The Fate of the Furious Tyrese

The humor was great. I think Tyrese in particular is the best he’s been in the whole franchise. Every one of his comedic moments just worked perfectly for me.

Absolutely!

From initial inception all the way through to post-production, which single set piece was the most challenging for you?

I hope this doesn’t feel like a filmmaker-y answer, because it probably is, but they’re all challenging in their own ways. You can imagine not having the infrastructure to shoot a short film, let alone a massive Hollywood film, in Cuba. [We’re doing] action, stunts, racing vintage cars at a hundred miles an hour through a city where there’s 10,000 people watching you film. So just the safety and the lock up alone just to keep people from walking out into the middle of the street and being hurt, or the actors being hurt in streets that they just freshly paved because some of these streets had pot holes and things like that. You know, just managing that. Managing having a helicopter for the first time, an American airship, fly over Havana for the very first time. 50 feet in the air!

All these things are really challenging, but then you jump to New York City, and you read on the page that there’s a chase. No New Yorker believes you could go a hundred miles an hour through Times Square, so you’re kind of like, how do you shoot this? How do you lock up Times Square and have five cars race through at top speeds when there’s normally a traffic jam – if not of cars, of people? So that was really, really hard to do. It was very hard to permit. The cars flying from the sky, just the safety – the engineering alone to drop cars out of the sky, because this is all for real. Very tough.

And then Iceland. When you have a Lamborghini traveling a hundred-plus miles per hour on melting ice, chased by a submarine and a whole bunch of military vehicles, you have a situation where, if the ice is melting, these vehicles can collapse into the water below the surface.

Wait. So that was actually on real ice out there?

That was real ice. Absolutely real ice!

Wow.

So you can imagine, we had engineers out there drilling every day to make sure that the ice could hold the weight of not only what we were shooting, but our crew. So it was dangerous for our actors, dangerous for our crew, dangerous for our stunt men.

Obviously the vehicles play a very important part in these movies. Can you talk about how you mixed practical and CG effects in this one? You were just talking about how much of it was practical, but what was your approach bringing CG into the mix?

The mantra is, “Real, real, real, real, real.” There’s definitely a little movie magic we had to do in some areas just for safety purposes and things like that, but when I spoke to my second unit director Spiro Razatos and Jack Gill, Andy Gill, these guys, the mantra was, “Figure it out. How can we do this for real?”

What was the most rewarding thing for you about making this movie?

Pulling it off! [Laughs] The most rewarding thing is when you have so many different elements, shooting in Cuba, New York City, Iceland, where anything can go wrong, it was done very safely. I loved the performances. I thought the actors took it to the next level. I loved the humor. I loved the bits of drama that you’re not really used to in the Fast franchise. And I love cars, man. I love a lot about this movie, and I think it all comes together for one insane ride, and I’m very happy about that.

Have you had any conversations with Universal about coming back to direct Fast 9? Is it too early in the process, or have you actually had those talks with them?

We are literally just on the heels of finishing this, so that’s where we are with it. I’m honored to be a part of the family, man.

OK, I won’t push you any further on that. But what would you like to see in Fast 9? Anything specific plot-wise, or where do you want to see the characters go, or any crazy location, that just you as a fan of the franchise would want to see?

Sure. You know what? I honestly, I need a little distance from this one to even – my mind can’t even…I’m so locked in on what we just did, it’s hard to think even a frame beyond this one.

[Laughs] Fair enough. I appreciate your time. Thanks for speaking with me.

Thank you. Appreciate it, brother.

***

The Fate of the Furious hits theaters on April 14, 2017.

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