REVHEADS GEAR UP FOR FURIOUS 7
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.