What's On: In conversation with, Fast X director Louis Leterrier
Just in time for the drop of a full throttle new trailer…
It’s one of the longest running, most dearly-cherished franchises in cinema history, but the Fast and Furious saga will be screeching to a halt very soon. After dumping a gallon of celluloidal nos into the tank, we’ve somehow torn through nine movies of the main storyline, and for this next installment — Fast X (due to hit cinemas in May), what will almost certainly be the penultimate film in the series — legendary action director Louis Leterrier sits in the driver’s seat for the first time. Leterrier is the director behind the first two Transporter movies, Clash of the Titan, Now You See Me and Unleashed — a CV so explosively fisticuffs and cheeky humour-laden that it almost makes him overqualified for joining the F&F family.
And our interview with Louis is just one half of a twin-turbo treat for Fast and Furious fans (that’s fans of the series and not the cooling fans in knackered old laptops that spin and vibrate with the intensity of star approaching supernova). We also have, fresh out of the Turetto family garage, the new trailer for Fast X, showing off a head-spinning collection of action sequences; returning key cast from both ends of the goodie-to-baddie continuum; and excitingly fresh faces in Jason Momoa and Brie Larson. So sit down, buckle up, and prepare to live the next few minutes one quarter mile at a time…
What’s On: Welcome Louis, you’re live with What’s On, a digital and print magazine published across the UAE and in Saudi Arabia.
Louis Leterrier: Oh cool, it’s actually my dream to go there
WO: [squeels in excitement] This movie is intended to be the beginning of the end for the Fast and Furious saga, how does it feel to be in control of the concluding act to one of the most beloved dynasties in contemporary cinema.
LL: It’s daunting. It’s even more daunting because I’m the biggest fan of the franchise. My first movie, with my main actor, we went to see a film at the end of a day’s shooting, and that movie was Fast and Furious, we loved it so much. And I remember saying “this is amazing, we have to do something like this, we need to make our movie that fun, and humorous”. So my movie was The Transporter, and the guy sitting next to me was, Jason Statham.
That experience defined my life and his, and for both of us to now be in the franchise, and that I get to direct it. It just feels surreal. You have to understand, the concept of family in the franchise – is real, and powerful – on screen and off. The crew welcomed me into this family, I’m not the distant French cousin, I’m the brother. We’re so lucky to have Vin [Diesel] as the producer on this because he knows the franchise so well. It’s very comforting to be part of it, I’ve never been part of something like this, usually, I’m building things from scratch, but this family has lived together for a quarter of a century.
WO: Your filmography includes some genuinely incredible fight scenes, car chases and well-measured humour, it just fits in so well with the F&F saga, it almost feels like manifest destiny that you’re now apart of it right?
LL: It’s gravitational pull, we attracted each other – they borrowed from my movies, and I was inspired by some of theirs. I’ve flirted with directing films in the franchise before, and then with this one, just to be trusted in finishing this, one of the most loved series in the world, it’s a true honour and I take it with all the weight and responsibility that was given to me.
WO: And so, you’re working with Jason Statham again, so he’s a known entity, but in this movie we’ve also got new faces, Jason Momoa and Brie Larson, what do they as actors bring to the series?
LL: What’s beautiful about the franchise, is that it’s always been so diverse and the parity between men and women has been respected from the beginning. There’s always been as many female leads as male leads, and never forced. Brie brings another very strong female character, she’s a little bit more mysterious, she’s the secret family member of somebody we know well. The women in the franchise have traditionally grounded Dom, Brie’s more like a guardian angel.
Jason [Momoa] is the opposite, he brings chaos, on and off screen — the man is like a three-ring circus, he’s loud, he laughs, he’s brash, he’s fun – there’s always music when he acts and I’m like “can you turn it off”. He’s like my twin, my giant jolly twin, and he brings that and it’s needed to bring a different, chaotic energy to the series — and it’s quite the opposite to Dom’s.
And it’s nice that you noticed about the humour in my filmography, I love mixing tones and genres, Jason Momoa helped with this — Chaos, darkness and levity. And importantly, he’s a racer, I wanted cars to be the centrepiece of the movie, practical effects, humans, family characters, these were my goals for this film, but also the end of the franchise.
Fast X is set to arrive in UAE cinemas this May.