Entertainment

24 Crazy ‘Fast & Furious Facts’ Fans Didn’t Know About

Just think about this: when the first Fast & Furious was released, George W. Bush was into the first year of his presidency, the world had just survived the Y2K scare (when everyone expected computer systems to go loco at the turn of the millennium) and the new post 9-11 world order hadn’t been established. Everyone talks about Marvel and Star Wars, but in fact, the Fast & Furious franchise has been as perdurable and has opened ground in the massive Chinese market, where the films sometimes make more money than in the United States. Who would have said that illegal car racing and espionage would be so profitable?

The franchise propelled Vin Diesel and The Rock into worldwide superstardom and has created legends, such as that of the late and much beloved Paul Walker. The franchise has been a consummate star-maker machine. 

The Fast and the Furious (2001)
A brief recap: Domic Toretto (Vin Diesel) organizes illegal street races and the Los Angeles police think he is behind a series of truck robberies. Cop Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) goes undercover, joining his carritos de carreras crew!

Here are some facts that every fan of the high octane film series should know about each of the eight (sí, ocho, son un chingo!) feature movies release so far! 

Michelle Rodriguez didn’t have a driver’s license (not even a permit!) before she started shooting!

Credit: The Fast and the Furious / Universal Pictures

But we know she is a total badass, so she, of course, managed to be awesome. 

Talking about our Lady Rodriguez, she was dating Vin Diesel in real life during the shoot (par de guapos)

Credit: The Fast and the Furious / Universal Pictures

The chemistry is evident onscreen, so we can only imagine what went on inside those movie set trailers… 

The plot is VERY similar to the classic Keanu Reeves film Point Break

Credit: Point Break/ Largo Entertainment

The classic Hollywood trope of a cop infiltrating a presumed criminal organization will never die! 

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
A brief recap: Brian O’Conner seeks the help of a childhood friend and now street racer to bust a dangerous kingpin.

The film was directed by John Singleton, the first Black man to be nominated for an Oscar as Best Director.

Credit: 2 Fast 2 Furious / Universal Pictures

A total legend of the silver screen. He was nominated for his classic urban tale Boyz N’ The Hood. He died last month. 

Paul Walker performed a lot of the stunts in the film.

Credit: 2 Fast 2 Furious / Universal Pictures

He is missed, and this kind of dedication is what made him a legend in the history of action cinema. 

Vin Diesel turned down $25 million to appear in this film

Credit: 2 Fast 2 Furious / Universal Pictures

He said that the films were being produced like serialized movies in the 80s, thinking of quantity over quality. He would return, of course! 

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
A brief recap: A slight deviation from the main plot… a teenager called Sean Boswell moves to Tokyo to avoid going to prison in the US… and of course he enters the street racing scene

More than 100 cars were destroyed or damaged to make this movie

Credit: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift/ Universal Pictures

Talk about the excesses of Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking! It is pretty cool, though!

Universal practically begged Vin Diesel to make a cameo

 

Credit: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift/ Universal Pictures

This happened after an early screening of the film did terribly with test audiences. 

The film happens in 2013, which back in 2006 was 7 years into the future!

Credit: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift / Universal Pictures

This is such a vexing script choice… it does look a little futuristic though. We wonder if they even imagined that the franchise would still be going by then. 

Fast & Furious (2009)
A brief recap: The return of Vin Diesel! Brian and Dominic team up to fight a heroin smuggler

Wonder Woman‘s Gal Gadot made her screen debut here!

Credit: Fast & Furious / Universal Pictures

She was as fierce and amazing then as she is now…  a true female symbol! 

Rapidito, a componer!

Credit: Fast & Furious / Universal Pictures

Universal made the sudden decision to release the film in April instead of June, so composer Brian Tyler was only given three days to work on the score. What a genius… the music is upbeat and truly communicates the adrenaline-infused theme. 

Now Brian is no longer blond… OK… 

Credit: Fast & Furious / Universal Pictures

Paul Walker basically OWNED the franchise (not financially, but artistically). His character changed hair color all of a sudden with no explanation. 

