THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS
About The Production
Family No More:
Furious 7 proved to be an emotionally charged culmination of the beloved
franchise built on speed. Not only were the filmmakers and cast looking to pay
homage to the legacy of Paul Walker, who was inarguably the heart of the films,
but also to the very best of what The Fast and the Furious sparked in film
audiences more than 15 years ago...and continues to do with another generation of
Completing production of the film and then promoting it worldwide was both an
exhausting and energizing labor of love for all involved. But with the end of an
era came the inevitable questions of whether this was truly the finale of the
Faced with the decision of whether to continue the saga, producers Neal H.
Moritz and Vin Diesel, screenwriter Chris Morgan, Universal Pictures executives
and the rest of the cast had to think long and hard about their next step
together. The Fast family was in mourning, and, at the time, few could come up
with a worthwhile reason to pick up the pieces and resume the collective saga.
The outlaws of East Los Angeles' street racing underground had risen to infamy
on the international stage pulling off daring high-stakes heists. While they had
lost friends and gained enemies along the way...any new tale would ensure they
would remain true to their roots.
Whatever happened, the filmmakers felt they would need to do something
completely different if the series were to continue. When it was decided that
the franchise still had more riveting stories to share, they opted to throw a
curveball into the mix. The new direction would be an explosive turn of events
destined to rock the dedicated fan base to its NOS-loving core. Since the
beginning, the series' deep-seated theme of family has been entrenched in every
film, and that fundamental tenet would be put to the test.
"I only wanted to continue the saga if we were going to collectively make the
best final trilogy for ourselves, for the legacy of our brother Paul, and for
Universal, who's been so supportive over the years," says Diesel, who has served
as a producer on the series since Fast & Furious. "With Furious 7, our focus was
to not only make the best film in the saga but to honor what it has represented
for almost two decades. The key to this next chapter is to challenge those core
themes that have endured, and to do it in a way that is compelling but still
Screenwriter Chris Morgan, who returns for his sixth tour of duty with the
franchise, this time joins Moritz, Diesel and Fottrell as producer. For the
series architect who charts and crafts the interwoven multi-film story points,
this arc would pose his biggest challenge; once Morgan delineated the team's
ideas for the final trilogy, it would be a mind-blowing achievement.
"Recalls Morgan of the tipping point: "The Fate of the Furious is really about
the after effects of a profound moment that threatens to shatter everything you
believe in. What happens when the central figure of your family, the one who
preached the lesson of never turning your back on each other, breaks those
rules? What happens if he goes dark and his family has to take him on and stand
against him? It's unique and, at times, a little scary. It's great drama for the
franchise, and it gave us a reason to move forward in a compelling way."
It was an audacious premise and once Morgan, Moritz and Diesel blocked out the
story points, they knew they could blaze down a new road with an original,
high-octane tale while still maintaining the outlaw spirit that fans gravitate
to time after time.
Remarks longtime franchise producer Moritz: "What always amazes me is how we're
able to develop and maintain that blurred line between good guy and bad guy over
the course of this series. We've allowed each of our characters, new and old
alike, to grow in different directions. We never go into a new chapter with any
preconceived notions of what they should do, and let each movie organically grow
each of these characters. It has been satisfying to see how many different
arenas we can enter and ways we can go with them. That's part of the fun for the
audience: they love this cast of characters but are never sure exactly what's
going to happen with them."
With each new installment in the series, Moritz and Diesel always want to keep
fans on their toes and to allow them to be entertained by the unexpected.
Finding a director with the ability to deliver on every level, while retaining
the series' singular voice, has always been a prerequisite. Justin Lin set the
groundwork for a memorable four-film run when he reinvigorated the franchise
with Tokyo Drift, and James Wan did it with the record setting worldwide
box-office juggernaut of Furious 7.
Enter F. Gary Gray, whose versatile filmography includes the critically
acclaimed biopic Straight Outta Compton, the thriller The Negotiator, actioner
The Italian Job and cult comedy classic Friday, among many others. One will see
little similarities among these projects, and that's the way Gray likes it.
The director admits that he has long gravitated toward material that challenges
him. When faced with the tempting offer of taking on one of Universal's biggest
franchises, Gray was intrigued. Still, he dug a little deeper looking for that
one thing, that hook, to inspire and push his limits. "Artists dig in more when
they feel challenged, and this was a major challenge for me," he reflects. "I
wanted to bring something different to the franchise, and it all starts with the
story. This is completely different; it's nothing we've ever experienced in the
The Fate of the Furious would allow Gray the opportunity to take a massive
tentpole film and bring his singular approach to storytelling, eliciting
performances and crafting narrative to deliver an unexpected experience on every
He was primed to take the series in a fascinating new direction. Not only did
Gray come to the table with innovative ideas to ground the series, he also
arrived on set sharing longstanding relationships with many of the Fast cast.
