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FAST AND FURIOUS

Thugs and Goddesses
To complement the returning cast members, the filmmakers and casting directors looked to an array of supporting talent…particularly for the villains who would go head-to-head with the likes of Dom, Brian, Letty and Mia. American Gangster's John Ortiz and Jarhead's Laz Alonso were just the actors to fit the bill as, respectively, drug runners Campos and Fenix. When he began the project, native New Yorker Ortiz was more familiar with the perils of public transportation than with blasting through the underground tunnels of Mexico in the latest-model racers. To get into character, he and Alonso decided early on to create a backstory for their cartel characters. They knew that Campos was the arrogant second-in-command in drug kingpin Braga's army, while Fenix is the muscle who kills anyone who could complicate his mercenary mission. and the treacherous Gisele (GAL GADOT).

To flesh out their pasts, Ortiz relates, "We decided we were best friends who grew up together. He was the guy who took care of me in the school yard. And on the streets, he was the guy who would beat up anyone picking on me. We thought that translated well into what's going on with us in the film.”

Alonso got into character for the felon that Dom chases when he learns Fenix had a role in killing his friend. The actor saw the sociopath Fenix as a man who thought of Dom as an actual challenge and someone he would "enjoy killing.” Playing the antagonist allowed for a "clash of the titans from the first minute we set eyes on each other,” Alonso states. "My character thinks, ‘All right, I want to take him out.'”

Also joining the team is stunning newcomer GAL GADOT, an Israeli native who makes her feature film debut in Fast & Furious as the treacherous Gisele, a liaison for Dom and Brian to Braga's empire. Returning for a cameo is Dom's close friend Han, played by Tokyo Drift's Sung Kang.

To round out the drug runners who rouse Toretto and O'Conner and set the stage for the homecoming that rocks the L.A. street racing scene, Lin and the casting directors selected a rogues' gallery of bad guys and badder girls.

Beginning in 2000, Moritz thought to inject another level of street savvy into the series by casting up-and-coming hip-hop artists in each chapter. This time around, the filmmakers went to the Caribbean to recruit Latin superstars DON OMAR and TEGO CALDERÓN, who portray members of Dom and Letty's Dominican Republic fuel-tanker heist crew.

Tipping a hat to the Latin influence threaded throughout Fast & Furious, the filmmakers tapped into the genre of reggaeton, a style of music that counts Diesel as a fan. It was the actor who first steered Lin and Moritz to Omar and Calderón when the Tokyo Drift soundtrack was being laid out. The two recording artists contributed "Bandaleros,” while Omar also added the single "Conteo.”

Omar, a self-described muscle car fan, is the owner of a 1941 Chevy truck and professes a love of American autos that goes back to working on them with his father when he was a boy. He sums the new cast members' (and audiences') feelings about entering the latest chapter of the franchise: "Everybody loves fast cars, beautiful girls and parties. That is the special thing that makes people go crazy and look for another edition of Fast & Furious.”

Completing the core cast is Brian's team at the FBI, comprising Fun With Dick and Jane's JACK CONLEY as his hard-nosed boss, Agent Penning; Pride and Glory's SHEA WHIGHAM as weasel bureaucrat Agent Stasiak; and Cloverfield's LIZA LAPIRA as Agent Trinh, the brilliant analyst who guides Brian to drug kingpin Campos. Letty and Dom prep for the fuel heist.

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