Fast Five (2011)
A brief recap: This is the epitome of a heist movie. Dominic Toretto is in the grips of a Brazilian drug lord, so he and his crew need to buy their freedom.

Director Justin Lin sort of hates digital FX, so most of the car stunts are as real as it gets

Credit: Fast Five / Universal Pictures

This is what has made this franchise survive: a true commitment to the craft of traditional filmmaking despite the massive advances that digital technology has made since 2001. 

This was the first movie in the franchise to be shown in IMAX. 

Credit: Fast Five / Universal Pictures

Grandecito se ve más bonito, no doubt about it. 

Joaquim de Almeida (Reyes, the kingpin) is often cast as a big mafia boss

Credit: Fast Five / Universal Pictures

Point in case, is role as Governor Vargas in Queen of the South, the gringo remake of our own La reina del Sur

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
A brief recap: The Rock is here! Dominic and Brian get together again to tackle on a team of mercenaries

Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is teased with Avengers references

Credit: Fast & Furious 6 / Universal Pictures

They call him Captain America, “Samoan Thor” and The Hulk. Well, those are pretty cool comparisons we think. 

Justin Lin es un necio and it paid off! No CGI!

Credit: Fast & Furious 6 / Universal Pictures

The tank scene is so complicated in terms of logistics that the studio insisted on digital imagery. The director refused and we are thankful for that. Look at this behind-the-scenes shot that reveals how complex it all was! 

Paul Walker passed away the year the film was released

Credit: Furious 7 / Universal Pictures
Credit: Fast & Furious 6 / Universal Pictures

He died on November 30, 2013. The studio donated part of the DVD sales to Walker’s foundation Reach Out WorldWide. 

Furious 7 (2015)
A brief recap: Jason Statham is here! Another action movie powerhouse graces the franchise as a man who seeks revenge against Dominic and his muchachos.

This is the last film featuring Paul Walker

Tribune UK

Stunt doubles, body doubles, and CGI was needed to complete Walker’s appearance in the film. Such a sad moment for the franchise, truly bittersweet as a homage to the actor. They also rescued some unused footage from the previous films. 

Paul’s brothers Caleb and Cody helped out

Credit: 878431-paulmain-1430381325. Digital image. Tribune UK

They are two of the doubles, and they also lent their voices for some voice-over dialogue for the character of Brian. 

Denzel Washington turned down a minor role in the film, so the producers had to settle with… 

Credit: Furious 7 / Universal Pictures

Mr Kurt Russell… TBH, we love him in this role as the enigmatic Mr Nobody. 

The Fate of the Furious (2017)
A brief recap: Dom is seduced by a super intelligent and gorgeous woman… with unexpected consequences

The shooting of the film revealed that there is not a lot of love between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson

Credit: The Fate of the Furious / Universal Pictures

Some scenes featuring Johnson were deleted and this seemed to be Vin Diesel’s doing. As always, Johnson was a gentleman, but the rift was evident. 

Iceland passes as Russia

Credit: The Fate of the Furious / Universal Pictures

The plot includes several scenes in Russia, but in fact, they were shot in Iceland. These scenes include the biggest, meanest explosion ever shot in the Nordic country. 

The dance that Hobbs performs with his soccer team is a Haka, a traditional warrior dance from the Pacific Islands

Credit: The Fate of the Furious / Universal Pictures

Dwayne Johnson is a proud, fierce islander!

Netflix Is Bringing Latinidad To The Fantasy Realm And LOTR Fans Gear Up

Entertainment

Netflix Is Bringing Latinidad To The Fantasy Realm And LOTR Fans Gear Up

Streaming services like Netflix have become our go-to place for fresh media. So, whenever we hear of a new project coming from the streaming service, we’re all in. Last November, Netflix announced a huge 6 project animated deal that will bring even more cartoon goodness to our screens. One, in particular, has us especially excited because it comes from animator and director Jorge Gutierrez. You might remember him from Nickelodeon’s “El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera” and the gorgeously animated “The Book of Life.”

