Probably because of the good response I got to the cameo I did in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, as it proved to me that the audience had embraced my character and was hungry for more. So, essentially I returned to pay homage to Dominic Toretto.
What was your main concern?
My main concern and the question I asked myself was: “Am I sacrificing any of my integrity by doing this?”
You have always been a script-orientated actor. What did you need to have in this one that justified Dominic Toretto′s return and helped you embrace him again?
Universal was very supportive in putting together a script that truly offered a sequel to the first film and dealt with its issues.
Do you regret not having gone back to that character earlier?
Not at all, because I made other choices and wasn′t ready to jump back into the character too quickly.
Have you all changed much?
Well, the landscape for us has changed, because we were young rebels then; but now we are starting to get a bit over the hill, quiet frankly. We have grown up, and the key was: How do you make a film about young rebels when you are not a rebel or even that young anymore? The answer to that question was the trick to getting this new movie right.
A still from Fast & Furious 4 (View more...)
And, as a producer, was it hard to bring everybody back?
It was the number one hat trick to bring everybody back! And the way we achieved it was by creating a good story that would make everybody′s return compelling.
Because you had to get everybody back.
Yes, we had to, and also bring back as much of that original flavor possible, while allowing for something new.
And how do you see Paul, Jordana and Michelle now?
These are guys that have grown up, gone on with their lives and, most important of all, endured this industry for 8 years. And that′s a pretty powerful thing! I remember sitting with Paul years ago at an airport in Mexico when nobody knew us yet and talking with him about how that reality would change. It′s interesting to see how we have all coped with that change of reality and how that affects our opportunity to return to a franchise we have all waited to come back to until the moment was right.
How do you believe the franchise has evolved?
I think we were able to reshape the genre within the same franchise.
Is it true that you directed a short film that also develops the story?
Yes, they asked me to direct a short movie called Los Bandoleros that bridges the first film with this one, and I did it! It was something we weren′t really paying that much attention to until we actually went ahead and shot it.
What more can you tell us about Los Bandoleros?
I shot it in the Dominican Republic and I think it will clarify what Dominic has been doing in between these two films.
And what do you think Justin Lin has brought to the franchise as a director?
Justin did his training for this film on The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, where he got to experiment with every aspect about shooting fast cars in action sequences. So, he was primed and ready to take on the challenge of applying all that knowledge to the story that started in the original movie. I love Rob Cohen, and I′m going to work with him again, but I think Justin Lin really held his own ground on this picture.
A still from Fast & Furious 4 (View more...)
What was the shoot like?
It was great; we had a very good experience on set throughout the whole shoot.
How did you select the right cars for the movie?
We have always tried to find cars that match the personalities of the different characters in the film.
What kind of cars do you like?
I am a muscle car kind of guy, and I have always been consistent about that.
Did you have to go to a special car school to prepare your role?
Yes, and not just because of the driving, but also to achieve what the cinematographer and the director needed to get the shot right -like doing a 360 into the camera without wiping out the whole crew!
Does fear affect you when you are behind the wheel?
I think I get such a charge doing it, while surrounded by the best stunt guys, that they are more often than not actually trying to hold me back. I like it too much to be self-conscious about that fear.
But has the experience of being a father changed your approach towards danger?
Yes it has, because you are definitely not thinking only about your own threshold of danger once you have a kid. I have to take into consideration now every single thing I do. And that isn′t limited only to stunts, but to all my work. A child changes your outlook on everything in life.
And your daughter was actually born during the shoot.
Yes, I had her doing the shoot, close to the end of the film; but I kept the news under the radar because I didn′t want it to affect my family. Then I wanted to be home every second to watch everything she did!
You sound like a changed man.
I have always been a kind of stoic and independent person that never needed anyone, but now I find myself addicted to this little angel.