FAST & FURIOUS 6
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
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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