there. I remember going into the second one, I was scared! I was like, “God, I’m going into this thing without Vin? The guy who helped realize a big chunk of the first one and helped realize the success of it.”
The second one turned out the way that it did. Every second along the way, I’ve been scratching my head going, “What the F?” And moving forward, Justin [Lin] has been such a champion, the thought of moving on without him …
Guess what? I’m scared again. But I’m used to that with this. I’m just sitting here talking about it. If I didn’t feel scared, something would be wrong with me. I think I’d just be a royal pick. This obviously means something to more than to just myself and a handful of other people.
We’ve got a huge audience out there and it’s I want to continue to kick ass for them. I want to continue to crank out stuff that they love. Are we going be able to continue at this pace, at this rate? I don’t know, but we’re going to die trying.
Can you describe just how big “Fast & Furious 6” is?
Brewster: There’s a tank that literally flies out of a truck that then pummels over cars. And then there’s a plane and cars that go in and out. It’s like someone just thought up what could be the most fun things to shoot, and then made it happen, which is pretty crazy.
Walker: I still don’t even know what this damn movie is about. The way we put it together was just incredible. We were third and long, two minutes, 34 points down [during] this entire shoot. And Justin calling audibles the whole damn time, throwing it up. I remember looking at him, and he was like, “Dude, I got this.”
And that happened on more than one occasion. His completion percentage was just ridiculous. I was just going, “What the F?” Back to what the F! That’s the theme today. “Fast & Furious: What the F.’ That’s what we should just call it!
Can you talk about the intense fight scenes? Did you enjoy preparing for those scenes?
Walker: Yeah, it’s cool. I love that stuff. I think that’s what separates me from a lot of other guys. So when I have an opportunity to do that, I go, “Yeah, let’s go!” I like banging it up. I’m a pretty physical guy, and I enjoy physical challenges. That’s part of the reason why I wanted to do this franchise to begin with. It was the dream opportunity: go race cars, be cop, run around, smack people around, and shoot them.
At that time in my life, that’s all that mattered, and that’s all it needed to be. What I didn’t realize was what was being woven into it. And I don’t think the original fans realized what was going on to connect the whole fiber of this whole family element. I just wanted to kick ass!
And now I look at it, and [“The Fast & the Furious” director] Rob Cohen did a hell of a job. He set us up way back when. He’s kind of an unsung hero too.
Justin [Lin] gets some credit. Just doesn’t get enough credit. I know Rob gets some credit. He doesn’t get enough credit. Neither of those guys gets enough credit. [John] Singleton doesn’t get enough credit to step out with Tyrese and take the swing that he did. It’s crazy. We’ve had the right people every step of the way.
Is the dynamic you have with your “Fast” co-stars the same as what you have in real life?
Walker: For sure. There’s always a competitive pulse between Vin and [me]. That definitely helps with what we do on screen. I get frustrated at times, and I want to tell him to the Rock’s you know, and he’ll laugh at me. And we’ll have our pow wow and make-up session. I like that about this.
I think what we’ve got going on in real life is paralleled on screen so often. I’m a huge fan of Jordana’s, and I’m so glad that she’s been “my girl” for all these years. Tyrese is my brother. Chris [“Ludacris” Bridges], I love him to pieces. We brought in Luke Evans on this last one. He ended up being a stud. We’ve been really fortunate.
Jordana, your Mia character has a pivotal role toward the end of “Fast & Furious 6.” Did you like that twist in the story?
Brewster: I did. Justin always has an aim in mind. He’s got the whole movie mapped out in his brain as he shoots. He gave me one note. I didn’t understand why, but I did it anyway, because I trust him and I would do anything. And then I saw the scene, and I understand why. She was completely fearless. Her attitude toward [the character played by] Luke [Evans], who is this very menacing guy, it worked because he was messing with her family.
Interview With Dwayne Johnson
Why does Hobbs go to Dom and his team?
Johnson: The fact that Hobbs has to go to Dom, feels like going to Dom, is not only the last resort, it is the best resort. It’s got to be a big thing because essentially, in Hobbs’ constitution, his makeup, he is wired a certain way. These are all men whom he has vowed to take in.
He went to Dom, and he asked him for his help. There’s a mutual respect that these two men have for each other. And they also know that they both want something that is important to their core, to their heart. I know that he can help me get what I want. And I also know that can help him what get what he wants: something that he thought he would never have again.
