Fast & Furious 10 – the end of the road begins

The $6 billion Fast and the Furious franchise launches the final chapters of one of cinema’s most storied and popular global franchises with Fast & Furious 10, the sequel to F9  and the tenth and first part in a two-part final main installment and the eleventh overall installment in the Fast & Furious franchise.

The Fast and Furious franchise has been a global sensation for more than two decades, with each new film generating anticipation among fans. The franchise has evolved from street racing to heists and espionage, all while maintaining the central themes of fast cars, thrilling action and of course, family. With Fast & Furious 10 (also known as Fast X), fans can expect all these elements and more, in the beginning of the franchise’s epic final chapters.

“If you would have told me 23 years ago that I would be so blessed to be a part of a mythology that has been embraced and supported by the world, I would have thought you were crazy,” star and producer Vin Diesel says.

“When we made the first movie, we filmed it in L.A. and it was a regional story. We never anticipated its global implications or appeal. We certainly didn’t anticipate that we would travel all over the world and take the theme of family around it.”

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Over many missions and against impossible odds, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family have outsmarted, out-nerved and outdriven every foe in their path. Now, they confront the most lethal opponent they’ve ever faced: A terrifying threat emerging from the shadows of the past who’s fueled by blood revenge, and who is determined to shatter this family and destroy everything—and everyone—that Dom loves, forever. In 2011’s Fast Five, Dom and his crew took out nefarious Brazilian drug kingpin Hernan Reyes and decimated his empire on a bridge in Rio De Janeiro. What they didn’t know was that Reyes’ son, Dante (Aquaman’s Jason Momoa), witnessed it all and has spent the last 12 years masterminding a plan to make Dom pay the ultimate price.  Dante’s plot will scatter Dom’s family from Los Angeles to the catacombs of Rome, from Brazil to London and from Portugal to Antarctica. New allies will be forged and old enemies will resurface. But everything changes when Dom discovers that his own 8-year-old son (Leo Abelo Perry, Black-ish) is the ultimate target of Dante’s vengeance. 

“When I read the script for Fast & Furious 10, I thought it was fantastic. It’s the total sum of everything I’ve loved in the Fast and Furious franchise, says director Louis Leterrier (Clash of the TitansThe Incredible Hulk), who grew up watching the Fast movies religiously, and directed the film from a screenplay crafted by producer Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift , Fast & Furious 6 and F9, and Star Trek Beyond), and Dan Mazeau (Wrath of the Titans, Damsel), based on characters created by Gary Scott Thompson.

Vin Diesel and Director Louis Leterrier on the set of Fast & Furious 10. © Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

“I loved them first and analyzed them afterwards, so I knew everything about them inside and out. I got on a call with Vin and Donna [Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures]. This 45-minute Zoom was so fantastic, we were literally finishing each other’s sentences. So much so that by the end, I was offered the job in that moment. It was surreal because 48 hours earlier, I didn’t know that my life was about to change. I immediately went to my family and said, ‘I think I’m going to England tomorrow.’ And that was it. I got on a plane, and 48 hours later, I was directing Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Charlize Theron in the biggest franchise ever.”

Over the course of the franchise’s history, something that has remained constant is that Fast fans are unlike any other fans out there. “No one listens to the fans more than Vin does,” producer Jeffrey Kirschenbaum says. “He is in constant dialogue with them. They tell us that the true star of this franchise is the sense of rebellion, freedom and expression that started off as a small sub-culture movie in L.A. about street racing.”

Diesel promises that the franchise’s loyal fans will ultimately feel a sense of completion at the end of these final chapters. “This saga has a close,” Diesel says. “It will honor the people that have grown up, raised their children and supported and lived with us for a quarter of a century.”

Franchise producer Neal Moritz admits that he never thought he’d be sitting here, over 20 years after producing 2001’s The Fast and the Furious, discussing Fast X. “It’s funny, because when I recently drove onto the Universal Studios’ lot, seeing all these new stages that were not here 23 years ago, it took me full circle—from shooting the first movie in Los Angeles to having shot all over the world,” Moritz says. “On Fast & Furious 10—from London and Rome to Turin, to Portugal and L.A., we’ve gone completely full circle.”

