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Fast X director Louis Leterrier interview: bringing the series back to earth

James Daly

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Fast X director Louis Leterrier interview: bringing the series back to earth

Featured Image Credit: Universal Pictures

The trailer for Fast X is here, giving fans a look at the next epic instalment in the franchise. In honour of the occasion, GAMINGbible spoke to the film’s director, Louis Leterrier, to get a glimpse behind the scenes on Dominic Toretto’s next chapter.

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See the trailer for Fast X here

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So, what is it like? Well, in a word: family. It's almost impossible to say this word now and not picture Dom. "No one can say ‘family’ normally, they will use [Vin Diesel's] voice," Leterrier explains, before both he and I perform a brief, single-word impersonation of the upcoming movie's leading man. But this one word really is significant on and off the screen.

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“I was, like, the new member of the family [...] behind the scenes there's truly a family. These people, they’ve spent a quarter of a century together, like Vin and Michelle [Rodriguez],” Leterrier tells me with awe in his expression. As someone who has watched these movies since childhood, I can appreciate, at least in part, the staying power of the series.

Vin Diesel in Fast X. / Credit: Universal Pictures
Vin Diesel in Fast X. / Credit: Universal Pictures

The ensemble cast of Fast X is star-studded, to say the least, with big names like Jason Momoa and Brie Larson joining the established players mentioned above, in addition to returning actors Jordana Brewster, Ludacris, Tyrese, Charlize Theron, Sung Kang and more. What must it be like working with a cast of this size and quality?

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“Daunting”, Leterrier begins. “When you've spent 22 years watching them on a giant screen, and then, you know, you get a phone call in the middle of the night that tells you now it's your turn to direct. Then you have to jump on a plane to England and then, you know, three days later, you're directing these people [...] very quickly you realise that they're amazing professionals. They all have the best outcome for the movie at heart. Nothing is ego-driven.”

But it takes more than humility to make a blockbuster movie, and Fast X is following in the footsteps (or should I say tire tracks?) of some incredible, over-the-top titles. The task for Leterrier is to keep the franchise going, but how does one do that?

Jason Momoa in Fast X. / Credit: Universal Pictures.
Jason Momoa in Fast X. / Credit: Universal Pictures.
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“I want to make it my own,” Leterrier tells me. “I don't use CG as a basis, I use CG to enhance reality”, he explains. This is a stance that could present some challenges considering the places the Fast franchise has gone to in its more recent instalments, but shooting things for real didn’t do Top Gun: Maverick any harm.

“So that's what I did. I sort of - no pun intended - brought it back to Earth”, the director asserts after reminding me that F9’s plot ventured into space. “There is no way I can top it, I'm not going to do space travelling.”

He continues: “It took a lot of trust from the actors because bringing you back to Earth means that there's no hiding behind the CG - you have to show up. You have to do the stunts, you have to be behind the wheel of the car, you have to ride the same motorcycle, helmet or no helmet.”

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Fast X. / Credit: Universal Pictures.
Fast X. / Credit: Universal Pictures.

It’s no secret that Fast X is part one of the final story, so the end of the Fast and the Furious franchise isn’t quite upon us just yet. “It's only respectful for the audience to take your time with this character that they've spent a quarter of a century, most of their lives with,” Leterrier opines.

The director isn’t afraid to open up on how big this feels, adding: “The stakes are real, and the weight, the price of of doing good and fighting for justice, that Dom and the family has done for 22 years, will take its toll and, thematically, it's quite important to understand that our world is about to change.”

Before I can quite appreciate the gravity of this statement, Leterrier clarifies, as only a real artist can: “Our world, you know, yours and mine, James, is about to change, you know? Everything's about to change where, like, you know, civilisation? We're really at the edge of a complete shift of civilisation with AI [...] the pulse of the Zeitgeist and civilisation, like its prime, you know, the literal hand on the wheel guiding your destiny? And some people are taking their hand off the wheel and letting the car drive them. That's the theme of the movie.”

Fast X. / Credit: Universal Pictures.
Fast X. / Credit: Universal Pictures.

It’s clear from our conversation that Louis Leterrier has put his heart and soul into this movie, only adding to my reasons to see it. Fast X will begin the closing ceremony of this film series, letting Dominic Toretto drive off into the sunset, one way or another. How it will end is not for us to know any time soon, though, because this upcoming picture is ‘part one’, after all.

Fast X will be in cinemas from 19 May, 2023.

Topics: Interview, TV And Film

James Daly
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