The Fast And The Furious movies are supposed to be all about family—well, that and supercharged vehicles. But, as last year’s infamous “candy-ass” kerfuffle revealed, sometimes the cast mixes like Pennzoil and water. Michelle Rodriguez, however, has taken exception with the portrayal of female characters in the franchise, not some offscreen rivalry. Back in June, the actress, who’s been riding with the series from the beginning, said she was prepared to walk away from her cinematic family if characters like Letty Ortiz didn’t get more to do onscreen than stand by their men.
But in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Rodriguez clarifies that her kiss-off was really more of a call to the writers and producers to add dimension to the franchise’s female characters. “We always see the guys talking, we know what they’re thinking and we know their relationships,” Rodriguez says, “but I can count with one hand in eight movies how many times the women talk to each other.” She felt she had to raise the issue, but wasn’t so much threatening to walk out over the matter as accept that with a recent shift to more dramatic roles, her “path” might not meet the Fast one at all going forward.
Rodriguez says she’s talked to Diesel, the one-man Hollywood studio, about the franchise’s flat depictions of women, and he shares her concerns. And it’s because he feels as strongly as she does about them that she’s “sure he’ll convince [her]” to ride with the Fast And Furious again. “I won’t accept anything else, and Vin won’t accept anything else. He knows, he gets it,” Rodriguez says. They both see the movies as a platform for multiculturalism, which is something Rodriguez finds sorely lacking in film in general. “You know you penetrate 80 percent of the [global] market, but you don’t want to take on the responsibility of representing those markets you are penetrating,” she tells THR. “Represent the grand majority of the cultures and involve them in your storytelling—don’t just feed us your whiteness.”