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Vin Diesel: The late Paul Walker is the reason he keeps Fast & Furious going

"That brotherhood was the biggest blessing of the franchise to me. More than the billions of dollars of success, more than the accolades,” the actor, who’s back in F9, told CNA Lifestyle.

Vin Diesel: The late Paul Walker is the reason he keeps Fast & Furious going

Vin Diesel and John Cena in Fast & Furious 9. (Photo: Universal Studios)

Let’s be honest here. You’d be hard pressed to find someone – fan or otherwise – who’d consider any of the Fast & Furious movies as high art.

And yet, no one will or can deny that the Hollywood franchise remains ridiculously lucrative and popular as ever, 20 years later.

Nathalie Emmanuel and Vin Diesel in Fast & Furious 9 (Photo: Universal Pictures)

With its latest installment F9 (also known as Fast & Furious 9) currently showing in Singapore cinemas, there’s now a whopping nine films (with a 10th in the works) as well as a spin-off (Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw) since the first film back in 2001.

And oh, like a gazillion dollars in box-office returns, as well.

05:14 Min
The star of the popular and long-running movie franchise talks about having his son in the movie, his “brotherhood” with the late actor, and doing stunts after all these years.

Fans don’t care if the plot may be soap opera-esque, the dialogue laughable and the acting over-the-top perfunctory. Or the fact that the jump-the-shark action sequences and stunts get more ludicrous, excessive and extravagant over the last two decades.

It’s possibly the very reason why everyone not only laps it up, but also keep going back to the cinema for more.  

Vin Diesel in official poster for Fast and Furious 9 (Photo: Universal Pictures)

And franchise star and executive producer Vin Diesel will keep the movies coming, at least for a couple more. If not for the fans, for the late Paul Walker, his beloved Fast & Furious co-star and “brother”.

“He is, at times, the reason to continue. That brotherhood was the biggest blessing of the franchise to me. More than the billions of dollars of success, more than the accolades,” Diesel told CNA Lifestyle.

“The best thing about playing Dom Toretto is the brotherhood. And for me, it has to be there in order for me to continue making the film. To be Dom.”

He added, wistfully: “I can't be Dom without my angel next to me.”

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in an earlier Fast & Furious film. (Photo: Universal Pictures)

The 53-year-old star has played main protagonist and elite street racer Dominic Toretto since the first film. The evolution of the series feels somewhat parallel to the evolution of Diesel, the actor, the producer, the man.

05:12 Min
The WWE superstar wrestler-actor also talks about his relationship with franchise star Vin Diesel, stepping into a Fast & Furious car for the first time and earning the respect from the Fast & Furious cast and crew.

What has he learned about himself over the course of a franchise that’s two decades old?

“I definitely approach the stunts with more caution today than I did 20 years ago,” he replied with a laugh.

“You know, I thought immortality was a real thing. I think we all do. And so, I work harder at the stunt sequences today, put more training behind it to prevent accidents from happening as much as possible. I have a great stunt team that I've amassed.”

The father of three continued: “It's a real family setting when we make these movies. Every time we film it, it's like a family reunion.”

Diesel has gone on record to say the 10th installment will be the last one. It’ll be broken up into two as Ten: Part 1 and Ten: Part 2.  But will there really be no more Fast & Furious after?

04:07 Min
Fast & Furious 9 director Justin Lin and actor Sung Kang talk about coming up with out-of-this-world stunts in the writers’ room, Asian representation in Hollywood and yes, #JusticeforHan.

“I, with Paul, committed to 10 as the final chapter. Obviously, there's so much story to conclude that the studio needs to be broken into movies,” he explained. “But when I think of the finality of 10, I'm not saying that the universe of Fast will go away. I'm saying this era of the mythology has a finale and that is Fast 10.”

He added: “In other words, it will live on via its spin-offs like Hobbs & Shaw. I know people are going to feel like it doesn’t have to end, but I think all good things should. There are reasons for a finale. I think this franchise has deserved it.”

F9 (also known as F9: The Fast Saga or Fast & Furious 9) is now showing in cinemas.

Source: CNA/gl