What can you say about the villain Owen Shaw?
Johnson: Shaw is very dangerous. Shaw is an ex-SAS, para-military. And he is responsible for doing a lot of good things in the world. And then he was responsible for doing a lot of bad things to a lot of good people on a mass scale. So we had to make him, story-wise, formidable. And as much as a formidable, believable, ruthless bad guy.
How would you describe Hobbs’ partner Riley?
Johnson: Hobbs has a new partner. His partner is Riley, a woman who is proficient in fighting, weaponry. She is a badass. She is a great partner for Hobbs to have. Now, the actress who plays Riley, Gina Carano, is a great actress for me to work with, by the way, because she is everything Riley is. She brings an authenticity to that role that is hard to find in Hollywood.
A lot of people are talking about the fight between Letty and Riley. What do you think about that fight scene?
Johnson: The Letty/Riley fight is something that I thin audiences are really going to enjoy. In “Fast Five,” you had the Dom/Hobbs fight to look forward to. In “Fast 6,” you have a lot of fights to look forward to, but especially a very special attraction that could easily be the main event between Letty and Riley. You have two women who are going to go at it. I saw the fight, by the way, and they go at it. They threw caution to the wind, and they went at it, but you have two women who just inherently are, in essence, to get down that way. Michelle is a very tough woman, and so is Gina. And they went at it. And that fight is a hell of a fight. Loved it.
Interview With Tyrese Gibson and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges
What got you the most excited about coming back to the “Fast” franchise?
Bridges: I, 100 percent, feel like “Fast Five” just completely reinvigorated the entire franchise — not that the previous ones were not good. It’s just great that after that many sequels, you can actually get everyone’s attention again. To go into “Fast 6” and having everyone anticipating in this movie is one of the greatest things.
We work in this craft and we’re here in Hollywood. And to have something that people anticipated and couldn’t wait to come out, we couldn’t wait to shoot it. We couldn’t wait to give them this finished product, and that’s what’s even better about it.
Now that you’ve seen “Fast & Furious 6,” what’s gotten you amped up about it?
Gibson: As he just mentioned, the feeling of working on something, knowing that people are anticipating it and are excited about it, it really inspires you to know you’re working on something that people are waiting on. It also keeps you on your toes. A lot of sleepless nights thinking about every nuance and creative angle to take it to the next level.
That’s when [there are] a lot of late-night-calls to Justin Lin or the producers, just trying to figure out: “Can we get this extra scene in? Can we do this? Can we do that extra joke or do that extra action scene for his situation? There’s some more information I want to add that can help accomplish this goal of taking out the bad guys.”
There are all these different things that we’re proud to be able to say that we thought of. If you are able to see you to see 80 percent of the jokes that were cracked on paper, I’ll pay you everything out of my account. We get to the set, we see things, we see the energy of the scene, the set, and the jokes, the funny, the moment just kind of end up happening in the moment.
These are moments we are proud of. To see people laughing at the forehead jokes or whatever the case may be, that stuff happens on the set. And to know that it worked, that makes us proud.
How important is it to have that family atmosphere off screen as well as on screen?
Bridges: I think that’s part of the reason why our chemistry on screen was so good, because off screen, we really do get a chance to know each other. We’re actual genuine friends, and we feel like a family. And then when we come together, it just makes it that more comfortable for all of us to work together on screen.
Gibson: It’s very challenging, whether it’s a franchise or another movie that’s a one-off, it’s very challenging to find chemistry with the people you do movies with sometimes. But if you’re actually cool on and off camera, then everything you do on camera becomes an experience for the fans to come up and enjoy, because it looks real and authentic.
Me and Chris now have been friends for 13 years. Our first time working together was for “2 Fast 2 Furious,” theatrically movie-wise and musically. The fact that we still have each other’s cell phone numbers, he comes to L.A. and hangs out at my house, I’ve been to his crib for parties, we club, we hang together, it’s cool. It all makes for better energy on camera when fans show up to see the movie.
One of the things about “Fast & Furious 6” is that everyone gets a chance to shine in an action scene. For instance, there’s that Waterloo fight with Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang and Joe Taslim. What was that like for you?
Bridges: Is that the fight where he got his ass beat?
Gibson: [He pretends to be outraged] Damn! You’re really going to say that in this interview?