Now, we’re seeing the first looks of Gutierrez’s new Netflix project, “Maya and the Three.”

Twitter / @mexopolis

Described as a Mesoamerican fantasy epic, the director sat down with VARIETY to share the origins of the project and the journey to get it made. Gutierrez was approached by Netflix with an alluring challenge: share his dream project with executives; the one he didn’t believe anyone would ever allow him to make. It only took him one pitch to win the streaming giant over and “Maya” was greenlit for production.

“So I sat down on Jan. 25th of [2018] and that was the first time I ever pitched ‘Maya,’” he shared with VARIETY. “No art, no writing, just an idea. And here I am 11 months later, knee-deep in production.”

It was Gutierrez’s goal to portray a “bad-ass female Mesoamerican hero” in a fantasy world of his own creation.

Twitter / @zette16

“I started seeing a lot of things I didn’t like as far as not having any lead females, especially in Mesoamerican mythology,” he explained. “So I said I want to have a hero who is a half-god half-human warrior princess.”

In the Netflix series, a demigod warrior princess named Maya embarks on a quest to recruit three legendary fighters. With their help, she hopes to save the worlds of god and man from destruction. The intention was to show Maya as a strong female lead and, to do so, Gutierrez pulled from his real-life heroes. The director credits his sister, mother and his wife, Sandra Equihua for inspiring the mythical heroine. Equihua is also a talented animator and acts as a character designer for the female characters in her husband’s work.

With his female lead in place, Gutierrez focused on the mystical world that “Maya” would be set in.

Twitter / @mexopolis

The setting for the Netflix limited series has been growing in Gutierrez’s mind since he was a boy growing up in Mexico City. He would wander the halls of the Museum of Natural History and makeup stories about what he saw. These stories would later help to mold the setting. Even now, the director has fun teasing his Twitter followers with hints about what the new series could look like. However, it’s the architecture from his boyhood explorations, Gutierrez’s fondness for skulls and the pantheon of Mesoamerican gods that have helped to create Maya’s world.

Due to the mystical quest and the fantasy setting of “Maya and the Three,” Gutierrez has taken to calling the series the Mexican “Lord of the Rings.” Still, it’s a fantasy first and foremost. The director wants everyone to understand that “Maya” is inspired by Mesoamerican culture but is not meant to be an accurate representation.

“I tell everybody that while it’s inspired by Mesoamerica, this will be as accurate (to that world) as ‘Rocky’ was to boxing,” Gutierrez shared with VARIETY. “It’s all fantasy and I’m having a blast playing with the history.”

The series will feature a number of talented Latinx writers, producers and voice actors to bring Maya to life.

Instagram / @thraxisjr

Silvia Olivas from “Elena of Avalor” is acting as a co-writer and co-producer for “Maya and the Three.” From Disney’s “Moana,” Jeff Ranjo is the head of story. Paul Sullivan, who worked with Gutierrez on “The Book of Life,” is the production designer.

Despite these important hires, animators were in short supply so the producer had to get creative.

“Especially in L.A., we are all fighting for basically the same people, so now we’re looking outside. Before we announced Maya, I would go online and look for artists who were already inspired by Mesoamerica and say to them ‘You already love this stuff, we love it too! Come to our team.’”

Gutierrez used Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr to find animators that could do justice to the project. This modern-day recruiting system allowed Gutierrez and his team to find fresh artists with untapped talent to animate “Maya.” The results promise to be unique and beautiful.

The series is still a long ways away; it won’t debut on Netflix until its 2021 worldwide release. While it’s a long wait, the director promises fans that it is well worth it.

“Please have patience,” he told fans through his VARIETY interview. “This is gonna take a while, but we hope it’s unlike anything anyone has ever seen. We are so giddy every day and still can’t believe this is happening.”