The filmmaker had directed Diesel in A Man Apart, Statham and Theron in The
Italian Job, and Johnson in Be Cool. Additionally, he knows Gibson and Bridges
socially from entertainment industry functions, as well as his early days in the
industry, when he directed music videos and TV commercials.
Diesel was very pleased to see the talented filmmaker join the Fast & Furious
family. "I knew from A Man Apart what Gary could pull out in terms of a darker
character. I knew he would be perfect," he commends. "Gary is a director who,
first and foremost, focuses with exactitude on performance; that's why we have
Oscar-winning actors in this film. We knew he was going to pay that much-needed
attention to the nuances of performance that this chapter would call for."
Gray knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish when he first met with the
producers to discuss The Fate of the Furious' signature tone and direction. "Dom
Toretto is always about family, and with this storyline it's the absolute
opposite of what you expect. I wanted to be a part of delivering not only this
different story, but delivering a performance that you've never seen from the
entire cast. Now we're able to explore this different realm of emotions with Dom
going up against his family."
Trust No One:
All-Star Cast Returns
Like Diesel, Gray is all about strong character dynamics. The director made the
point to do his own research, which translated into revisiting the whole
franchise and checking in with the millions of rabid fans around the world who
are vocal about their on-screen family...and who have no problem sharing those
thoughts on a daily basis on social media. It was an eye-opener for Gray, but it
got him more invested in the series and, in turn, deepened his focus to satisfy
the savvy audience with his take on the next chapter.
He decided he would give equal time and importance to the small intimate story
moments as he did with the big hyped up action beats. For Fast & Furious fans,
most of those emotional beats almost always begin and end with the Dom-Letty
Michelle Rodriguez, who originated the role of straight-shooting Letty Ortiz in
2001, has been a fierce proponent of keeping the couple's relationship as
grounded and real as possible, especially with its tumultuous history. That
relationship has been placed in jeopardy time and time again, most jarringly in
Fast & Furious with her supposed death. But even in her absence, Letty's
presence was just as strong, culminating in her on-screen resurrection as the
coda of Fast Five and reconnection with Dom and her family of friends in Fast &
Their unconventional love story is a testament to the multi-layered films'
staying power for close to two decades. "A woman's most powerful gift is love,"
reflects Rodriguez. "What's beautiful about Dom is that he only sees love's
strength, and that's a testament to his character. It takes a certain type of
guy to accept a really strong woman. But isn't that the beauty of love? You're
so connected to that one person that the only thing that matters is what you
both know to be true. What Vin and I try to convey with Letty and Dom is that,
ultimately, the true message is this idealistic love drives people to fight for
each other, to stay together tough times and to believe in each other."
After surviving the machinations that kept them separated for years, The Fate of
the Furious finds Dom and Letty reunited and enjoying the laid back beauty of
Cuba. But it is all about to disappear when a routine mission explodes and Dom
betrays everyone he's loved...and has loved him.
Faced with incontrovertible evidence that Dom has joined forces with a
cyber-terrorist, seeds of doubt sprout within the team and begin to splinter the
now fragile bonds. Despite everything, Letty is the lone holdout who believes in
Dom. A lifetime of love that has triumphed and evolved cannot be denied. "Letty
is moving on faith for the entire movie," reflects Rodriguez. "She knows Dom,
she knows how he's wired and what drives him; this is the toughest thing she's
ever faced. Dom and Letty's relationship is born of an unconditional love that
binds them to one another."
"The love is so deep between these two," adds Diesel, "and as bleak as the
situation looks, Letty is going to fight for her man...no matter what."
With seven box-office busting chapters of the Fast franchise under his belt,
Moritz feels that the team's collective approach has given them an unbridled
freedom to create revitalizing stories, and that means destroying what fans
think they know. "The mythology that we've created, not only with each of the
characters, but with the different worlds that the Fast franchise touches upon,
has allowed us to go in so many different directions-literally and
figuratively-with our characters to explore things we never thought we would
explore to them. Relationships have been built and then disbanded, and that's
what's so special about it. We have so many stories, and it's all about deciding
which ones we're going to tell in each movie."
Beginning with Fast Five the filmmakers hit their stride by layering in new
characters, whether for short or long terms storylines. They brought back
franchise favorites Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Sung Kang and GAL
GADOT, while introducing new cast members like Dwayne Johnson and Elsa Pataky.
