When the first Fast and the Furious film was released in 2001, no one could have predicted that the series would have a longer lifespan than almost any other action franchise in film history, or that it would go on to just become more and more financially successful as time went on. But that’s exactly what has happened, thanks to the addition of both Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in one of the lead roles, and the work behind the camera of talented, energetic directors like Justin Lin and James Wan over the past few installments. Fully embracing the ridiculousness of its premise with some awe-inspiring action sequences, that trend only looks to continue in this year’s The Fate of the Furious.

Ever since 2011’s Fast Five, the franchise has been welcome to more and more increasingly impressive additions to its cast, including Jason Statham, Luke Evans, Kurt Russell and Nathalie Emmanuel. Nevertheless, The Fate of the Furious boasts by far the most exciting lineup of new cast members, like Charlize Theron as the villainous Cypher, Scott Eastwood, and perhaps most surprisingly, Oscar-winner Dame Helen Mirren.

Mirren is yet to be featured in any trailer or promotional footage for the film, though it has been revealed that she plays the mother of Statham and Luke Evans’ Shaw brothers. In an interesting twist as well, Vin Diesel has revealed in the latest issue of Total Film magazine, that it was actually Mirren who approached him about joining the franchise in the new installment. While the script was already greenlit, Diesel says that he immediately began working on writing a role for her into the film, less than a week after she first made her request:

“People don’t know that I’m the one working for a year beforehand with the writers and coming up with the story. She came up to me at a party last year and said, ‘I want to be in Fast & Furious with you.’ The script was [already] greenlit, but she told the right person, because a week later she got written in.”

helen mirren fast furious 81 Fate of the Furious: Helen Mirren Asked Vin Diesel For a Role

While it doesn’t look like Mirren will have a very large role in The Fate of the Furious, it should be noted that the critically-acclaimed actress has already proven her chops in a recent action movie franchise, with her role in the first and second Red films. That franchise – which focused on retired, veteran military agents being pulled back into the fray – was notably more comedic than The Fate of the Furious appears to be, but they should give some kind of insight into the humor and lighthearted performance Mirren will likely bring to the franchise this year.

However, It’s not just its cast list that makes The Fate of the Furious out to be the most ambitious installment in the franchise. In fact, following his critically-acclaimed work on 2015’s Straight Outta Compton, director F. Gary Gray looks like he’ll be bringing the same skillful eye for visuals and drama to Furious that he demonstrated so beautifully in that N.W.A. biopic. Larger in scope and size than any of its predecessors, it’s shaping up to be one of the most-anticipated blockbuster films of the year, and one fitting of an actress like Helen Mirren – which no one probably thought they’d ever say about a Fast and Furious film.

NEXT: Final The Fate of the Furious Trailer – What We Learned

Source: Total Film

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