The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - VICKY ROACH

When you act along­side Vin Diesel and Dwayne John­son, it’s hard not to be over­shad­owed. But diminu­tive Fast & Fu­ri­ous star Jor­dana Brew­ster, who has been with the high­oc­tane fran­chise since its 2001 in­cep­tion, says she and co-star Michelle Ro­driguez man­age to hold their own.

“(Aus­tralian direc­tor) James Wan wanted to make sure the fe­male char­ac­ters were very strong and I think that’s on pur­pose be­cause we do have to off­set all the males who out­num­ber us. I think Michelle and I do a pretty good job.”

On screen, the phe­nom­e­nally suc­cess­ful mus­cle car fran­chise, which has taken US$2.3 bil­lion at the box of­fice, pumps adren­a­line and ag­gres­sion in pretty much equal mea­sure. But be­hind the scenes, things are a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, Brew­ster says.

“Th­ese guys, they seem very rough and tum­ble, but re­ally they are soft­ies. They are all sweet and lov­ing. Es­pe­cially Vin, who has been like my big brother for years now.”

But Brew­ster ad­mits she has not per­suaded any of her costars to join her in her daily med­i­ta­tion rou­tine.

“If any­one does, though, I bet it would be Dwayne.”

The ti­tle for the stree­trac­ing gang’s sev­enth out­ing hasn’t been dis­tilled to plain Fu­ri­ous with­out good rea­son.

As flagged at the end of Fast & Fu­ri­ous 6, the bad guy role is more than ca­pa­bly filled in the new film by Bri­tish hard man Ja­son Statham, one of the few ac­tors ca­pa­ble of match­ing Diesel and John­son’s larg­erthan-life pres­ence on screen.

Underpinning the film’s spec­tac­u­lar, ante-up­ping stunt rou­tines – that in­clude a jaw­drop­ping se­quence in which char­ac­ters parachute their cars out of a plane – is a po­tent thread of vi­o­lence and ret­ri­bu­tion.

“Ja­son is seek­ing vengeance for his brother and we are pro­tect­ing our own fam­ily. Their (mo­ti­va­tions) are very deep-rooted so I un­der­stand the ti­tle,’’ Brew­ster says.

At one point dur­ing Fu­ri­ous 7, Do­minic Toretto (Diesel) tells Deckard Shaw (Statham): “I don’t have friends, I have fam­ily”.

Brew­ster says the cast, many of whom go back to the orig­i­nal 2001 film, The Fast and the Fu­ri­ous, feel sim­i­larly.

“We have such a short­hand. We know each other so well. It’s so easy to work to­gether. It def­i­nitely feels like we are fam­ily, for bet­ter or worse, and with all that en­tails.”

In Fu­ri­ous 7, Brew­ster’s char­ac­ter is ex­pect­ing her sec­ond child with on-screen part­ner Brian O’Con­ner (the late Paul Walker). Off screen, the ac­tors’ lives have changed in a sim­i­lar di­rec­tion. Diesel has just an­nounced the birth of his third child, a girl, who he named Pauline, in hon­our of Walker. Brew­ster’s son Ju­lian was born on Septem­ber 21, 2013, via a sur­ro­gate mother.

“What’s great about this fran­chise is that it’s evolved so much in the last 15 years … and most of us are par­ents now. We bring our kids to set, which is very funny.”

Brew­ster says Walker was sorely missed at Fu­ri­ous 7’ s pre­miere.

“It’s so hard be­cause it’s yet an­other re­minder that some­body who shouldn’t be gone is. With ev­ery step that has to do with the film, it’s a re­minder that he’s not here,” she says. “The bot­tom line is he should have been a part of this, he should be here to­day.”

While Brew­ster and Walker’s char­ac­ters are ge­o­graph­i­cally sep­a­rated for most of Fu­ri­ous 7, the ac­tor felt his ab­sence when pro­duc­tion re­sumed four months af­ter Walker’s death in a car ac­ci­dent, Novem­ber 30, 2013.

“I was so used to see­ing him in the next trailer. Ev­ery time I turned a cor­ner, I ex­pected to see him,” she says.

Brew­ster says newbie direc­tor Wan, best known for hor­ror films such as Saw, In­sid­i­ous and The Con­jur­ing, made a re­mark­ably con­fi­dent big-bud­get ac­tion de­but.

“He was a great leader un­der hard cir­cum­stances. He was very sup­port­ive at the time we most needed it.”

With the death of Walker, who was an in­te­gral part of the fran­chise, an eighth film is still un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.

But Brew­ster says she’d be up for an­other one.

But next up, the 34-year-old ac­tor will be seen op­po­site Pa­trick Wil­son and Kather­ine Heigl in the black com­edy Home Sweet Hell.

“I have of­ten got the good girl or the girl-next-door types of roles, but this one is a lit­tle har­lot bitch. It was re­ally fun to just let loose.”

Fu­ri­ous 7 opens to­day.

Jor­dana Brew­ster says the late Paul Walker was sorely missed at the Fu­ri­ous 7 pre­miere.

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