Bridges: I was just answering the question. They can edit that part out.
Gibson: They will edit that out. I’m going to send them an email them right now. You can go ahead and finish the interview. I didn’t really get beat up. It was a choice because Joe [Taslim] was new to the franchise, so we really wanted to set him up to look like a hero, because the outcome was he died.
So give him a little light, because he’s out of here! I read the script, so I was like, “I don’t mind my ass getting beat just a little bit, because he’s gone! Roman lives on.” You know what I’m saying?
So there’s an arc to this whole thing: Get your ass beat a little bit, so he can get rid of them. I didn’t really shine in that moment, but I’m still here. [He laughs.] Roman lives on!
Bridges: You heard of “The Adventures of Bill & Ted,” but have you heard of “The Adventures of Roman and Tej”? Coming soon. Franchise spin-off.
Gibson: Get ready!
Tej didn’t get in any big fight scenes …
Bridges: Yeah, I choose my battles wisely. I had the battles with the computers and with all the technology and being the brains of the operation and keeping everybody afloat of what’s going on and staying organized. So I was very happy about that, but I think I’m choosing to get more action very soon. I’d love to get out of the computer room and get more action.
Can you talk about your Mustang surfing?
Gibson: Oh, yeah! I call them “black wings.” Let’s fly. Fly with me! I wish they would’ve slowed it down a little bit more. When I finally jumped off the white Mustang, I wished they would’ve had me in the air a little bit more, and then landing on the car. Boom! But you know, I’ll talk to them about that later. Maybe we might be able to get a last-minute edit in.
Bridges: It’s not too late. It’s really not.
What did you think when you saw that scene for the first time?
Gibson: The first time I saw it in Vegas as at CinemaCon. And I sat in the audience like everyone else and watched it. It’s kind of like, “Wow.” It was a real moment. The energy was crazy, that whole sequence.
And I’m going to be honest with y’all and tell you all the truth. This is a true confession. Me and Paul Walker on the set had a moment. And we said, “This is probably going to be one of the corniest scenes on Earth. And it doesn’t make any sense that this Mustang is going to be able to lift a damn tank and make it believable.”
But when you see it, Justin Lin is clearly a genius, because he knew something that we could have not fathomed! And when you see it, and the way it was put together, it all made sense. It was one of the proudest scenes in the movie that I was a part of, for sure.
Chris, what are you most excited for your fans to see you do in “Fast & Furious 6”?
Bridges: I’m excited for my fans to see how much I rag on Tyrese’s character and how much I make fun of his forehead.
Gibson: I don’t like the forehead jokes. It’s actually going to be people now meeting me and looking at my forehead all of a sudden. I think the dimensions of my forehead go well with my head. My forehead is not a fivehead.
Bridges: That might be true.
What did you think when you saw the flip car?
Bridges: I loved it. I thought it was a great idea. I hope that nobody at home is trying to build themselves a flip car and actually use it on the street. We’ve got a lot going on in this world today, and that’s the last we need: for someone to try it.
Gibson: It wouldn’t work anyway.
Interview With Luke Evans and Gina Carano
What was it like being newcomers to the “Fast” movie franchise?
Evans: I had a great time. It was very special. They were very lovely. Justin, from the top down, was very warm and welcoming. It was a great experience, lots of fond memories. It was hard going: lots of full-on shoot and a lot to do and lot to lean and a lot of physical demands.’’
Carano: It was a real privilege to be a part of it. I’m so happy for the experience and everything that I’ve learned from being a part of it.
How would you describe the movie?
Evans: What’s great about it is that there’s a really great story behind it. Obviously, you have the main characters, which everybody knows already from the franchise. But now you have this bad buy and his team which are almost impossible to catch. They’re almost invincible.
So there’s a very strong storyline, which then is wrapped up with these incredible fight sequences and stunt sequences which are almost unimaginable that they cold actually be done, and then you see them in the film. Justin Lin is this man capable of doing things that most people wouldn’t have dared to attempt, but he does it about four or five times in the movie. It’s breathtaking.
Have you ever been a part of anything this big?
Carano: I think in my own mind I have, but that’s just through life. [She laughs.] Life can get pretty big sometimes, but as far as production and movies, no. I was very comfortable. Justin, he took so much care, and all the other actors were so pleasant. So it was very safe, great, huge environment to be a part of.