The producers have put everything they have into the Fast and Furious franchise. “We don’t underestimate what it’s done for us, and what the bonds between these characters have done for the audience,” Moritz says. “A lot of people have grown up with Fast, and now are bringing their kids to it. Vin realizes the importance of this, as well as how this blockbuster franchise was one of the first to bring a multicultural cast together.”

© Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

For Fast & Furious 10, the filmmakers brought on director Louis Leterrier, who is best known for his impressive action filmmaking, from The Transporter to The Incredible Hulk. It was an added bonus that he had been a devoted fan of the Fast franchise since it’s inception. “Louis’ temperament, personality, filmmaking skills and preparation made him the perfect choice to lead Fast & Furious 10,” Moritz says. “It’s also not like we had to educate Louis and have him watch the previous nine movies. In fact, there were certain things that he would tell me about the films that I had forgotten. He was very well educated about the franchise; he knew the ins and outs of all the characters and storylines. He was incredibly additive.”

It was obvious that it was more than just a job for Leterrier. “He wanted to honor the mythology,” Diesel says. “So much so, that after we’d work all day, we’d work two more hours fine-tuning and prepping for the next day, week or month. It was like we were playing a game where we were world building. We were so lucky that there was a director out there like Louis who could fit so perfectly into the mythology. His superpower is that he believes in kindness; he is such a sweet and generous soul.”

Upon arriving to set in London, Leterrier’s vision for the film was clear. “The theme was strong—it’s the beginning of the end of the road,” Leterrier says. “I focused on this theme and made some changes to the story, added new characters and a new villain with real stakes. Knowing what this franchise was about, I could take it all in and really home in on the important elements, and that really helped me. And although I hold a deep appreciation for the entire Fast franchise, I wanted to infuse this film with my own creative flair rather than simply paying tribute to its predecessors.”

Vin Diesel is Dom in Fast & Furious 10. © Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Like previous installments, Fast & Furious 10 sees its characters traversing the globe, a remarkable undertaking from a producer’s perspective. However, this decision has ultimately yielded monumental success, as evidenced by the vast reach the franchise continues to amass. “In Fast & Furious 10 we’re in London, Rome and Portugal,” Kirschenbaum says. “We’ve done things in Rome that I don’t think have ever been done on that level. Then it is off to Portugal and then we’re spiderwebbing out across the globe. But the spirit of the franchise is not only about a wish-fulfilment of driving these cars and doing incredible stunts across the globe, but also sitting at that Toretto family barbeque table and being part of something bigger. That’s the Fast and Furious franchise. We pay attention to the heart and soul of these characters and their relationships.”

According to Leterrier, the script and the film represent the wind of change that the Fast and Furious franchise has created in the world, reminding people to keep their hands on the wheel, both literally and figuratively. “That’s part of what Vin and I discussed for hours on end every night on set,” Leterrier says. “It’s astounding, what he’s created, with this franchise. I’ve traveled the world, and I’ve been involved in action films, but never in the pantheon of action films like Fast and Furious.”

Given the extensive longevity of the franchise, it’s become a very collaborative environment where ideas are shared freely. “Each cast member had input on their stunts, choreography and the story,” Leterrier says. “It’s like cooking with the best ingredients, when you listen to everyone’s advice, you can make something delicious. We made the movie the biggest and best it could be because we did it together.”

Protagonist & Villain

Since the Fast franchise began, Dom Toretto has been fiercely protective of his loved ones and is willing to do anything to keep them safe. Time and again, he puts his own life on the line to protect the family he’s created. This time around, though, he has more responsibility on his shoulders—most importantly, his now 8-year-old son, Little Brian. “Dom has a sixth sense, and we know it, and we’ve seen it for twenty-three years,” director Louis Leterrier says. “There’s something coming, and Dom knows it and, more than ever, he’s worried. Worried for his son, his family and worried for the world. The stakes are real.”

Vin Diesel and Daniela Melchior in Fast & Furious 10. © Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Leterrier notes that Diesel’s dedication to his craft is unparalleled. “When he’s in the Dom Toretto mode, the set gets quiet,” Leterrier says. “There is a respect for the work that I’ve never witnessed before.”

While the Fast franchise continues to evolve, one constant element of Dom’s persona is his unwavering attachment to his Dodge Charger. “When I see that car, I think of the moment that set this world apart from any other movie or franchise,” Diesel says. “That was when Paul Walker and I were in the Toretto garage and Dom’s talking about a vehicle as a living, breathing entity. Which is why we’ve cast the cars like other films would cast actors. When I think of that car, I think of the moment that I got a brother in real life: Paul Walker.”