This is also punctuated by Nathalie Emmanuel's genius hacktivist Ramsey, who
created God's Eye-the prototype tracking device that fueled the Furious 7 plot
line-Kurt Russell's disarming high-level government operative Mr. Nobody. Jason
Statham would follow suit with his notorious introduction in the Fast & Furious
6 postscript, which left audiences gasping at the connection to Han's death in
Tokyo Drift, and knowing the stage was set for Furious 7.
With the notion of family turned completely on its head, the filmmakers
naturally felt obligated to delve into the unmined territory of several of the
series characters' backgrounds. Audience members caught a rare glimpse of the
man behind the trash talking badass when Hobbs' daughter, Samantha, appeared by
his side in the hospital in Furious 7.
Morgan again worked closely with Dwayne Johnson to flesh out additional
backstory for elite DSS agent Hobbs, the ultimate lawman whose own strict moral
code has grown more flexible...thanks to the dÃ©tente that he and Dom established
years ago. Very few are able to pierce business-only Hobbs' veneer, but as the
team earned his respect and trust, a burgeoning camaraderie grew.
For Hobbs, this is what makes Dom's actions in this chapter so unforgivable.
Blindsided by Dom's betrayal during a covert mission in Berlin, Hobbs becomes
collateral damage and is left to fend for himself. The U.S. government has now
turned its back on one of its own, and Hobbs ends up serving his sentence in the
same super-max prison where he previously deposited his former nemesis Deckard
Shaw. No longer on the right side of the law himself, Hobbs begins to shed those
layers that used to define him as the best of the best.
Johnson appreciated the opportunity for character growth that the new chapter
gave him, especially the opportunity to spar-verbally and physically-with
longtime pal Jason Statham. He explains: "With Hobbs, there are no handcuffs,
and I love how he's been able to pierce the franchise. Since Fast Five, we've
set up a foundation where he can say anything. Now, the story of this film gave
Jason and me great liberty with where to go. We wanted to fully create this
Butch-and-Sundance relationship that audiences are going to love. We have two
wisecracking, badass guys talking shit to each other, but a bond is forming."
Always game to up his action quotient, Johnson welcomed the ideas that Morgan
and the production team came up with for his character. "When Hobbs must give up
his badge, that is a powerful moment. Still, the film puts Hobbs back in a
position that is his sweet spot: the space of hunting people down," Johnson
explains. And whether it is jumping out of buildings, off supermax prison
catwalks or into frigid waters, Hobbs always get his man. "When you think of
gargantuan submarines chasing us, cars being remote controlled and flying out of
buildings, those are just two examples of next-level action here. We're giving
fans a second dessert they didn't even know to expect."
For his part, Shaw, the laser-focused covert operative who relentlessly pursued
Dom and the crew in Furious 7, has been biding his time in the a hidden facility
where only the baddest of the bad are tossed. But with the arrival of Hobbs at
supermax, the sentence has become a bit more tolerable.
Statham agrees with his fellow star: "Deckard's always got something up his
sleeve, so it's great to have this continuing conflict with Hobbs. Dwayne and I
get the opportunity to play around with this tension, which is a great vehicle
for these two who really have this have that oil-and-water thing going on."
The layers of Shaw's back-story will also be peeled back to reveal more about
the British operative who has his own staunch familial moral code, which
eventually builds a begrudging, respect for his prey. Deckard's younger brother,
Owen, played by Welsh actor LUKE EVANS, was introduced in Fast & Furious 6 as
the first villain in the series who had the cunning and ability to be considered
by Dom and the team as a true adversary. When Deckard last left his little
brother, Owen was clinging to life in a hospital...thanks to the revenge of Dom.
For Hobbs and Shaw, Gray wanted to see the pair engage in verbal sparring...as a
precursor to the rematch of their explosive fight sequence from Furious 7. The
ensuing Hobbs/Shaw no-holds-barred prison-wide brawl in The Fate of the Furious
is the result of Mr. Nobody's ploy to break Hobbs out of supermax. What ensues
is another dynamic action sequences that pits former adversaries against each
Explains Gray: "Hobbs and Shaw are both prisoners, but they are fighting for
very different reasons and that's what makes this sequence so dynamic. What I
love about it is that we showcase two different fighting styles. Jason has this
cool, martial-arts, parkour style while Dwayne is just raw strength crushing
everything and knocking dudes out. I love the contrast, not only in their
motivations, but the contrasts in their styles of fighting. It's going to be a
classic cinema moment."
