Yesterday, we continued to tell you about our recent visit to the set of Fast Five in Atlanta, Georgia, which opens in theaters on April 29th. The movie is a continuation of the popular car series, The Fast and the Furious. Not only will the new film feature the series’ stars, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Jordana Brewster, but also the return of actors from throughout the series including Sung Kang from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris from 2 Fast 2 Furious, Matt Schulze from The Fast and the Furious, and Gal Gadot from Fast & Furious.
Fast Five picks up soon after the events of the last film, finding Brian (Walker) and Mia (Brewster) hiding in Rio with Dom (Diesel), after breaking him out of police custody. Soon an opportunity arises that could give the trio a chance to win back their freedom, but it will take the help of some familiar friends in order to pull it off. Eventually the gang realizes that they will never be truly free until they take on the ruthless businessman who wants them dead. Meanwhile, federal agent Luke Hobbs, played by Dwayne Johnson (Faster), is assigned to find Brian and Dom … and Hobbs always catches his man. But as Hobbs gets closer to Dom and Brian, he realizes that things are not as they seem and no one can be trusted.
After speaking with actress Elsa Pataky and actor Dwayne Johnson, who both join the series with this film, we had an opportunity to talk with a few of the returning cast members. Actor Matt Schulze, who has been absent from the series since the original film, returns as Vince. In the first movie, Vince was Dom’s best friend and in love with his sister Mia. In Fast Five, Vince meets up with Dom and Mia in Rio, and soon realizes that Brian has taken his place. We had a chance to sit down and talk with Schulze, and we began by asking the actor how Vince feels when he reunites with his friends and sees that Brian is with them. “There’s an uneasiness for sure and he’ll probably always be a little jealous. Even though he doesn’t necessarily want to be with Mia anymore. But there’s always going to be jealousy that, that could have been me … or should have been,” Schulze answered. We followed up by asking if Vince feels any animosity towards Dom? “For sure, yeah. I think Vince wants to be the leader, but he’s just not quite smart enough and he makes mistakes. It’s out of his own selfishness for only looking out for himself and not the team. I think in this one he tries to find that sense of humbleness.”
We asked Schulze to explain how his character has changed since the first movie? “He’s stronger, but he has a heart now, which is a little different. Everything you saw in that first one I sort of created. In this one I sort of did the same thing again. I just wanted to transfer it in a way that I can make it real for me as an actor. Every character I do has a little bit of an evolution of myself.” The actor then began to tell us the back-story that he created for his character, which explains what he has been up to since the first film. “There was a minimal line of what it was, but we added the top and bottom to it,” Schulze said. “He abandoned everything and ended up getting to Rio to do his own Scarface kind of thing. But like I said, he’s not that smart, so he still has nothing. He’s living in these ramshackle ghettos with his wife, and he has a child now, so he is living off the environment. Sort of like when Kurtz went into the jungle in Apocalypse Now, Vince went into his own jungle and became one with what that was. I think he’s happy with that … the rawness of it.”
The actor continued to discuss how Vince reacts, the first time he is reintroduced to Dom and Mia. “When Dom and I see each other, we don’t make a big deal about it. Dom and I are just understated,” Schulze explained. “I wanted to make sure that when I saw Jordana in this film that I was extremely loving towards her, because that was Vince’s evolution.” With all the returning actors from the various films that Schulze did not appear in, we asked him to explain how Vince reacts to meeting these new characters? “I don’t pay attention to them. I’m very selfish that way. What I did as Vince on screen, is also Vince off screen. I don’t try to bond with them or do anything of that nature. It keeps things clean for me as an actor. I’m a method actor, so what I do on screen, I do off screen as well.”
Finally, we asked the actor why he decided to return to the franchise after so many years? “I had spent the past two years not sure if I wanted to do another movie ever again, to be honest. So I’ve been doing the Ironman and Triathlons in my free time, but I didn’t understand what it was like to be an actor,” Schulze explained. “I had been homeless for the past two years. I was sleeping in a tent in the woods in Malibu. As crazy as this is, I was fighting and doing all this stuff. I was fighting in a cage and I always see The Dalai Lama when he comes to town. He came in to town, I saw him for twelve hours and he asked me to not fight anymore. A week later I get the phone call for this and I was thinking to myself, okay, this is fate. Then I read the script and I don’t really do anything violent for the entire film, for the most part. So I was thinking this is a good transfer of energy to get me back to a different place. As much as it is a rebirth for Vince in the franchise, it’s a rebirth for me in a lot of ways too.”
Also returning to the series is actress Gal Gadot, who was first introduced in the last film, Fast & Furious, and plays Gisele Harabo. Gisele is a former-liaison to drug dealer Arturo Braga, the villain in the previous film, and also served as a love interest for Dom. When we spoke to Gadot, we began by asking her to explain exactly how her character is reintroduced in this movie? “The first time I appear in the movie is a big scene when basically all the stars from the previous movies come together. It’s a good scene because from the moment she is there she already shows her power and her strength. I am talking about her power as a woman. She is the only woman in one room with a lot of testosterone and big guys, and she is very strong.”
The actress went on to discuss her character’s role in the film. “Obviously in the last movie Gisele put in jeopardy everything she had in order to help Brian and Dom. In this one they already have their relationship established so she is coming there to help a friend in need. She comes to Rio without knowing what she is going to do. All she knows is that it is going to have a lot to do with adventure and action,” explained Gadot.