What makes Owen Shaw different from the other villains that ave come up against the “Fast & Furious” team?
Evans: Well, he comes from a different place. His background is military, special ops, paramilitary training, so he’s from an elite squad. He’s been trained at such a high level, he’s now using that against him, so it puts him at a much higher bracket as a threat than the other people and a threat to the team. He’s very cleaver, he’s very quick, and he’s very fit, because he has the money.
And his motives are very different from that of the team, because they have family and integrity, whereas Owen, he could replace anybody on his team, and it wouldn’t matter to him at all. And when anybody works in that mentality, that’s quite a dark force and a dark threat. It makes for a good villain.
What went into preparing for the fight that Riley and Letty had?
Carano: It was amazing working with Michelle [Rodriguez]. She had a really good energy, and she makes me laugh when we could be physical with each other. I think when you have two people who are willing to put it all out there, the end result is going to be good.
And she was willing to put it all out there, and I was willing to put it all out there, obviously. I loved it, and I’m glad that I have that piece of film. I have that moment on film. It was a big pleasure.
Did you worry that the fight scenes would be too intense?
Carano: People say, “Hit me harder,” but I’ve been hit a lot on my life [as a mixed-martial arts fighter], and they don’t really mean it. It does not feel good to get hit or beaten up.
Evans: You’ll never hear those words come out of my mouth.
Carano: [She laughs.] Girl fighting [and fighting between men] are two different things.
Can you talk about your last fight scene in “Fast & Furious 6”?
Evans: It was a hard one to stage, because there were four of fighting, and the space was very small, and the plane was shaking. There’s a lot to take in. There are things falling on you and boxes collapsing. So it was done in such a way that the sequences overlap each other but we didn’t have to do it at the same time. They were full-on, really full-on.
And there are some great, fantastic moments, like when Vin catches my leg and spins me around and throws me in a stack of boxes. Those little things add a small flair and show the personality of the way they fight. We are all very different, and that’s what’s so great about the stunt coordinator: It wasn’t just about creating fights. It was about creating specific fight styles for each character. Owen Shaw doesn’t like the other characters, and that’s a great thing.
Some the guys are street fighters, like Paul’s character and Vin’s character. They’re proper street fighters, whereas Owen was trained in martial arts, being part of the special ops forces, there’s a huge amount of that stuff. So his fight style was very different.
Can you talk about the amazing flip car that Owen has in “Fast & Furious 5”?
Evans: It’s just an incredible machine. The imagination [from] Justin, to think that it came out of his head is quite amazing. That car that you see with me sitting in and drive was actually the same car that does the flipping. It wasn’t a different car. It was actually able to do. It was incredible.
These things were actually built to work, and that’s what “Fast 6” and the “Fast & Furious” franchise is famed for: If they can make a stunt sequence for real, they will do it for real. And those police cars were flipped for real on Regent Street very late one night last summer. It’s brilliant. The noise is just thunderous, like a thunderclap going off. It’s enough to give anybody an adrenaline rush, I think.
The first scene with Owen Shaw using that car is pretty brutal, don’t you think?
Evans: It’s a perfect introduction to his character, so people will see how ruthless he is. You have to understand that this guy has no qualms in upsetting anybody or losing anybody at the end of the day. He has a team, but if they make a mistake and die, well, that’s their fault. They made a mistake.
That car race at the beginning sets him up perfectly. And in that scene, you very quickly realize that they have areal threat and a real bad guy. He has the one thing that Dom thought he would never see again, and that is Letty. And that makes the whole ante to another level.
Carano: You have to make a great bad guy to make them look a lot better.
What was it like working with Dwayne Johnson?
Carano: Dwayne was so great and beautiful to me. It was so a pleasure working with him and seeing his professional attitude. The man works hard. He gets up at 3 a.m., and he doesn’t stop going. I have so much respect for him and just to be near that energy was healthy for me. As it was with Luke. It’s great for me to experience these kinds of people. I think I grew as a person.
The “Fast” cast seems to be like a big family, wouldn’t you say?
Evans: It’s lovely. On and off screen, you’ve seen them grow. They have children now who are on set. It’s quite sweet, isn’t it? It’s very lovely. And they all like each other after 10 years says something, doesn’t it
For more info: “Fast & Furious 6” website