The Fast & Furious sits sits six films strong with a seventh on the way, and you’d be crazy to think the decision-makers behind the realization of Need For Speed on the big screen aren’t aiming for the same success. With big budget blockbusters clouding over most of any given year’s release schedule as we look forward, it’s the hope of studios that their releases are successful enough to establish a successful brand that warrants a followup. The franchising model is essential for Disney, who with DreamWorks, aim to do with Need For Speed, what they are currently doing with their Marvel, Star Wars, Alice in Wonderland and Pirates of the Caribbean films.
When looking at the cast of the video game adaptation, if a sequel gets made, expect most of them to return, because yes, they were all locked up with multi-picture deals from the beginning according to our recent conversation with some of the Need For Speed stars.
Don Kaye spoke with Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi, Ramon Rodriguez and Rami Malik about their supporting roles in Need For Speed, their onscreen and offscreen chemistry, and their hopes for Need for Speed 2.
Tell me about your experience with car culture or racing culture before you got to this movie.
Scott Mescudi: I think that we were all kind of into cars as much as any guy, you know. I collect cars here and there, you know, so I’m into it.
Ramon Rodriguez: I’m sort of – I’m not a huge car guy, but sort of, you know. I love my car and then I got to practice and work on doing some stunts with my buddy Sammy in his garage, and he’s a stunt driver and he taught me some tricks. So I got, you know, I learned a lot more of an appreciation of how to work the car and manipulate and use the e-brake and do some cool stunts with it.
Rami Malik: Yeah, you’re pretty good at that now.
Rodriguez: I’ve gotten pretty good at it.
Malik: Like any other kid, you know, growing up with your first toy being a car or a truck, you just have a fascination with it. So I mean, this is like a childhood dream to get to hang out with all these cars and guys and play mechanics and drivers in a film, yeah.
Did you guys know each other before doing this, and if not, how easy was it to bond on the set?
Malik: I knew his (Mescudi’s) music, which was awesome, and then…
Rodriguez: Yep, yep.
Mescudi: Thanks guys.
Malik: And then I knew of him (Rodriguez) as an actor, but we hadn’t met.
Rodriguez: We clicked really quickly though. I mean, you know, considering we were pretty much strangers, we, you know, we all hung out, we went out to grab food and drink and…
Malik: It was fast.
Rodriguez: It was very quick.
Mescudi: Once we got drunk, the brotherhood was solidified. ‘Cause that’s when you really – it’s weird, but you can truly see who people are, you know, when they have a little bit of liquor in them. It was really cool that we kind of all hit it off. It could have been madness. It could have been a disaster.
Malik: I think they knew, you know. Look, I mean, it’s not like they don’t test this thing out beforehand. I mean, they definitely know what they’re doing when they put a bunch of people together and they want, you know, chemistry and camaraderie, and it worked out.
Rodriguez: Give it to Ronna Kress (casting director) and Scott (Waugh, director) for knowing that.
Malik: For sure.
You (Scott) had to learn how to fly a plane. What was that like, getting up there?
Mescudi: I thought it would be really nerve-wracking but it wasn’t. Obviously there was some time that I needed to take to get into the rhythm of the unorthodox way that we were shooting, but no, man, I was really excited every day to learn and go up there. It was like, after the first couple of days, I couldn’t get much sleep ‘cause I was like, ‘Can’t wait to get back up in the air,’ you know, and it was lonely up there, but I had Rick and Mike – Mike (Svitak) was the camera guy and then Rick was the stunt guy flying around and they became my instant family, because it’s like, ‘Hey, we’re all up here together, you know, if we go down, we’re going down together.’ So yeah, it was fun, a lot of fun. Dream come true.
What did you guys take away from this overall? What did you learn about yourselves as actors, about how far you could push yourselves in terms of the speeds involved, the stunts involved, what you’re willing and not willing to do?
Malik: Under the right conditions, I mean, it’s limitless what you can do. That’s everything. You have the right, you know, safety specifications then there’s no limit to what you can do because you don’t feel like your life’s in jeopardy. Once you feel like you’re at peril, then that’s when you get stung. That’s when you don’t want to do anything else. And luckily, we had the right guys, the right team, and a director who had a vast stunt background to put us in those positions that weren’t precarious.
Mescudi: We were under careful watch by professionals that have been doing this for decades.
Rodriguez: Yeah. I mean, the experience was incredible. I mean, we got to travel around the United States, see some really special places, you know, the Bonneville Salt Flats, spent some time in Detroit and Atlanta, and got time to hang out with each other which, you know, was pretty cool.
Malik: It’s fun, man. I hope we get to make more of these, because we have a great dynamic, you know, all the way from the top, from Spielberg down to Scott Waugh and the writers are incredible…
Rodriguez: There’s so much more to explore.
Malik: We’re lucky. We’re very fortunate.
Are you all signed up for a sequel?
Mescudi: Well, we ain’t got no choice, man, that’s one of the first things that was handled. It’s like “If this is going to be a sequel…”
Malik: “Lock ‘em up!”
Mescudi: “Lock ‘em up!”
Rodriguez: “You’re not going anywhere.”
Mescudi: “You ain’t going nowhere!”
Malik: Well, we’re happy to be a part of it.
Mescudi: We don’t want to go anywhere. You know that, Dreamworks. We don’t want to go anywhere (blows kiss at camera).
Be sure to check out our video interviews with stars Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots, and director Scott Waugh alongside Stunt Coordinator Lance Gilbert.
More: ‘Need For Speed’ Review
DreamWorks Pictures’ Need For Speed is directed by Scott Waugh and stars Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Ramon Rodriguez, Rami Malek, Scott Mescudi, Dakota Johnson, Harrison Gilbertson and Michael Keaton.
Need for Speed hits theaters on March 14, 2014.