Revisiting a character every two years is a luxury that many actors do not get
in the film business but for Chris "Ludacris" Bridges who marks his fifth turn
as the automotive and tech tactician Tej, it's a welcome sign when Morgan's
newest script shows up. Gone is the afro and garage coveralls Tej sported when
he made his debut as a hustler in Miami's illegal racing circuit in 2 Fast 2
Furious. These days he's upgraded his wardrobe, toys and tools of the trade with
the best that money can buy.
"At this point I'm so heavily invested with Tej that anytime someone tells me
what he should or shouldn't be doing, I take it personally. I always want him to
continue to progress in every movie and not stay the same. So I take it all very
seriously, from what he says to how he comes across on the screen. There's still
so much to him that that people don't know about. The fact he stepped up as the
tech-savvy member of the team has been a great transition for him."
With the return of Nathalie Emmanuel who made her franchise debut in Furious 7
as the brilliant hacker and God's Eye creator Ramsey, Tej again has his work
wife to up his tech skills. The beautiful loner is now a more comfortable part
of the team and has settled into her role alongside Tej, and has also built up
her tech game now that she has unlimited resources.
But even as Letty is steadfast in her support of Dom, genius hacker Ramsey is
the first to openly question where Dom's loyalty lies. "Ramsey hasn't had the
history with Dom that the rest of the characters have," reflects Nathalie
Emmanuel, who rocketed to fame on Game of Thrones as Missandei. "Although she's
been welcomed into the family, at the same time she is logical. She is all about
the zeroes and ones and doing the math to try to figure out from a logical point
of view what happened. Also, Ramsey is not necessarily as emotional as they are,
and is the only one that can ask that question 'Did he go rogue?'"
Tej and Ramsey's productive partnership has left Roman looking on from the
sidelines...wheels turning as he tries to insert himself into the equation. Roman
Pearce has consistently been the source of humor to balance out the high-octane
action and drama that is the bedrock of the Fast series. No matter the
situation, he is the first to eschew authority and speak his mind with his
filter-free take on every situation; this always elicits the biggest audience
For Tyrese Gibson who reprises his role as the flashy Roman-childhood friend of
Brian O'Conner who met up with the then-disgraced cop in 2 Fast 2 Furious in
Miami-returning to the familiar faces and rhythms of the Fast set was
wholeheartedly welcomed. Even the film's fractured storyline dynamic couldn't
put a damper on Roman's enthusiasm.
During the days when Diesel wasn't in front of the screen with his teammates,
Gibson's remedy to keep his Fast family connected was to erect an outdoor lounge
area. There, fellow cast mates and guests could hang to listen to music, grab a
bite to eat, watch television, celebrate a birthday or the end of grueling work
week; Gibson's lounge was open to everyone.
It's simple, cites Gibson of the off screen interactions: "The Fast cast pride
ourselves on not just promoting the film's family, but actually being a family.
Personally, it's made all the difference in the world in my life; I'm just
giving my family a place to relax and hang."
Spanish actress Elsa Pataky is back as Elena Neves, the Rio cop who fell for
Dom, then became a fugitive on the lam, in Fast Five. Connecting over their
shared losses she walks away from her life in Rio to build a new one with Dom in
the Canary Islands. However, their idyllic life collapses with Letty's return.
As devastated as she is, Elena knows that Dom needs to find out the truth about
his soul mate.
She slowly rebuilds her life and joins Hobbs at DSS. Still, as resilient as
Elena is she makes the decision to leave the agency and put some distance
between herself and her complicated history with Dom.
Despite her character's story arc over the franchise, Pataky is a firm believer
that the love Elena shared with Dom forever binds them. "The one true thing
about Elena and Dom is that they will always be there for each other. Although
they no longer share a romantic love, there is still love, respect and a history
that is based on a true friendship. Despite what everyone else sees, Elena, like
Letty, knows family is still the most important thing to Dom."
While Elena's loyalties will always remain on the side of who she loves...Mr.
Nobody's loyalties still remain to be seen. The iconic performer Kurt
Russell-whose character is back from an almost-certain death in the last
film-takes great pleasure in the mischievous government spook who keeps everyone
"Coming in on Furious 7, I wanted to be able to create something that was a
little bit different for this franchise," Russell explains. "You don't know much
about Mr. Nobody, which I thought would be a fun invention for this serial
approach. For now, he is proving to be a guy that the gang can trust. I don't
know how long or if that will actually remain, but that's what is so fun about
playing him. He takes everything as it comes and is very flippant about it all."
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