This Short Film Centers Around A Black Father Doing His Daughter’s Hair

Entertainment

This Short Film Centers Around A Black Father Doing His Daughter’s Hair

When it comes to grooming a daughter’s hair, Black fathers haven’t been shy about expressing the difficulties that come along with the morning ritual. And Afro-Latino fathers are no exception. In Latinx communities with large Afro-Latino populations, having “good hair” is a label we all have to contend with. Young girls have a lot of pressure put on them to look put-together so, by extension, our families look put together. 

We all have memories of our mothers making sure our baby-bangs were smoothed down and our outfits were washed and pressed to perfection. 

Being well-groomed is so important to Afro-Latinos who face societal pressure to look perfect in order to combat bias.

Kickstarter

So, when fathers occasionally have to groom their children when their mother is unavailable, the pressure, needless to say, is on. We’ve all seen the genre of viral videos where fathers struggle to part, brush, braid and secure their daughters’ hair–obviously not previously aware of all the labor that goes into daily hair upkeep. Even celebrities have gotten in on the trend with men like Alexis Ohanian, husband to Serena Williams, joining “Natural Hair” groups on Facebook to learn more about their children’s rizos

Writer/director Matthew Cherry wanted to explore the topic of Black fathers doing their daughters hair, so he decided to make an animated short about it.

Kickstarter

According to Cherry, the short, titled “Hair Love” is about a Black father (who has locs himself) who does his daughter’s hair for the first time. “You know how guys are, a lot of times we’re hard-headed and we think we can figure everything out by ourselves without asking for help,” said Cherry during an interview. “[The father in the short] thinks it’s going to be an easy task but he soon finds out her hair has a mind of its own”. 

The father isn’t the only one who learns a lesson in self-confidence in the course of the film, though. In the end, the young girl also “comes into a level of self-confidence in the process” of her father learning how to do her hair. So, in other words, the entire film is an ode to self-love, family, and the priceless experience of bonding.

To finance “Hair Love”, Cherry created a Kickstarter campaign with the initial goal of raising $75,000. The campaign quickly caught the internet’s attention and became a viral phenomenon thanks to celebrity champions like Issa Rae and Jordan Peele. The $75,000 goal was quickly surpassed. All in all, the campaign raked in a total of $280,000–smashing Kickstarter’s short-film financing records. 

Cherry recruited Black animators like “Proud Family”‘s Bruce W. Smith and “WALL-E”‘s Everett Downing Jr. to help him make his dreams a reality.

As for Cherry, he’s candid about the reason he decided to explore the topic of Black hair and Black fathers: because mainstream media’s representation has left much to be desired. According to Cherry, not only did he want to shine a light on the labor of love that doing Black hair requires, but he wanted to highlight the relationships between Black fathers and their daughters. 

“For me, I just think it was really important to shine a light on Black fathers doing domestic things with their kids because mainstream media would lead you to believe that Black fathers aren’t a part of their kids’ lives”, Cherry said. “And there have been a lot of recent surveys that actually show otherwise–that show that Black fathers are just as involved in their kids’ lives as any other racial group”.

Now, “Hair Love” will be played ahead of “The Angry Birds Movie 2” in theaters nationwide

Kickstarter

The nationwide release will provide a massive platform for an under-told story. Not to mention, it will provide Black children with their own images reflected back to them–something many of them haven’t seen before. Not to mention, the security of a theatrical release has made “Hair Love” officially eligible for an Academy Award nomination. 

As for Cherry, he’s over-the-moon about the opportunity for his project to be seen by millions of people. “To see this project go from a Kickstarter campaign to the big screen is truly a dream come true,” he said in a press statement. “I couldn’t be more excited for “Hair Love” to be playing with “The Angry Birds Movie 2” in front of a wide audience and for the world to see our touching story about a Black father trying to figure out how to do his daughter’s hair for the very first time.”

We’ll admit: we didn’t have plans to see “Angry Birds 2” in theaters before we knew about this. But now, you might just see us on opening night, standing in line for the movie right next to our fathers! Catch “Hair Love” before  “The Angry Birds Movie 2” in theaters on August 14th.

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