After featuring in franchise debut ”The Fast and the Furious” (2001), American actress Jordana Brewster has also reprised her character, Mia, in ”Fast & Furious ” (2009), the fourth instalment in the series, as well its sequels, ”Fast Five” (2011) and ”Fast and Furious 6” (2013). Her other film credits include the 2004 action comedy film ”D.E.B.S”., the 2005 independent drama Nearing Grace and the 2006 horror film ”The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning”, for which she received two Teen Choice Award nominations. She had a recurring role in the NBC series” Chuck” (2008-2009) and currently stars as Elena Ramos in the television series ”Dallas” (2012-2014).
Moviehole talks to Jordana Brewster about the newly-released “Fast and Furious 6” DVD.
How has your character, Mia, evolved into Fast 6?
In the first one she did not have that much to do. She did service the entry into the gang for Paul Walker’s character but she was more of a girlfriend, more of a sister and did not want them to be involved in that lifestyle. Fast 4 (2009) was a similar vibe and then Fast 5 (2011) was the really fun turning point where she went on the road with the boys, had fun, got dirty, got part of the action and then in Fast 6 (2013) she is a mum so she has to sacrifice a little bit of that. She cannot be quite as daredevil as she was in Fast 5 (2011) but she really stepped up and became part of the group and realized that ‘I am here for my family and this what it is going to take and I have got to join. If you can’t beat them, join them.’
That ‘stepping’ up from Mia — was that something you asked for in the script or did it evolve naturally?
I asked Justin Lin [director]. I said, ‘I would really love to be part of the action. I always watch it and I never get to be part of it and I think it would be fun and I think it makes sense in terms of the evolution of the character.’ So what he said was that there was going to be a lot fun stuff and he was going to be doing a lot of handheld in Puerto Rico, which was doubling for the favelas in Brazil. Then one day I got to work and I saw two harnesses in my trailer and I said, ‘Golly, what are they for?’ And they were like, ‘Well, we are going to be doing a big stunt today with Paul Walker and you.’ I did not know about any stunt! No one told me. So Justin Lin is very spontaneous and he was like, ‘I want you to go for it.’
I guess Mia also remains the backbone of the group…
Yes, she is still the backbone and also I think Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) both needed her blessing to go out there and find Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). At this point they have made all the money they need; they are comfortable and safe and yet if anything is going to compel them to go back on the road and risk everything once again, it is going to be one of their own. So once they find out that Letty is alive — that is enough reason to get back out there. A lot of women have said to me, ‘If I were at home with a baby, I would never let my husband go out there,’ so she is really just a very strong character and knows that they are better off together rather than alone.
Why do you think that the Fast and Furious franchise is so successful?
One, is the foundation that Rob Cohen established in the first film. Back in the day, Rob Cohen would talk about character and about how Mia is very earthy. He was really distinguishing each character from the rest and wanted to make this very unconventional family that had a core, a moral code at the centre, and I think that has been the through-line throughout the movies and that resonated with the audience.
The move really worked…
It did because I think the fans can sift it out and they realize, ‘Oh, they are trying to sell us the same old stuff!’ But Justin Lin turned it on its head in Fast 5 (2011). He made it much larger in scope because of the location and the additions like ‘The Rock’ and Elsa Pataky. But it also went away from being a car movie and a drag racing movie and it went to being a heist movie, which no one saw coming and it still worked! So just watching the different characters in completely different situations, which still involved cars, it was kind of magical. Justin Lin managed to perpetuate the lightening in the bottle that Rob found and it has worked really well.
The group’s ethnic diversity is also important with a worldwide franchise, right?
Yes. Everyone feels represented and I also really like the way in which Justin Lin plays with genres. In this one there is specifically a lot of British humour and a lot of British actresses add all that humour to the film. That is really important — to be able to take a breath amongst all that crazy action.
Do people compliment you on the strength of the female characters in the series?
They do. It is kind of a rarity. In a lot of movies the women are the eye candy. They are strong but it almost does not seem like a natural part of their character — it is very contrived, ‘Oh, we have to make her strong so that it appeals to women.’ But in this movie, Gal Cadot knows how to handle a gun. She was actually in the army for two years. Gina Carano was wrestling for years and she is really strong – no one is going to mess with her. Then Michelle Rodriguez started in Girlfight (2000) so no one ever questions that these girls can fight.
