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Brie Larson, Fast X Newbies on Joining the Family: “I’ve Been Begging For Years To Be in These Movies”
Larson, John Cena, Helen Mirren & More Share Behind-the Scenes Thoughts on What Makes the Fast Saga Tick
Just like tons of longtime Fast & Furious fans, the later-arriving actors who've joined Fast X (or one of the later Fast Saga films) have still spent a fair chunk of their lives right alongside the franchise. Growing up with Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and the family, their real lives have paced the Fast Saga through nine mainline movies that stretch more than 20 years back in time.
As you might expect, even Hollywood A-listers like Brie Larson, John Cena, and Dame Helen Mirren have felt nothing but good vibes since ducking behind the scenes for their first candid glimpse from within of the Fast & Furious movie family — even if they arrived comparatively late to the Fast Saga party. And as Larson's excited reaction to finally joining the family suggests, it's a franchise whose reputation precedes it even for the actors... and it definitely gets their motors running.
Brie Larson: “I’ve Been Begging for Years to Be in These Movies”
“When I got the phone call, I was dancing and screaming,” Larson confessed to interviewers from the May 13 red carpet premiere of Fast X. “I’ve been begging for years to be in these movies because I love them so much.”
Larson’s Fast X role (as Mr. Nobody’s daughter Tess) marks her very first Fast Saga appearance, while Cena’s still relatively wet behind the ears after debuting (as Dom’s estranged brother Jakob) in 2021’s F9. Mirren’s among the senior members of the franchise’s later casting additions, having joined the series one film earlier in 2017’s The Fate of the Furious.
Cena confided from the red carpet that accepting that initial Fast Saga casting invite was a total no-brainer. “Easiest choice of my life. Easiest,” said Cena, who’s set to side with the good guys in Fast X after playing the villainous role of Dom’s long-lost lil’ bro through most of F9. ”Like, no moments of contemplation whatsoever. ‘Hey, would you like to?’ ‘Sure! I’ll do it.’ — And it is what everyone says it is.”
Across the board, in fact, everyone who’s hitched a recent ride on the Fast & Furious juggernaut has been positively giddy at how the creative process actually looks once they’ve seen it from the inside — including fresh Fast X initiates Daniela Melchior (who plays Brazilian racer Isabel) and young actor Leo Abelo Perry (Brian Marcos), who wasn’t yet born when Fast Five — the movie whose fateful events are set to haunt Fast X — first landed in theaters in 2011.
“My first thought was, ‘Am I gonna drive?!’” joked Perry from the red carpet in Rome. “No! — Sorry, that just didn’t happen. Dreams crushed, just like that! But it was fun either way … I’ve definitely become a bigger Fast & Furious fan now.”
John Cena: “It’s a Welcoming Family”
The camaraderie that fans see from their theater seats is far from superficial, explained Cena, who’s happily embraced the idea that he’s signed on for more than just a typical movie role.
“The cool thing is,” Cena shared, “I was saying this last year and some of the new cast members — Brie, Daniela — I get to listen to their stories this year and it’s the same. It’s a welcoming family. Daniela said it in the press conference: They don’t just do this for 10 years, they live it for 10 years. And I thought her quote was extremely profound. This is a family environment, and they love these movies and they really try to put the fans first and give them a ride that they won’t forget.”
It’s safe to say Melchior knows a thing or two herself about extended movie universes, having come to Fast X following her memorable 2021 turn as Ratcatcher 2 in James Gunn’s DC-based The Suicide Squad (as well as a recent appearance in the Gunn-directed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for Marvel). But, she said, there’s something next-level about the Fast Saga’s particular team of heroes.
“I don’t know who’s upstairs doing all this, but it’s working,” she said. “I mean, I couldn’t be happier… I would say that Fast has the best of all the [movie] multiverses. I think so.”
In Diesel’s hands, Dom Toretto’s ride-or-die code of family loyalty has always been the glue that holds the sprawling Fast & Furious family together. Mirren said it’s his genuine passion for Universal Pictures’ blockbuster franchise that’s had an infectious way of rubbing off on everyone — no matter the decade — who’s ever been a part of the real-life creative process.
“I think one of the reasons Vin is such a successful actor and star is because he combines great strength with great sensitivity,” said Mirren, who’s set to reprise her role as Shaw family matron Queenie in Fast X.
“He’s a very, very strong man who can manage to perpetuate this incredible franchise over these many years, and that takes great courage and concentration and energy and commitment and discipline — combined with this enormous sensitivity and gentleness. He is a very remarkable person and I love him very much.”
We’re feeling the love too, Dame Helen — and the race to the Fast X redline is almost at hand.
Score your Fast X tickets here as we strap in for the next Fast Saga chapter, hyped to the limit for the movie’s May 19 premiere.