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Why Fast X Director Scaled Back (Some of) Jason Momoa's Gonzo Performance As Dante Reyes

You may be surprised to learn that a portion of Momoa's wild Fast X performance didn't make it to the final cut.

By Josh Weiss

If you thought Jason Momoa's Fast Saga performance as Dante Reyes left nothing on the table, you'd be absolutely right. The gleefully anarchic villain with a penchant for ballet and giving pedicures to dead bodies put every other member of the Fast & Furious rogues gallery to shame earlier this summer, once audiences had a chance to feast their eyes upon Fast X.

"He created this breath of eccentricity and excitement that I thought Fast & Furious was in need of," director Louis Leterrier (known for his work on The Transporter and The Incredible Hulk) explained during a recent interview with Total Film

RELATED: Fast X Stars Jason Momoa and Dwayne Johnson Speak Out On Devastating Maui Wildfires

The goal, he continued, was to create a memorable threat that would keep viewers rooted to their seats. "Sometimes in these movies when you cut away to the villain, they’re so sour, so bored, and so angry, that you're like 'Yeah, it's my time to go to the bathroom.' But really, whenever you cut away from the Dom Toretto story and you went to Dante, I could see the audience perk up, and go, 'What now?'"

Fast X director Louis Leterrier toned down Jason Momoa's performance

Jason Momoa as Dante in Fast X (2023).

While Dante is — without question — the most unhinged and flamboyant antagonist the franchise has ever seen since its inception over 20 years ago, you may be surprised to learn that a portion of Momoa's balls-to-the-wall performance didn't make it to the final cut. The actor was, of course, allowed to run wild on set, but Leterrier ultimately decided to scale back some of the character's more insane tendencies while editing the fast-paced blockbuster.

"Because we’re consummate professionals, we had dialed it so I would have been able to take it down in the cutting room if need be," the director admitted. "But frankly, as we started testing, and we saw the reactions of the crowds, we just decided to go almost fully in the direction that we had done. Really we went from, from one to 11, we passed the 10 in some of the scenes and we dialed it back sometimes."

Thankfully, most of Momoa's contributions remained intact. One thing that apparently scored high with test audiences was the scene in which Dante happily converses with a pair of corpses while brushing nail polish onto their rigor mortised toes. This disturbing and one-sided exchange, Leterrier said, drives home the menace of the character and shows just how divorced he has become from reality.

"He not only talks the talk but he walks the walk. He's actually very, very scary. So we put it in and it's sometimes divisive, but I think it's the right thing for his character, and it leads us to where we are at the end of this movie in a dark place for the family."

What's next for the Fast & Furious franchise?

(from left) Director Louis Leterrier and Jason Momoa on the set of Fast X (2023).

The 11th (and potentially final) chapter in the main Fast & Furious series is currently slated to hit theaters everywhere on April 4, 2025, although it could very well end up delayed by the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

Nevertheless, Leterrier has been confirmed as director for the upcoming installment, with Christina Hodson (The Flash) and Oren Uziel (The Cloverfield Paradox) penning the high-octane script.

"No one would have guessed 25 years ago that there would be 10 — 11 if you count Hobbs & Shaw — Fast & Furious movies," Leterrier concluded. "So they decided to make each movie as great as possible and it’s the same thing for us. Each movie has to be the best possible."

RELATED: Fast X Director Louis Leterrier Promises a 'Truly Surprising' End to The Fast Saga

A solo Luke Hobbs project, featuring the return of Dwayne Johnson's fan favorite character, will effectively bridge the narrative freeway between Fast X and Fast 11. With that said, it's unclear at this time if the Hobbs-centric adventure counts as part of the swan song trilogy Vin Diesel hinted at several months ago. We'll just have to wait and see.

The fifth-highest grossing movie of 2023 so far, Fast X is now available to purchase on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital. All formats include a slew of bonus features — including a gag reel, director's commentary, two music videos, and several behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Relive a small portion of the Fast Saga on Peacock with Furious 7 (2015). Fast X officially joins the streaming service Friday, September 15