Note: Heavy.com was on-set in London last October for the filming of Fast & Furious 6, and we got direct access to the stars and a sneak peak at the action. This is one of several exclusive articles we’ll bring you this week as we get amped for the Memorial Day launch of the most epic installment in the high-adrenaline Fast & Furious franchise. Get more Fast and Furious 6 news here.
If you’re an action movie fan, you’re no doubt familiar with the Fast & Furious franchise. This behemoth car-centric extravaganza has been burning rubber for years now, and the same crew is back with more. The fifth film in the franchise, Fast 5, was the biggest box-office hit the series had seen, bringing in $626,137,675 worldwide. Fast 5 earned in 16 days what it had taken the previous installment 91 days to bring in, but believe it or not the franchise is just getting started. Fast and Furious 6, an over-the-top orgy of action, is the biggest and baddest yet. Read on for everything you need to know about the most anticipated film of the summer.
1. Letty Comes Back from the Dead
Michelle Rodriguez reprises her role as Letty, a character killed off in the series’ fourth film but resurrected in a post-credits reveal at the end of Fast 5 — to the delight of hardcore Fast fans who passionately petitioned for her return. Letty’s role as the badass tomboy soulmate of Dominic (Vin Diesel) was essential in previous films. This time around she has sided with the enemy. In Fast 6 she’ll appear as the second-in-command of an international mercenary organization that serves as the foil for the film, and Dom and the gang must struggle to stop her.
Rodriguez talked to Heavy about her return by popular demand and her onscreen electricity with Diesel:
The audience actually misses this connection, this chemical connection, ’cause it’s something you can’t fake. Me and Vin got chemistry. And we’ve got a 13-year rapport with each other. You can’t buy that with other actors …either you got it or you don’t. It’s a special thing.
2. The Bad Guy is Seriously Badass
For the first time in the series, there’s a true, archetypal villain, and he is one tough mother. Owen Shaw, portrayed by Luke Evans (The Hobbit), is an ex-military operative with a bone to pick and the means to do it. With a team of cronies, he hijacks military technology and components and sells them on the black market. Evans talked to Heavy about how this formidable foe fuels the evolution of the Fast franchise:
This is the first time they’ve had sort of an archetypal villain that they’re fighting. That’s never happened in the [franchise] before. They have one agenda, to catch this guy. Which they’ve never really done. It’s usually about money, or it’s about setting themselves up until the next story starts. This one is very different. So, in that respect you feel like the franchise is organically moving and changing as a format and a formula as well.
He’s a James Bond-worthy villain, but he’s no caricature. Shaw is an evil genius, but a pragmatic one, who can manipulate his look, accent and more to remain inconspicuous. Evans continued:
Everybody’s like, oh, is he gonna have a plummy accent and a white furry cat and a swivel chair? No, he’s none of that. He can do everything that you want from a villain in this day and age. … He has weapons and machinery that they’ve never seen. He can get inside the bonnet of a car, and he can do the stuff that … he’s very hands-on, which makes him more of a threat. He can’t just be clever, he’s got to be able to fight.”
3. It’s a Globe-Trotting Thriller
The newest installment was mostly filmed in England, but Fast 6 also takes viewers on a wild ride to locales including the Canary Islands, Glasgow, Scotland, and Echo Park in Los Angeles.
In the past the franchise has taken us to Japan, Brazil and more, so the far-flung locations come as no surprise. But this time around international intrigue trumps burned rubber. While cars are still central, they’re no longer the key plot element. Fast 6 is more Ocean’s Eleven than it is Days of Thunder — a complicated caper that doesn’t hang its hat on horsepower.
That said …
4. There Are More Insanely Ridiculous Vehicles Than Ever
There’s nothing new about including unique and outlandish vehicles in this series — and this Fast has the requisite complement of American muscle and foreign speed racers — but the franchise’s creators have outdone themselves this time. In addition to throwing a FRIGGING TANK into the mix, the geniuses behind the film’s automobiles have invented and engineered a “flip car.”
If you’re wondering what the hell a flip car is, you’re not alone, but we can clear that up for you. Outside of looking like a Batmobile constructed by the A-Team, this futuristic screamer pulls its keep by striking cars at a low enough point to flip them over — with a pointed nose that’s like a cow catcher hellbent on highway destruction. Expect the flip car to bring the explosions-to-dialogue ratio WAY up.
5. The Brain Trust is Back
Renowned filmmaker Justin Lin is back in the director’s chair after piloting the past three consecutive films in the franchise, and his vision guarantees that legions of Fast fans will feast on more of what they’re hungry for.
