With more than $6 billion in the global box office and countless senseless violations of the laws of physics on screen, there’s one boundary that the 22-year-old “Fast and Furious” franchise hasn’t dared to break yet, and that’s the public still seeing women. Waiting to come to power. In your own “fast” vehicle.
After 10 testosterone-fueled features, it also stars some of the oldest franchise stars.
“The thing I’m fighting the most for is not being in the nanny seat, because that’s what’s frustrating,” Jordan Brewster said ahead of the worldwide release of “Fast X” on Friday. “I want to act with more comedy. I want to work with more action. I want to work with triggering energy. The stakes are so high in these films that I want to play a more central role in them.”
Brewster originated the role of Mia Toretto in 2001’s The Fast and the Furious, reprized it in several sequels, and briefly played the protector of Littlebryan, the young son of her brother Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) in the tenth film. saw. But every “Fast” so far, including the Dwayne Johnson-Jason Statham spin-off “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” and the animated series “Fast & Furious Spy Racers,” has been handled by Dom or his brothers. Weapon.
Although women have been part of every ensemble, a dedicated spin-off “could give us a chance to flesh out all the female characters,” Brewster said. “And I think that’s something that audiences will enjoy.”
A March report from San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film found that the top 100 featured women in 38% of lead characters and 37% of all speaking roles. Last year, only 10% of action films had female leads.
But women have been instrumental in propelling the “Fast” franchise to unprecedented heights, accounting for nearly half of all moviegoers watching “Furious 7,” the first “Fast” movie to cross the billion-dollar mark in U.S. theaters. Film is. (The film’s audience was also 75% non-white.)
Her original co-star Michelle Rodriguez has been the star who has been most critical of the franchise’s portrayal of women, dating back to her early script portrayal of the streetwise character, Letty. Rodriguez’s rejection turned Dom’s “trophy girlfriend” persona into “this really layered character,” Brewster revealed in a 2021 EW story, in an era when “Fast & Furious” movies were far from happening.. Male dominated Hollywood fare only.
“To keep it real, I had to educate them,” Rodriguez told EW. “‘I know you guys love Hollywood and all, but if you want to keep it realistic, it really works, and I’m not going to be a slut in front of millions of people, so why don’t you lose? gonna have me if you don’t change it.”
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty in “F9” (2021). Rodriguez originated the role in 2001’s “The Fast and the Furious” and appears in “Fast X” this Friday.
Defending the character, Rodriguez initially declined to return after the first film, only to be killed off in the fourth, 2009’s “Fast & Furious”. “I was like, ‘No. I’ll be on a few takes. I’m not going to be in a movie where you’re killing a beloved character,'” he told the Times. “You don’t really have any other wonderful women . Other than Jordana, you really don’t represent women at all. And I was like, ‘Do you want to kill him, dude?’
Rodriguez credits Diesel for supporting his fight backstage for Letty’s second return in one of the “Fast” twists: the “Fast Five” credit tag reveals that Letty was still alive but had been forgotten. Was suffering from illness. Letty became one of the most feisty and exciting characters in the series.
In a 2017 Instagram post promoting the eighth film, “Fate of the Furious,” Rodriguez again threatened to quit if the franchise didn’t do better with its female characters. “I hope they decide to show some love to the ladies of the franchise in the next one. Or maybe I have to say goodbye to a beloved franchise,” he wrote.
Rodriguez now says, “They fight with all the studios over having a female voice and having a character who really represents the true value of a street girl, a woman.” “Because I honestly feel that if I had agreed to do what they asked me to do, I don’t think Letty would be here today. And I think the arguments I have about integrity were, they really mattered in the end.”
The series barely passed the Bechdel test until 2021’s Justin Lin-directed “F9,” in which Letty and Mia converse over lunch during a mission. This was the first time Rodriguez pointed out that the sisters and childhood acquaintances had never shared a significant on-screen scene together. His is a story that Brewster will want to continue to capitalize on as the franchise wraps up its main series films.
“I would love to explore the relationship with Letty because she’s a little [‘F9’] It wasn’t enough,” she said, noting that Mia’s children with Brian, played by the late Paul Walker, are now canonically teenagers. “I would like to see Mia take advantage [su] Strength when someone crosses your family. Because that’s what’s really interesting about mama bear energy: mess with my babies and see what happens.”
Charlize Theron as Cipher in “The Fate of the Furious”.
Four years ago, the prospect of a bigger exposure for the women of the “Fast” universe got a win-size boost when the star producer announced that a female-led installment was in development, hinting that it would be directed by women. Will be written Nicole Perlman, Lindsey Beer and Geneva Robertson-Dworet. “Welcome to the Fast Family,” he wrote congratulating them on Instagram.
Later that year, the first “Fast” spin-off, “Hobbs & Shaw”, would receive mostly positive reviews and a worldwide box office of $760 million.
But it doesn’t necessarily take a green light from the studio to make Diesel official.
Although studio chief Donna Langley told Business Insider last year that she would “love to see a female ‘Fast'”, citing “great, wonderful female characters” and Marvel star Brie Larson as the addition to “Fast X”, Universal had not yet announced that such a film was in the works. A spinoff being written about series villain Cipher (Charlize Theron) was also not officially announced.
Several prominent female characters have reappeared in the extended family of heroes, love interests, enemies, friend-foes and allies of the “Fast” universe throughout the franchise, including intelligence agent Giselle (Gal Gadot), expert hacker Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel). , Rio attorney Elena (Elsa Pataky), federal agent Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes) and criminal patriarch Queenie Shaw (Helen Mirren).
Others have appeared once-and-for-all over the franchise’s two decades, but have left a lasting impression on fans returning, such as “2 Fast 2 Furious” Suki (Devon Aoki), “Tokyo Drift” Neela (Nathalie Kelly), ” Hobbs and Shaw” Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) and Madame M (Eiza Gonzalez), in addition to Han’s wards Elle (Anna Sawai) and “Fast Exes” Isabel (Daniella Melchior) and Abuela Toretto (Rita Moreno).
In a conversation with The Times this month, Universal Pictures president Peter Cramer said the studio is still interested in a female-led “Fast.” (“Birds of Prey’s Christina Hodson is set to become the franchise’s first credited screenwriter with the upcoming eleventh film to be co-written with Oren Uziel.)
“We’d still like to do it. We think it’s an excellent idea that will be put on hold for a while because of the writers’ strike,” Cramer said. “But it is something that interests us. We just have to find the right way to do it.”
As for Brewster’s vision of a “Fast” female spin-off? Leave the boys at home. Including it on a smaller scale with slightly less global stakes than bombastic, globe-trotting mainstream films. “Keep fighting for it,” he tells fans.
He said, ‘It will be a lot of fun to explore. “And I could be completely independent of people.”