The first full-length trailer for Fast X, the 10th film in the Fast and Furious franchise and the first of a planned two-film finale, has been released. The National sat down with director Louis Leterrier ahead of the big reveal to talk through some key takeaways.
The Fast and Furious franchise has always had family at its heart, and after more than two decades together, the cast is practically a family off-screen too. We’re reminded of this right from the start of the new trailer, in which Toretto family matriarch Abuela (Rita Moreno) directly refers to her “family” around the table. The word is used five times in the three-minute clip.
Leterrier,the French director of Transporter and Now You See Me, however, is a newcomer to the Fast and Furious family, having taken over from five-film veteran Justin Lin last year. “It’s daunting, because it is a family, a group that's known each other forever," Leterrier says. "There’s huge respect for the franchise, and I didn’t want to hurt any of that.."
The director decided to introduce himself to the cast individually, rather than crashing a family meal: “I sat down with each one of them, introduced myself, talked about the history of the movies and their character, and their goals for this one,” he explains.
“You know what happened? It was more about ‘let's move this towards the future'. It's going to be exciting because I come from a place of energy and love. That's what I want to create — I want to continue what’s been built, and bring something else, so help me with this'", he adds.
Racing is back
Leterrier talks about bringing something new to the franchise, but the trailer hints that he may actually have brought something old back. The Fast and Furious journey began with a film about illegal street racing in New York, but more recent instalments have featured international espionage, hi-tech supervillains and even a trip into space in F9: The Fast Saga.
From the Fast X trailer, it looks like Leterrier is revisiting the basics of fast cars, races and stunts. Indeed, like “family", the word “race” pops up frequently in the clip.
“You're absolutely right,” he confirms. “That was my number one note: I miss the cars and I miss the racing. I really wanted to — no pun intended — bring it back to earth.”
Jason Momoa’s villain
The Aquaman star plays the villain Dante, the most talked-about new addition to the franchise, but we know very little about him so far. We finally get our first glimpse in the trailer and he’s certainly striking. The description we offer Leterrier is “psychotic flamenco dancer”.
The director agrees: “That’s such a great description, I’m going to use that now. It’s exactly that,” he laughs. “I wanted the polar opposite of Dom Toretto [Vin Diesel]. He’s this hulking mass of perfection, then Jason has the goatee, the hair in the wind, the collars [and] nails that match the colour of his car.”
Leterrier adds that Momoa’s on-screen flamboyance wasn’t far removed from the man himself: “There were moments between takes when Vin was very focused, almost like a driver before the race. Then you would hear Jason arrive — it’s like having a circus. You heard him walking here like he had a boombox and a guy with him slapping an electric bass. That was the vibe.”
Fans will be thrilled to see Paul Walker make a brief cameo in the trailer. The actor died in an unrelated car crash during the production of Furious 7, but he’s remained a part of the franchise, to the point where his Nissan Skyline pulls up in Dom’s drive as the credits roll on F9.
Leterrier doesn't reveal who gets out of the vehicle, but he does offer some conceptual thoughts on Walker’s role in Fast X.
“We’re continuing the story, and what's important now we're heading towards the end is to see the sum of the adventures of this family and their legacy,” he explains. “As you create justice, there's a price to justice. Dom was willing to pay, but now it's going to land on his family and that's who he has to protect.”
But will Walker physically be in the new movie?
“All the family members are in it, you saw from the trailer,” Leterrier evades. “We stopped in one of our favourite moments, in Rio, in Fast Five, at that very moment that triggered this domino effect that is going to be catastrophic for Dom’s life.”
Fast X is scheduled to be released in the UAE on May 18