FAST & FURIOUS 6
Stronger Together: A Family Reunion
From the start, the theme of family has been the
backbone to the success of the franchise. Over the
course of reassembling this group, the actors have
become an extended family of their own. Series
godfather Neal Moritz has watched as his core team
has grown over the years. "The Fast family has been
together on and off for almost 14 years, so there is
history here," he offers. "We've been making these
movies through the birth of children, marriages, and
the ups and downs of professional and personal life.
Everybody is back because not only did they have
a great experience making Fast Five, they loved the
movie as much as the audience did. We did something
special, and they wanted to see how to grow it with
Six. The range of personalities is all over the place, but it works for this collective chemistry on screen. The
camaraderie off screen is equally as amazing."
Fast & Furious 6 picks up mere months after the
Rio heist, with our crew scattered across the world.
Dom and Elena are living in the Canary Islands with
new parents Brian and Mia, while new couple Han and
Gisele are enjoying Hong Kong. Tej has settled into
chilling on the beach in Costa Rica, while fun-loving
Roman lives the glamorous jet-setting life. Millions in
the bank makes the world much easier for our heroes,
but as fugitives they are constantly looking over their
shoulders, living in fear of being discovered.
Of the characters' evolution, Lin offers: "I was
excited to explore the idea of 'What is true satisfaction?'
I wanted to look at the fact that Dom, Brian and all
the characters have friends, family and anything that
money can buy, but that there are still restrictions that
continue to haunt them all...in addition to the fact that
they have a single chance to earn total freedom for
peace of mind."
It is Luke Hobbs, the tough-as-hell federal agent
who relentlessly hunted down our protagonists in Fast
Five, who returns and confronts Dom's team with life-
changing news. When Hobbs was introduced in the
series, he proved a formidable opponent and the perfect
foil to ex-con Dom. However, as the story played out and
each man took stock of the other, begrudging respect
began to be felt by Hobbs -- even as he continued his
single-minded pursuit of Dom. Ultimately, saving Hobbs
from a bullet earned Dom and
Brian a swift getaway, with the
not-so-subtle warning that he
would always be watching.
The filmmakers and
Johnson knew that placing
Dom and Hobbs on the same
side this time warranted a
careful approach. They all
wanted a plausible reason that
would up the ante enough so
Hobbs would make the offer and Dom would accept.
Indeed, it was essential that the film not rely upon a
cookie-cutter setup. Any type of partnership between
the two men would not be an easy one; their history all
but guaranteed it.
Discussing the setup, Johnson reflects: "The key
to having Dom and Hobbs work together is that the
tension still has to be palpable. They both will get what
they want from this bargain they've struck, but there
has to be tension that the audience can feel. Then it's
authentic and genuine."
So what would be the common denominator that
would make unlikely partners of Hobbs and Dom?
When Hobbs enlists Dom's team's help to bring
down Owen Shaw, a paramilitary-trained criminal
mastermind, Dom learns that Shaw has an unexpected
second-in-command: Letty. Hobbs knows that Letty
is Dom's weak link, and his move is a calculated one.
Still, Hobbs is smart enough to know that to catch an
elusive villain like Shaw, he needs to operate outside
of the law.
This gets us to the heart of the chapter: the reunion
of Dom and Letty, and to an equal extent, Diesel and
Rodriguez. The pair became great friends over the
course of filming the first chapter of the series, and
that relationship has grown throughout the years.
Says Diesel: "There's something special about Dom
and Letty that goes beyond my playing the role, or
Michelle playing the role. Theirs is a cherished love, and there's strength in that. The fact that it exists on
the wrong side of the tracks is what makes it even that
much more intriguing."
Another aspect of the love story resonates with
Rodriguez, who admits working with Diesel makes the
relationship that much more believable: "The beauty
of this story is a love lost and the desperation of not
being able to get that back. I'm a sucker for this type
of love story. If I'm ever going to re-create that, Vin's
the guy to do it with. I wouldn't be able to pull that off
chemistry-wise with anybody else. Vin and I definitely
do not fall under that category of the typical pretty boy
and pretty girl. We're as gritty as it gets. I get along with
him so well. It's on-screen chemistry and also a 13-year
friendship, and that's something audiences can see."
Ever since he watched The Fast and the Furious,
writer/executive producer Chris Morgan has owned his
role as one of the franchise's biggest fans. Therefore, as
he began fleshing out the plot points for the series' arc,
jump-starting the love story was of great importance.
Morgan notes: "There's a scene in this movie where
Dom and Letty race against each other. That is one of
the most sublime moments in the film, watching Letty
fall in love with Dom again as they race. It may sound
cheesy, but there's something amazing when he pulls
this maneuver and she looks over at him and thinks,
'This guy is crazy, but it all makes sense.'"
