Vin Diesel and crew are back in the driver’s seat for The Fate of the Furious, only this time it’s family ties that are at stake.
With the devastating passing of Paul Walker towards the end of filming Furious 7, many were unsure whether this would mean the end of the road for the Fast and Furious franchise. After much deliberation, however, Vin Diesel and the team of producers decided to move the series forward in a direction many thought it would never take – what if Dominic Toretto turned his back on his family?
When millions of fans tuned into the world premiere trailer for The Fate of the Furious, they were left gobsmacked – Dom would never turn his back on those he held nearest and dearest. And as such, they knew there had to be a good reason.
“With Furious 7, our focus was to not only make the best film in the saga, but to honour what it has represented for almost two decades,” says star and producer Diesel. “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 entertaining. 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.”
F8 screenwriter Chris Morgan has been with the series since Tokyo Drift, and was determined to shake up the usual dynamic for this film. “The Fate of the Furious is really about the after effects of a profound moment that threatens to shatter everything you believe in,” he explains. “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.”
At the wheel of The Fate of the Furious is Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray, who accepted the job because it was so unlike anything he’d done previously – much like the themes that drive the plot.
“Artists dig in more when they feel challenged, and this was a major challenge for me,” he notes. “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 Fast franchise.
“Dom Toretto is always about family, and with this storyline it’s the absolute opposite of what you expect,” continues the director, who also realised he needed to shake things up to keep fans interested. “I wanted to be a part of delivering not only this different story, but also 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.”
Of course with Dom going against his family, he’s also betraying his soul mate, Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), who is predictably rattled by this about-face. “Letty is moving on faith for the entire movie,” considers 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 Vin Diesel, “and as bleak as the situation looks, Letty is going to fight for her man… no matter what.”
Rodriguez continues that the most important gift a woman can offer is her love. “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. What Vin and I try to convey with Letty and Dom is that, ultimately, the true message is that idealistic love drives people to fight for each other, to stay together tough times, and to believe in each other.”
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