Way back in the year 2001, a little movie about street racing, based on the article “Racer X” by writer Kenneth Li launched one of the most successful and long-running film franchises in modern times. When the first movie, The Fast and The Furious, was released it was new, original, and based on a huge community of car enthusiasts that was never represented on the big screen before. Of course, the film made mistakes including making up car jargon that doesn’t exist like “double-clutching” and “granny-shifting” or using the wrong tool for the job. Since then, the franchise has been taken to new heights with the upcoming Fast 8/Fast & Furious 8, breaking barriers and casting big-time names (in hopes of filling the heavy loss of Paul Walker) to join the team.
Many fans were rather surprised with news of Oscar-winning actress, Helen Mirren, joining the already jam-packed, star-studded cast of Fast 8. We immediately envisioned Mirren hopping behind the wheel of a classic racecar, hitting the NOS, and speeding through explosions in Iceland before effortlessly jumping through the sunroof and onto a safe sidewalk – no harm done. Mirren admitted to being nervous about filming saying, “I’ve only got one day, and I’ll probably f— it up, oh God."
In a recent interview with EW, Mirren revealed she will not be racing in Fast 8 (which did indeed only need her for one day of filming):
“I wanted to be driving, but unfortunately, I’m not. Maybe that will come in the future, in Fast and Furious 12. I’m probably one of the few people on the set who know how to drive a gear shift car. I doubt the Rock knows. But I do. I know how to double declutch.”
Last year, in an interview with Yahoo! Movies, Mirren explained that racing in a Fast & Furious film was a major ambition of hers:
“My great ambition is to be in a Fast and Furious movie. I so want to be a mad driver in a Fast and Furious movie. My claim to fame is I always do my own driving — I was on Top Gear, and I did [my lap] in a very good time. I keep putting it out there, and they never ask me. I’ll be in Fast and Furious 8. I have to say Vin Diesel is brilliant. I love Vin Diesel. He’s a great guy, smart — I love him. It’s partly because of him I’d like to be in one, but also the driving.”
It seems like Mirren may be a secret gear-head. She initially joined the cast under one condition - that she would be driving. This leaves us wondering what she will be doing...possibly a recurring villain? While she did reach her goal of being in Fast 8, she sadly won’t be racing like she wants to. But as long as she isn’t killed off in the upcoming film, she always has the chance to return to fulfill her racing dreams considering the never-ending future of the franchise. Even with all of its’ goofy faults, ridiculous action scenes, and a bevy of bad acting, the Fast & Furious franchise captures the essence of this particular gear-headed community: fast cars and family.
Fast 8 opens in U.S. theaters on April 17th, 2017, followed by Fast and Furious 9 on April 19th, 2019, and Fast and Furious 10 on April 2nd, 2021.