We followed up by asking how the other characters in the movie deal with a strong woman entering their ranks? “When they just get to know her they are very stunned by her. She is not a regular type of girl. She is a lot like them. At the beginning it is hard for them to digest it but as the movie progresses, they get to know her and they love her. She becomes one of the guys.” We then asked Gadot if Gisele has an opportunity to bond with Mia in the film? “Yeah, it’s nice. Actually in the last one I didn’t get to work with any of the girls, neither did Jordana or Michelle. But in this one I get to work with Jordana and she is awesome.” We also asked the actress if there is any friction between Gisele and Mia in the film? “No nothing. They are like a big happy family. The Fast & Furious meets The Brady Bunch,” answered Gadot.
Given the fact that there are so many characters from the previous movies in this film, we asked Gadot if she feels like her character is fundamentally important to this story, or if she is just there to connect this movie to the last one? “Well both, and I believe that in this one we have a lot of stars. To start with myself, I was debating on how this would work, to work with so many people who have done big parts in their lives. Actually it works really, really well because we all have a good chemistry and we all have the same target,” Gadot explained. “We all want this movie to be a huge success and to be a good movie. So I think that it shows in the movie. Our relationship is that we help each other. We are there for each other and my character helps to progress the plot. I believe that actually working with so many stars in this one makes this movie much more interesting because we all work very well together and it shows.”
Finally, we asked Gadot if she would be interested in staying with the franchise for another installment, and if she hopes that her character can grow and become more important in future chapters? “The Fast & Furious franchise is already a part of my career. I started acting three years ago and my first feature was Fast & Furious. Working here with the same director, same actors, and same producers is already comfortable for me. If I do the next one or not, I don’t know? It will depend on the script,” Gadot answered.
Actress Jordana Brewster began her career starring in Robert Rodriguez‘s The Faculty, but it was her role as Mia Toretto in The Fast and the Furious that made her a household name. The actress declined to return for the film’s first two sequels, but instead went on to star in Annapolis, with James Franco, and her Fast Five co-star Tyrese Gibson. Eventually, Brewster agreed to return for Fast & Furious, along with original stars Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, which reunited her with Annapolis director, Justin Lin. Brewster once again reprises the role that made her famous, playing Dom Toretto’s sister and Brian O’Conner’s love interest, Mia, in Fast Five.
When we sat down to speak with Jordana Brewster, she began by telling us what her character has been doing since the last film, when we first see her in the new movie. “When the audience meets Brian and Mia, they are on the run and they’ve been on the run for six to eight months. So they’re roughing it and she’s in a completely different place in life. Whereas before she was the one at home, waiting for the boys and holding down the fort, she’s now in it with them. So it’s a really different place to be in and a really fun phase in her life to be able to play.” We followed up by asking if we will see the conclusion of the final scene from Fast & Furious, and actually see how Brian and Mia broke Dom out of custody? “No, they don’t show it,” Brewster replied.
The actress went on to discuss her relationship with Annapolis director Justin Lin, and what it has been like working with him again on Fast & Furious, and now Fast Five. “Justin’s really, really loyal. He works with the same people over and over again, like my make-up artist, who is now the head of the make-up department,” Brewster explained. “He worked on Better Luck Tomorrow and also on Tokyo Drift. So you can tell Justin likes working with the same people, which I’m really grateful for. I keep saying it, but it still holds true. The thing that I admire the most about Justin is that on these ridiculously high-budget movies, he keeps his calm. When the blank hits the fan, he’s still mellow and you need that kind of presence on set because I think from the director it trickles down. He’s just so great to work for,” Brewster said.
We also asked Brewster what it has been like for her to work with so many actors and characters from the franchise that she has never appeared with before? “It was interesting because there was a period of readjustment between the first and the fourth films. It felt like the first day at school where I hadn’t seen Paul for a long time and then I saw him again. I hadn’t seen Vin for a while, then it was just like readjusting,” she said. “In Puerto Rico, we all had a shorthand, a way of working with each other, and it’s just like we’re all friends. But then when we got to Atlanta, it felt like a new cast. It was Tyrese, who I did work with on Annapolis, and Ludacris, who I am a huge fan of. But again it was like the first day at school where you’re just like, oh my God, I have to get used to being around new people. So on one hand it’s great because you get to work with people you really admire, but there was like a period of adjusting for a couple of hours the first day.”
We followed up by asking the actress if she had any concerns about having so many characters in the one film? “I think with something of this scope, once I started reading the script, I wasn’t that worried about this many characters being in the movie. It all makes sense,” Brewster replied. “It works really well, I think, especially with the addition of Dwayne Johnson. He’s such a pro and watching him work too, he’s just so charismatic. So that’s also a treat for me. I think it does infuse the franchise with some new blood and some new energy,” she added.
Next, we asked Brewster to discuss Mia’s relationship with Brian and how it has evolved since the last movie. “Well, he kind of screwed her over. In the last one, I feel like I needed to see more, because he really left for a while and betrayed her big time. But in this one, they’re together a lot,” she explained. “She couldn’t help it, I guess. She forgave him and they are a couple. There’s no more tension. They’re on the run and the stakes are so high that it’s just about cohesiveness and sticking together, or you’re done. So yeah, they’re together in this one.”
Finally, we asked Brewster if she gets to do a lot of driving in this movie? “Only the kind where you’re in front of a green screen, which is pretty awesome,” the actress joked. “In Puerto Rico I got to jump off a building with Paul and that was awesome. That was really fun, so there’s a lot more action for me in this movie, which I love.”
Be sure to check back with us tomorrow for the fourth part of our five-part visit to the set of Fast Five. We had a chance to speak with returning actors, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, and Sung Kang, about the franchise and reprising their roles.