Vin Diesel and  Dwayne Johnson

Since Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian’s (Paul Walker) Rio heist toppled a kingpin’s empire and left their crew with $100 million, our heroes have scattered across the globe.  But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam have left their lives incomplete. Meanwhile, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries, whose mastermind (Luke Evans) is aided by a ruthless second-in-command revealed to be the love Dom thought was dead, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks Dom to assemble his elite team in London. Payment? Full pardons for all of them so they can return home and make their families whole again. ‘Fast & Furious 6′ also stars Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Elsa Pataky Joe Taslim and Gina Carano. The film has been scheduled for release on May 17th in the UK and May 24th in the US. Justin Lin directs.

The scale of ‘Fast & Furious 6′ and the action is even bigger than ‘Fast Five.’ You’ve got Flip Cars, Tanks, Planes…. you’re not playing around?

Vin Diesel: (laughs) Yeah, it’s huge. The size and scale is huge. One of the things in this one is that director Justin Lin didn’t want to be held back by too much reality. I think on this one, on the this sixth one, he wanted to take off the training wheels and just go as crazy as he can go and use that imagination to the fullest – and I think it shows. But what grounds this, for me, is the heart. So in some ways it’s the perfect storm, we’re able to do over the top stuff and own it, and we were able to do that because the heart in the picture is so strong and so present that it allows us to have this kind of fantasy process. The way that he took the action and made sure that even though a fight scene was competing on an action level, that he was also getting immense story out of it – a perfect example is the race around Piccadilly Circus. It’s a race that in another movie would be just a race/action scene, but in this it’s so much more.

And for Hobbs, for him to ask for Dom and his team’s help means a great deal to him, it’s against his makeup in a way…..?

Dwayne Johnson: Yeah. The fact that Hobbs has to go to Dom, and feels like going to Dom is not only the last resort, but it’s the best report – its gotta be a big thing (laughs). And it is a big thing, because essentially in Hobbs’ constitution, in his wiring, in his his makeup, he is made a certain way. These are all men who he has vowed to take in, including Dom, so he went to Dom and he asked him for his help. But, there’s a mutual respect that these two men have, and they also know that they both want something, something that is very important to them and important to their core, to their heart. I know he can help me get what I want, and I also know I can help him get what he wants, something that he thought he’d never have again.

And you have an incredibly formidable and efficient villain in this film, Luke Evans’ Shaw. For me, he’s somewhat like a James Bond-goes-rogue kind of character….

Vin Diesel: Yeah, you can’t try to match brawn for brawn after going against Hobbs in ‘Fast Five’ – there wouldn’t be a physically bigger person you can get, and there wouldn’t be a more fan-fantasized match-up. So we really thought about how we would push the envelope, and by choosing this kind of very efficient character you and the audience go, “How is Dom going to handle this?” It’s not just a warehouse brawl, it’s not just muscle against muscle. This guy that Dom faces in ‘Fast & Furious 6’ works in a different way. And this villain, Shaw, he’s not afraid to exploit weaknesses, he knows how to push buttons.

Gina Carano Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson: Shaw is very dangerous, he’s ex-SAS, paramilitary, and he’s responsible for doing a lot of good things in the world, but then he was responsible for doing a lot of bad things – a lot of bad things to some good people, and on a mass scale. So, we had to make him formidable, and as much as a formidable, believable, ruthless… bad guy. He is a bit like James Bond gone bad (laughs), that’s a good description.

What was the idea behind bringing the story to London?

Vin Diesel: We were all gung-ho about going to over to London. London offered a contrast to Rio. It wasn’t going to be so warm and happy, it was going to start getting dark – like the story (laughs). We were happy in Rio because we thought we had overcome the Letty loss, which is ultimately why we were happy in Rio. If you’re tapping into the heart of that story you’re thinking that at the end of ‘Fast Five’ we were over Letty, to a degree, and we can keep going forward. But then in ‘Fast & Furious 6’ Dom finds out that that isn’t the case, and then when that’s not the case here comes the cold reality – as London is a hell of a lot colder than Rio (laughs).

Dwayne, you’ve got a new partner in this film….?

Dwayne Johnson: Yeah. Hobbs has a new partner in Riley, a woman who is very proficient in fighting, weaponry – putting boots in ass (laughs). She’s a bad-ass, and she is a great partner for Hobbs to have. And now the actress who plays Gina Carano, she’s a great actress for me to work with because she is everything that Riley is. Plus, she is beautiful and funny and she brings an authenticity to that role that is hard to find in Hollywood.

And she has possibly my favorite fight in the film, the Letty/Riley fight?

Dwayne Johnson: The Letty/Riley fight is something that audiences are going to really enjoy, you know? I think for a couple of things, in ‘Fast Five’ you had the Dom/Hobbs fight to look forward to, and in ‘Fast & Furious 6’ you’ve got… a lot of fights to look forward to (laughs). But the Letty/Riley fight could easily be the main event, and they go at it. They threw caution to the wind and they went at it. You have two people who are just inherently born to get down that way. Michelle Rodriguez is a very tough woman, and so is Gina. That fight is a hell of a fight!

And Vin, how was it for you having Michelle Rodriguez back as Letty in this film? Letty means a hell of a lot to Dom…

Vin Diesel: I love working with Michelle, it was awesome having her back. One of the great things abut ‘Fast & Furious 6’ is that we’ve got this wonderful character coming back, in Letty. And Letty allows us to do many great things, one of them is to put a gender spin on the fight that we just did on ‘Fast Five.’ So part of doing that was finding who the female counterpart would be for a rough Letty, who we saw in 2001 punch guys and knock guys out – that’s how we were introduced to her. And Steven Soderbergh did a lot of the work for us (laughs), because we got Gina Carano after she had already broken through, the butterflies were out and because she has so much experience as an athlete, we were able to incorporate all of that. We really took our time to design a really intense fight sequence between Letty and Riley.

When we came out of ‘Fast Five,’ right after the premiere, my twin brother, who is a trailer editor, he said, “Oh my God, I loved that fight between you and Dwayne. I’ve got this great idea!” And we were all kind of thinking this, but he said, “Letty should fight Eva’s character…. or somebody!” And we knew that there was nowhere to go up from the Dom/Hobbs fight, and the only way to stay true to our franchise was to show that we could just as easily take two female characters and deliver the same intensity.

Look out for part 2 of this interview next week.

Vin Diesel Paul Walker Dwayne Johnson