FAST & FURIOUS 6
Bad Boys and Badder Girls: Series Newcomers
No matter how welcoming everyone is on a film
set, joining such a tight-knit community of cast and
crew can be a daunting experience. Just as Hobbs gets a
new second-in-command, Dom has a fresh adversary in
Fast & Furious 6: Owen Shaw. Looking to shake things
up once again, Lin wanted to delve into new challenges
to push Dom and the team into an arena where the
stakes are exponentially higher. Along with Morgan
and Diesel, Lin kept returning to the themes of family
and loyalty that Dom holds so dear. It's here that they
decided to introduce an adversary whose philosophy
was diametrically opposed to our heroes'.
As brilliant as he is lethal, Owen Shaw is a former
soldier of the British Special Air Services (SAS), the
elite special forces unit of the British army. Eschewing
his noble past, Shaw has assembled a team of highly
skilled mercenaries who are behind a string of high-
profile robberies of new technology that could fetch
billions on the black market. Indeed, he's
the baddest of the bad.
Lin describes how Shaw fits into this
endgame: "One of my big reasons to come
back and do another one was to truly have an
antagonist that's worthy of Dominic Toretto.
With Fast & Furious 6, I wanted to take a
different tack and create an antagonist that
had the opposite philosophy to Dom. Dom
often goes with trusting his gut, whereas
Shaw is more about the analytics where
there is no room for weakness. Being able to
truly develop that aspect of the 'team versus
team' idea was worth coming back for."
When he meets Shaw, Dom quickly realizes that he
is a cunning machine of efficiency and has a lock on
what makes him tick. Shaw states unequivocally that
Dom's notion of family is his weakness and will be his
downfall, especially when he exploits it to get what he
wants. It's a powerful ploy said with confidence when
standing inches from the burly Dom. The meeting
provides Dom with the knowledge of who he is dealing
with and what his team is up against.
Played with a polished steely veneer by Welsh actor
Luke Evans, Shaw joins this installment as a villain
unlike any other that Dom, Brian and the team have ever
encountered. Evans' introduction proved to be a double-
edged sword. Although it was good for the character's
sake, Evans did not have an opportunity to formally
meet most principal cast members prior to his first day
of filming. Evans' first scene of the day was a tense
confrontation that had the whole team staring down
a handcuffed Shaw who, despite being in the weaker
position, oozes ruthless confidence. As an actor, this was
an optimal situation that could wholly inform the scene,
but as the new guy on set, it was a bit disconcerting.
Evans, an established stage actor on London's West
End, is a relative newcomer to feature films and has
over the last several years appeared in a number of
high-profile films, including Peter Jackson's The Hobbit series. He was filming on location in New Zealand
when he got the call from Lin to discuss joining the
For Evans, it was a no-brainer. He was a big fan
of the franchise and relished the opportunity to play
a good guy gone bad who has made an enemy of
Hobbs and will go head-to-head with Dom. Says the
actor: "There's never been an archetypal villain like
Shaw in the Fast series. He's incredibly threatening
to Dom and the family that audiences have grown up
with over the years, and that's exciting to play. You
know you've got something great with the script, and
then Justin decides to crank it up one more speed and
add another dimension. It's exciting to be a part of
Under Lin's direction, the franchise has continued
to eclipse its predecessors. The cast believes it's due
to Lin's attention to detail when it comes to character
development and executing complicated stunt sequences.
Evans embraced his director's focus on the nuances,
delving into the narrative and character motivations. He
says: "On a daily basis, Justin and I spoke about Shaw.
Sometimes, just small physical moments and certain
looks, but also what's going on in the back of his mind,
which Justin is very good about reminding you. That's
why he's fantastic, because he's able to deal with these
humongous stunt sequences but he's also thinking about
what's going on in a character's head. He puts it all on a
plate, and all you have to do is eat it up."
Shaw's team proves to be the evil doppelgangers
to Hobbs, Dom and Brian's crew. They are so evenly
matched in technical know-how, close combat, weapons
and driving skills, that it's a fight to the finish when
they square off. Shaw always seems to be a step ahead
of Hobbs and Dom and keeps them confounded. This
matchup became an aspect of the plot that Moritz felt
was essential to raise the stakes. "It's not just a clean
win for our guys," states the producer. "There are a
number of times when Shaw's guys get the best of the
team and leave them bewildered. Shaw outsmarts them
at every turn, and they have to work for it as it becomes
much more of a cat-and-mouse game."
Completing Shaw's group of elite racers, in
addition to Rodriguez's Letty, is a diverse international
cast of actors. They include Indonesian martial-arts
phenom JOE TASLIM as Jah; Danish actors Kim Kold
as the 6'4", 310 lb. Klaus and THURE LINDHARDT
as Firuz; African actor SAMUEL STEWART as
Denlinger; and British performers CLARA PAGET,
BENJAMIN DAVIES, MATTHEW STIRLING and
DAVID AJALA as, respectively, Vegh, Adolfson,
Oakes and Ivory.
For a film whose roots are so firmly entrenched in
illegal street racing, the filmmakers knew that a full-
scale, whiplash-inducing racing scene needed to be
included in one of the four set pieces they envisioned
for the film. That scene, scripted as the "team vs. team"
sequence, would be our introduction to Shaw and his
crew, with their deadly toys and deadlier driving. An
explosion kicks the sequence into high gear as Dom
and the team -- in freshly government-issued high-performance BMW M5s -- try to intercept and capture
their nemeses. Precision driving, firefights and the
introduction of the FLIP CAR make the team realize
that the job won't be so easy after all.
Bridges sums up the deadly rivalry best: "This is
definitely one of the times that the team realizes they
have met their match, which is why this movie is
probably going to be just as good, or dare I say even
better than Fast Five."
For mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter-turned-
actress Gina Carano, the role of Riley, Hobbs'
disciplined second-in-command, is a perfect synergy
of her skill set, one she honed during her breakthrough
film, Steven Soderbergh's Haywire. Notes Carano:
"Riley is very quiet yet mighty and strong, and that's
a good role for me to take on in my second film. It's
been fun because she gets to sit back and observe what
is going on, but at the same time there's power in being
quiet and in the background. Those are always the
people I'm looking at, so it was cool to play that type
Carano admits that working so closely with Johnson
was inspiring. His transition from professional wrestler
to actor is an accomplishment she respects and with
which she identifies. Johnson is equally enthusiastic
of his co-star, commending: "Gina is everything that
Riley is. Not only is she beautiful, but she can kick ass.
She brings an authenticity to that role that is hard to
find in Hollywood." With his infamous grin, Johnson
adds: "You know what else she brings to the table?
She's been in the octagon and had these amazing fights
in women's MMA."
Evans, Carano and the rest of the new cast were
welcomed with open arms and made to feel like
part of the family. Based upon the sheer quantity
of hilarious videos, behind-the-scenes photos and
running commentary the cast shared online with
fans over the four-month shoot abroad, an off-screen
bond occurred among the returning actors and new
members. Excited fans around the world were able
to get a unique and unfiltered look at the group as
they laughed their way through frosty night shoots
or relaxed (read: nursed bruises) at the communal
lounge area outside of their trailers.
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