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Rolling a 10-Ton Chieftain Tank in Canary Islands
Mid-October found the cast and crew gearing up to film for several weeks on location in Tenerife, Canary Islands. They would join the second unit team, who was finishing up their five-week shoot on the sun- drenched island. The Canary Islands, which Mia advised in Fast Five has "no extradition with the U.S.," now serves as their refuge. For production, the versatile island served as a bonus location and offered a multitude of filming options. The lush green northern side served as locations for Dom and Elena's home, Brian and Mia's home, the hospital where baby Jack is born and Tej's tropical exile in Costa Rica, as well as the opening driving sequence as Dom and Brian raced through the narrow, hilly streets in their signature rides.

A motorway nestled in the stark, arid mountains in the southern region of the island offered the perfect vista for yet another jaw-dropping sequence that has Shaw and his team hijacking a convoy with Dom and our heroes again nipping at his heels. Two different stretches of a motorway being built by the local government, a five-kilometer and a 10-kilometer one, each allowed both the main and second units to film practical action of the tank sequence. Here, we watch the Chieftain tank speeding down the highway, taking out vehicles as Dom and his team attempt to thwart their plans.

Once filming was underway and the team saw the second unit footage, the crew realized they could possibly outdo the gold standard of Fast Five's vault sequence. Truly, the massive tank was doing everything it was designed to do and more. Williams used his expertise in physics, engineering and mechanics to ensure it. His team had made up two additional versions of the tank -- modified to be lighter at merely 10 tons each and contain functional spinning turrets; these "mini-beasts" were able to shoot black gun powder-based blasts while still reaching speeds of 70 mph.

For the filmmakers, it was all in a day's work. "We crushed a lot of cars, as usual," cites Moritz. "We probably did the most damage because of the tank sequence. There was a graveyard of smashed cars on the side of the freeway, and when I say smashed cars, I mean cars that were 5-feet-high were pancaked to 12 inches. Our plan was to have a mix of practical crushes combined with visual effects but, thankfully, the tank was so efficient we were able to shoot a lot of this in real time. It's an amazing sequence that has never been done before."

The presence of the entire cast on the island generated excitement among inquisitive locals. Hundreds of fans waited in the streets and braved an atypical downpour of rain for the chance to get a glimpse of their favorite actors. After the first day of filming, word of mouth on the island brought out the local gearheads, who naturally cruised the streets to show off their babies -- replete with custom paint jobs and ear-piercing horsepower.

For Lin, Diesel, Moritz, Townsend and the rest of the cast and crew, there was nothing more satisfying than that procession, a testament to the staying power of the franchise and cultural phenomenon that is has become.

Appropriately, after the cold, rainy London shoot that was followed by the sun-drenched weeks in Tenerife, the final days of shooting on Fast & Furious 6 would be in Los Angeles. The original Toretto home, near Dodger Stadium, was the final location for filming. The house, which was used in the first chapter, has changed owners twice. The garage, which housed Dom's prized Charger and had long been demolished, was rebuilt -- as it was for Fast & Furious -- for filming. The filmmakers and Universal had the foresight to keep the original design plans.

It was a homecoming long overdue for all, especially Diesel, Walker, Rodriguez and Brewster, who spent the most time at the two-story bungalow-style home. As the ensemble cast filmed some of their last scenes together, one couldn't help but think that all roads do indeed lead here.


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