Chris Morgan — who was behind the third, fourth and fifth installments — wrote the script, so expect the same caliber of nail-biting thrills.
Producer Neil Moritz returns after producing all previous Fast films. And Vin Diesel, the heart and soul of the franchise, is back as a co-producer for the third time, guaranteeing this “third installment of the second trilogy,” as Diesel puts it, will stay true to its massive fan base.
With the creative power behind the series unwavering — don’t be surprised if 6 leads into a 7, 8 and 9. (But more on that later.)
6. MMA Star Gina Carano Joins the Cast
Heavy fans have long known Gina Carano for being, well, a total hardass with her MMA fighting, but you’ll know her as an up-and-coming action star after seeing Fast 6. She joins the cast as Riley, a member of the DDS (Diplomatic Security Service) team headed by Dwayne Johnson‘s (The Rock) Luke Hobbs.
Once the third-best female fighter in the world, Carano is as charming as she is lethal — and her addition brings the sexy side of brutality to a series loaded with testosterone. Fast 6 packs more punches (more on that below) than you can count, and Carano will be in the thick of the fray.
Carano told Heavy her MMA training gives her the perfect pedigree for Fast and Furious action:
It helps me so much because physical acting is sometimes just as important as verbal acting, and one thing I bring to the table is a natural sense of physicality, which I don’t really have to think about very much.
7. It Will Make a Sh*t-Ton of Money
As you can see from BoxOfficeMojo‘s chart above, the past installments of this franchise have been box office wins, with Fast 5 blowing them all away. Fast 6 is expected to kill it, and don’t be surprised if it’s the biggest movie of the summer. People love to see fast cars and explosions — who knew? It’s No. 8 on IMDB’s “Top Expected Box Office Hits of 2013” list, and it’s poised to surpass even Fast 5, which was the highest-grossing film of 2011 for 36 days.
8. It’s a Slugfest!
There’s much more hand-to-hand combat in this flick than in the past films — including intricately orchestrated brawls featuring several simultaneous head-to-head match-ups. The choreographed carnage pushes Lin’s directing genius to the max. As Luke Evans told Heavy:
There’s like seven fights going on at one point in the film. And I have no idea how Justin is even able to process how he’s gonna shoot this because we’re basically in the backgrounds of each other’s fights, so it’s gonna be mental.
Expect some of the hardest punches to be landed by Carano and newcomer Joe Taslim‘s Jah, a villain with a penchant for parkour and martial arts. Add their killer skills to those of proven onscreen pugilists like Diesel, Rodriguez and The Rock, and you’ve got a veritable fight card within a film.
9. The Cast is STACKED with Stars
To call the cast of Fast 6 star-studded is an egregious understatement. Here are some names you just might recognize:
Vin Diesel (Dominic Toretto)
Paul Walker (Brian O’Conner)
Dwayne Johnson (Luke Hobbs)
Jordana Brewster (Mia Toretto)
Michelle Rodriguez (Letty)
Tyrese Gibson (Roman Pearce)
Sung Kang (Han Seoul-Oh)
Gal Gadot (Gisele Yashar)
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (Tej Parker)
Jin Au-Yeung (Jimmy)
Elsa Pataky (Elena Neves)
10. This Isn’t the End (Probably)
There was once talk of filming a seventh installment in concert with Fast 6, but while that didn’t happen, indications now point to another trilogy — bringing the full count to nine. In a chat with Vin Diesel, he discussed his vision for Fast‘s future — and if his past ability to exert his will is any indication, our money’s on three more. But how can you top the scale and scope of Fast 6? It can’t get any bigger and badder. Well, maybe that’s not the point. As Diesel told us:
I think you’ll see a shift in 7. I think in 7 you’ll see kind of a return to the core, and you’ll see, without giving away this movie, you’ll see a coming home of sorts. It’ll be a kickoff to the next trilogy, done right. If we would have rushed 7, we would have had a great 7 and then not had a thought-out path for 8 and 9.”
Paul Walker told us that Fast 6 ties up all the loose ends — making 4,5 and 6 the perfect package. A logical stopping point. So he hinted — with somewhat-feigned dismay — that if 7 comes to fruition, it may indeed be just the beginning:
There’s been a lot of question about where the Tokyo Drift falls in the lineage of the whole thing. It all wraps up in [Fast 6]. You see the timeline. Justin got it. To me it’s a mindf*ck. I don’t know how he did it, but he did it. It all ties together. And that was really important to him. He wanted to really close it out. So, basically, what Vin and Justin have been saying for a while, it’s two trilogies. And this closes it out. So you start talking seven and I’m like ‘Oh sh*t, are we doing nine?’