From its humble street-racing beginnings, the Fast and Furious franchise has evolved to become completely unrecognisable compared to where it all started in 2001. And it’s changed in more ways than one – firstly, the action sequences have ramped up to gravity-defying proportions and the Fast Fam have even gone to space. The other way it’s changed is the actors who are now involved – some huge stars, and some prestigious Oscar winners.
Some names have slotted into the franchise as if they were born to race cars very very fast – the likes of Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and John Cena are all unsurprising additions. Some other big names that have been involved include Idris Elba, Eva Mendes, Scott Eastwood, Luke Evans, Game of Thrones‘ Nathalie Emmanuel, and even Kurt Russell.
Members of the Fast Fam have come from the world of wrestling (Johnson and Cena, of course), MMA (Ronda Rousey and Gina Carano), and hip-hop (Ludacris, Bow Wow, Cardi B). In today’s superhero-saturated climate, it’s hardly surprising that a few DC and Marvel heroes have also dipped their toes – such as Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman) – the latter of whom will appear in the upcoming Fast X.
But perhaps most surprisingly, actors who have been Oscar nominated, or even won Oscars are apparently clamouring for a chance to get behind the wheel of a Dodge Charger or a Honda S2000. There’s the Oscar-nominated Djimon Hounsou and Vanessa Kirby. And then there’s the elder stateswomen – Oscar winners Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron.
In February 2022, Oscar-winner Brie Larson made it clear that she wanted to be in a Fast and Furious movie. And if you’re a successful Hollywood star, it looks like your dreams come true faster than a Bugatti, because by April 2022 it was announced that she’d been cast in Fast X. By July 2022, she was sharing an on-set photo.
When Vin Diesel spoke to Jimmy Kimmel in March 2020 (yes, right as the first lockdowns were starting), and told him that; “Strange enough, 20 years ago, you wouldn’t have thought this, but now we do have Oscar winners asking to be a part of the films. It’s bizarre.” Diesel sure has come a long way, baby.
In 2017, Helen Mirren told Buzzfeed; “My role in Fast and Furious 8 came about because I begged for it. I almost went down on my knees. Not quite. But I went down on my metaphorical knees to Vin [Diesel] and to everyone. I always… I just wanted to be in one of those movies. So word went out that I wanted to be in it and they very kindly gave me a role in it. So I was very excited.”
While we wait for the release of Fast X, check out our guide to the best Fast and Furious characters, ranked.