Each week, Universal Pictures is releasing videos hot off the set of Fast & Furious 8, the filming of which is currently underway. From fiery car chases in Iceland, to cars dropping from a building window in Cleveland, these videos tease the kind of fast-paced, explosive action fans can expect from the latest installment of the studio’s biggest franchise. This week, in keeping with its #FastFridays tradition, Universal has released an official behind-the-scenes video that sheds light on last week’s epic stunt – dubbed “zombie cars,” according to second unit stunt coordinator, Andy Gill.
While the video doesn’t reveal where this particular stunt takes place or how it fits into the overall story, it does offer details on how the production team created it. Each of the seven falling cars, which is launched from the building window via a crane-mounted winch, is intended to land on a particular vehicle on the streets below – a pile-up amassing to 35 to 40 cars, according to second unit stunt coordinator, Jack Gill. Of course, safety is of the utmost concern. “Obviously there’s no one in [the cars] because they’re about to be impaled by 3,000 pound lawn darts,” special effects supervisor J.D. Schwalm jokes.
Fast & Furious 8, directed by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton), reunites franchise stars Vin Diesel (as Dominic Toretto), Michelle Rodriguez (as Letty Ortiz), Dwayne Johnson (as Agent Luke Hobbs), and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (as Tej Parker). It will also feature franchise newcomer, Oscar-winner Charlize Theron as the villainous Cipher – a role that promises to be as exciting as cars exploding off the sides of buildings. In fact, EW recently spoke about Theron’s character with Fast 8’s composer, Brian Tyler, who lent his musical talents to four previous Fast & Furious films. According to him, while Cipher is undeniably a villain, audiences will still be drawn to her – a magnetizing effect that owes to the character’s emotionally complex and sympathetic nature:
“It’s like a siren kind of thing. There’s no question the havoc and villainy she brings [but] you’re attracted to it. There’s something where you can kind of see yourself in this villain that makes it more disturbing and, at the same time, more interesting. It’s the sympathetic villains, in a way, who really get under your skin.”
Tyler goes on to compare Theron’s character (and the acting chops that accomplish that level of sinister charisma) to Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter, “where you like him, but you’re like, ‘Wait, why am I doing that? I shouldn’t be rooting for this person.’ [Theron] has that ability to do that. She’s just a fantastic actor.” Fast 8’s composer isn’t the only one singing the actress’s praises. When Theron was officially cast in the role in May, Vin Diesel wrote on his Facebook page that her presence would take the film (and the overall franchise) to new and exciting heights. “Cipher…is forcing Dom in to a place we have not seen... Of all her films you have never seen this character [Theron] has created... She has truly brought her A game to this saga and we are all grateful for it.”
Between the jaw-dropping stunts, gray-area villains, and superior acting, Fast 8 sounds like a recipe for success – not bad considering the franchise’s humble beginnings fifteen years ago as a ragtag, street-racing action flick.
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.