Although an intricate story arc was in place for
Fast & Furious 6, the idea of bringing Letty back had
been bandied among Lin, Morgan and Diesel years
before the fan uprising. Morgan explains that Letty had
to disappear in Fast & Furious to move the narrative
forward...and to up the stakes for Dom and the crew:
"This was the right decision knowing that, down the
road, we were going to bring Letty back. If you bring
her back immediately afterward it would have felt
calculated and contrived. We never wanted to make it
easy. Honestly, it is one of the most important things
we talked about. That and 'What does that mean to
Dom?' It's interesting to put Dom in a situation where
he's one of us. We've all had that girl who we loved
and lost and we wanted to get back."
Rodriguez admits that early on during filming of
the first movie, she worked hard to ensure that the feisty
street racer had integrity and wasn't the stereotypical
promiscuous girl. It was important to her that Letty
hold fast and remain true to her street credibility. When
she learned that Letty would return to the fold, it was
cathartic for Rodriguez. The actress shares: "Letty
has all these talents and skills but has no memory of
ever using them and the history that comes with it, so
there's a beauty about that. That sets the tone for her
throughout the film. She's searching for her place in the
world through doing what she knows -- pulling heists,
driving fast and not getting caught."
For Dom, the one person who knows Letty the best
and loves her the most, the photo that Hobbs shows
him at the beginning of this film rocks his world as he's
trying to rebuild his life with Elena. Leaving Letty in
the Dominican Republic set everything in motion, and
he's carried the burden of guilt for what he believes led
to her death.
Determined to find the truth, Dom strikes a deal
with Hobbs that gives Dom the chance to redeem
himself and bring clarity to the past. Says Diesel:
"When Hobbs delivers the information about Letty, it
makes Dom second-guess everything. A large part of
this movie was playing a character that had to reevaluate
what's the truth and what's not. It would be surreal for
anybody to go years living your life, doing whatever
you had to do to move on, only to be told that your past
is not necessarily your past."
Brian and Mia also feel the impact of Letty's
reappearance. Mia, lifelong friends with Letty, is
hopeful but realistic about the turn of events, while
Brian remains skeptical. He is unwilling to let this new
development go unresolved, yet is equally reluctant to
leave Mia and his newborn son, Jack, behind. He is still
racked with guilt over his part in recruiting Letty to
infiltrate Braga's organization, which put her in danger's
way. Fatherhood has changed Brian, who was raised
by a single mother, and the desire to return home with
Mia and Jack is strong. As much as he is compelled to
find answers, leveraging a deal out of Hobbs for a full
pardon is the only viable option for his family.
Over the course of four Fast films, Paul Walker has
seen former cocky undercover cop Brian O'Conner
reexamine his moral compass. As he first
investigates Dom and falls in love with Mia,
then faces disgrace with both the LAPD and
FBI and lives as a fugitive, Brian has had one
of the biggest character evolutions in the series,
going from one side of the law to the other.
Although Walker didn't believe they could
top the action from the last film, he was more
than impressed with how his director took it to
another level. He also appreciated that everyone
has his or her moment to shine in Fast & Furious
6. The actor reflects: "I feel like everybody gets
an opportunity to just kick some ass. Everyone's
got a little more pop, a little more strut to their
step. It's cool seeing that."
After playing this role for more than a decade,
Walker feels a responsibility to keep Brian and the series
as realistic as possible. "The one thing I've learned over
the years is that our films mean a lot to many people,
and sometimes it is hard to be objective when you have
so much time and effort invested in it," he says. "The
most important thing is that we keep our characters
and their stories based in reality. Obviously, there are
times where you have to concede the point because the
goal is to make films that are dynamic. Our films work
because there is that delicate balance between the two."
No one understands that balance better than Mia
Toretto, portrayed once again by Jordana Brewster.
"You're stronger together," Mia states to Dom and
Brian as they try to comprehend the revelation that
Letty is alive and discuss their plan of action. Neither
man can deny it: They've had each other's back since
they first met as the undercover cop looking to nab the
ex-con and his crew.
The unyielding resolve that Mia exhibited in Fast
Five has now been reinforced by motherhood, and she
is committed to keeping her family stronger and safer
than ever. She is a Toretto through and through and
understands that loyalty binds her family. Brewster, who
first tackled the role 12 years ago, explains: "Mia's a mom now. She needs to protect her baby, but she also
knows Dom and Brian well enough to not hold them
back -- especially when it's as important as bringing a
loved one back. She's smart enough to see they will take
care of each other. They've become brothers."
Brewster, eager to return for her fourth turn as Mia,
simultaneously shot Fast & Furious 6 in London while
filming her television series Dallas in Texas. It was a
scheduling challenge, but one that Brewster made work
so she could revisit the character she admired, while
also enjoying her extended Fast family on location.
One aspect of filming that Brewster was keen
to repeat was to participate more in the film's action
sequences. Fortunately, this chapter gives her the
chance to be behind the wheel again...as an integral
part of the final action sequence. Fast Five was her first
real introduction to immersing herself in mind-blowing
stunt sequences, and she was ready for more. "I love
getting a little taste of the action again," she laughs.