In the history of the Fast franchise, Dom and his crew have yet to face an adversary quite like Dante. “Dom has met his match,” director Louis Leterrier says. “Dante is fluid—he’s a snake. Not only has Dante analyzed Dom for twenty years, but he’s learned from Dom and is completely unpredictable.”

Jason Momoa is Dante in Fast & Furious 10. © Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Dante, portrayed Jason Momoa, is the son of the crime lord Hernan Reyes, whose final confrontation on a bridge with the crew in Fast Five sealed his fate. Now, Dante is out for revenge. “What you didn’t see in Fast Five, and what we see at the beginning of Fast X, is that Hernan had a son, Dante, who was knocked off that bridge and went into the ocean,” producer Jeff Kirschenbaum says. “Dante was dead for two minutes and came back to avenge his family. He’s studied Dom, and he’s ready to unravel everything that’s important to him. He’s taking Dom’s reputation, fracturing his family and framing the entire team.”

Vin Diesel has had his eye on Momoa for years now, waiting for the perfect opportunity to join forces. “Jason is a massive talent who I had been watching, clocking,” Diesel says. “The first time I was thinking of him was for 2013’s Riddick. In one part, I’m cheering him on and the other I’m wondering ‘When does it come together?’ The character of Dante needed somebody who, at face value, you regard as a worthy and formidable adversary. It is unnerving to portray a character that masks such palpable pain and thinks in a way that’s so scary. That’s a feat by Jason, and it’s what makes Dante so entertaining.”

Dante is unlike any villain the Fast franchise has seen before. “Jason was the first actor that we homed in on,” producer Neal H. Moritz says. “It’s hard to get those performances that fit into the tone of what a Fast movie is. But Jason was able to take that extravagance and those eccentricities and give us a villain we had never seen before. He suggested a purple car for Dante, and he was right. It fit the character tremendously.”

Leterrier adds that the best villains are the ones that you fall in love with. A great villain is someone “who’s target and goals you understand, and I think we did this with Dante,” Leterrier says. “And on top of that, Dante is so funny, and it throws everyone off. Dom is used to having strong antagonists in front of him, but to have a slithery, slippery fan in front of him who loves and adores him and knows his every next move, well, now that’s scary.”

Momoa was excited to infuse his own flare into the portrayal of Dante. “I hadn’t played a villain in about 10 years, and the opportunity to have that role in this franchise meant so much to me,” Momoa says. “I was excited to inject a fresh and entertaining element to the character, and it was fun to figure out his specific balance of playfulness and psychopathy. Dom doesn’t understand how tricky and sly Dante is, and how Dante has duped him into his web.”

Director Louis Leterrier and Jason Momoa on the set of Fast & Furious 10. © Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Momoa attributes Dante’s behavior as having stemmed from the way he was treated by his father. “If you’re always trying to impress someone larger than life like Dante was to his dad, you’re going to feel like a failure,” Momoa says. “Dante has a lot of pent-up anger that he’s recovering from, and he ultimately just wants to hurt someone as a result of that.”

Not only does Dante’s personality stand out, but his distinctive physical appearance sets him apart from previous Fast villains. “I was inspired by a pastel sapphire necklace to create a softer side to Dante,” Momoa says. “I wanted to see him in all these pastel colors, in contrast to his dad’s put-together character. I wanted to create an inviting appearance where, once you get close, it’s like being invited in by the devil. And once he has you, he has you.”

Leterrier notes that there are a lot of similarities between Dante and Momoa. “Frankly, the only difference between Jason and Dante is the cruelty,” Leterrier says. “Jason will match his nail polish to his car or motorcycle. He’s an amazing motorcyclist and stuntman—he did all his own stunts. When the studio saw the dailies, they were like, ‘Wait, hold on. You let him do that?’ It’s very rare to have someone who’s willing to take so many physical risks. But not only can he fight, jump and ride, he was also able to rewrite his own dialogue to make it pop even more. It was very impressive to watch. He’s also a gearhead like no one else. He has 1940s Enfield motorcycles. He loves and respects the engine, and he smells of grease and fun.”