What are your main memories of the Fast 6 shoot?
The shoot was so large in scope. I thought after Fast 5 (2011) that Justin Lin could not outdo himself but he did and the set pieces were massive and when I went back to the runway and I saw that giant skeleton of the aeroplane that was just going to burst into flames, I could not believe that we had got to this level. It was just so huge. In the fifth one we had a train that was constantly shaking and in this one we had the inside of a cargo plane. It just seems to get bigger and bigger and bigger.
What was filming the airplane sequence like?
here was a lot of green scene for that. There were so many elements and there were six different characters working different angles of that plane. It made sense when it all came together and I saw the movie, though.
Did you ever sense that Justin was feeling the pressure to out do himself with Fast 6?
I never ever did. I like directors who are leaders. I do not want a director who tells me how insecure he is or how freaked out he is about a project. Some do. But you really want a director to be cool under pressure and to be so calm that you will do whatever he says. It is a great collaboration with Justin Lin and that is the way I like to work, especially with something this big. Whenever I question something, Justin Lin is just like, ‘Trust me,’ and I have every reason to. Justin Lin never cracks under pressure and with so many different personalities, and with so many people to deal with, and so much money on the line, I do not know how he does it. I am in awe of good directors. I would never want to be one. Never.
Mia is not one of the ace drivers in the series, but have you developed any passion for cars while making these films?
In these films I often do not know what models they are. I ask Paul Walker, ‘What’s that?’ But all I hear is ‘Blah, blah, blah!’ And I can only drive automatic. I love the Range Rover that I drive. I love that car. I do not know how I feel about the new Range Rover model, though. They have softened the lines of it and I am not fond of that. I am very in to how a car looks and how it feels but as far as engines and things go, I have no clue.
You are currently starring in a big TV show. TV seems a good environment for female leads at the moment…
I think it is a better environment for both male and female leads because for women you have roles like Nurse Jackie (2009-2013) and The Big C (2010-2013) and The Good Wife (2009-2013). You have enough time and you just have a stage where you can explore all different facets of a woman’s life. You often do not get those in movies. It is often the male who is the lead. But for men as well —Kevin Spacey in House of Cards (2013). He is so good in that. Even House of Lies (2012) with Don Cheadle. I just think that TV is a really fun place to work. I really like it.
When you chose to do Dallas (2012-2014) were you looking for another show?
I was really looking for the right TV show because I crave security and some sort of routine, so I really like television for that reason as well. I wish Dallas shot in LA, though! That would be really nice! But it is nice to know that I am going to be there for five months. I am working with the same people that I like. That is something I really like about television. It is also faster. I think it is pretty brutal if you are one of two main characters — then you are working every day and are in every scene — but when you are in an ensemble show it is pretty easy.
When did you decide that you wanted to be an actress?
As a kid when I was living in Brazil I decided I really wanted to be an actor but then when I moved to New York the opportunity just presented itself because some friends of mine were going to classes, which then enabled them to get agents. So I very selfishly just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it while my parents were still supporting me. I did not want to wait until after I had graduated from college and fend for myself and do waitressing. I was a very sensible 15-year-old, I really was. So I went to test the waters and I was very lucky. When I was in school no one knew what they wanted to do and I was like, ‘Thank God, I know what I want to do.’ It was very comforting to me.
What was it in Brazil that prompted your love of acting?
I think watching all the telenovelas, all those high dramas, because celebrities in Brazil are the telenovela stars. I just loved watching them. A Brazilian soap is on at prime time and it goes for four or five months. That was the starting point for me.
WIN “Fast & Furious 6” on DVD!
Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled drivers, whose mastermind (Luke Evans) is aided by the love Dom (Vin Diesel) thought was dead, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). The only way to stop the criminal mercenaries from stealing a top secret weapon is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks for the help of Dom and his elite team. Payment for the ultimate chase? Full pardons for all of them and a chance to make their families whole again.
How to Win : Email us your name, address and the answer to this question “Wish city does Jordana Brewster wish ‘Dallas’ was shot in?”.
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