"I have a scene with KIM KOLD, who is massive. He
dwarfs Dwayne and Vin; it's crazy how big he is. But
he did complain that I dented his boot and bruised his
shin. I was proud."
Chris "Ludacris" Bridges was
looking forward to returning to his
role as the tech-savvy Tej Parker. As
much as Bridges loved the thrill ride
that Fast Five offered, he was ready
to outdo it. He was also happy to see
that his character, the auto mechanic
with a penchant for illegal street
racing, was still doing what he loved,
despite the millions he now has in
the bank. "Money doesn't change
Tej," states the actor/hip-hop artist.
"Whereas most people get money
and want to quit their jobs, he's just
one of those guys who still wants
to do a job that he loves. Of course,
whenever you get $10 million your
life is going to change. For Tej, he's still buying exotic
cars and tinkering around with computers, but he's
also having fun on the beach."
Tyrese Gibson's Roman Pearce continues to be the
comedic voice in this world, as well as prove that the
series can work both as a global action tentpole and
give a lot of opportunity for comedy. From the moment
he appeared in 2 Fast 2 Furious as Brian's fast-talking,
petty-thieving childhood friend, the die has been cast
with both the actor and the audience. Pearce has no
qualms in bucking authority and speaking his mind,
and Gibson is more than happy to see that his character
hasn't mellowed. He says: "That's Roman's personality.
He's the guy who doesn't take life too seriously and
has a problem with authority -- even with $10 million
in the bank. I'm just glad that he remains the same in
that respect, because I feel like Roman is the voice of
the people. That's what I love about the character: he
always has something to say."
Sung Kang joined the series midstream, debuting
in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift as Han, the
cool cat (with equally smooth driving skills) who ran Tokyo's illegal street-racing scene. With subsequent
appearances in Fast & Furious, Fast Five and now Fast
& Furious 6, Han would become the thread that ties the
franchise timeline together. The challenge for Kang, not
to mention Morgan and Lin, was how to craft a credible
backward arc for Han, who was ostensibly introduced
in a later chapter of the series. Reflects Kang: "In Tokyo
Drift, a lot of the life lessons that Han gave the other
characters, I had to manufacture them and ask myself,
'Why does Han live by this certain code?' So over these
last four films, it's been nice to mentally move forward
within the script and see the life lessons that Han has
learned from Dom and the family...and to put the pieces
together of why Han is the way he is in the third film."
This chapter finds that the mutual admiration
between Han and Gisele, established in Fast Five, has
grown into a full-blown romance. Gal Gadot was first
introduced to audiences in Fast & Furious as a top
lieutenant in Braga's (played once again in this film by
John Ortiz) organization who aligns with Dom when
Braga forsakes her to save himself. Dom saved her life,
and that act gained him her loyalty when Gisele joined
up with the crew in Fast Five to pull off the heist.
The then-unknown Israeli actress has been enjoying
the ride, especially in this film, which has enabled her
to tap into her tough side. "I'm so happy
about all of the action in Fast & Furious
6 since in the previous two, I didn't get
to do as much," offers Gadot. "I've long
told Justin, 'I want Gisele to be more of a
badass. Whatever you throw at me I will
do. I want to do it all.' I remember my first
conversation with Justin for this film, and
he asked, 'Are you up for it? You're going
to have a lot of action in this one.' I was so
Gadot did not disappoint with her
commitment to doing many of her own
stunts, not to mention riding a DUCATI
MONSTER motorcycle like a pro. Despite
just having had a baby, the performer spent several days
suspended in a harness doing the bulk of the wire work
for the Russian ANTONOV 124 plane scene in which
our heroes are trying to bring down a cargo aircraft that's
been commandeered by Shaw's crew. In the film's final
sequence, Gadot fires off weapons and weaves through
detonating squibs during a firefight with Shaw's team.
In Fast Five, Spanish actress Elsa Pataky joined
the franchise as Elena Neves, the Rio cop who fell for
Dom. The pair connected over a shared loss of their
loved ones, and their similar circumstances and respect
for each other sparked a romance. The information
that Letty is still alive threatens to tear apart Dom's
relationship with Elena, who has given up everything --
her law enforcement career, home and country -- to go
on the lam with him. They have created a life together
and a trusted family unit with Brian and Mia.
When it came to Letty's re-emergence, Pataky
admits to initially having a difficult time on how to
tackle this plot reveal. Now, she better understands
the impact of Letty's return on Dom and Elena's
relationship. "Elena is strong but it's difficult for her to
let Dom go, even though her first inclination is to fight
for him," says Pataky. "She knows it's the right thing to
do and if she was in the same situation, she would have handled it the same way. Elena would rather Dom stay
with her, but as long as there is any possibility Letty
is alive, Elena knows that she has to be brave and let
Dom figure it out."
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