If you saw Fast Five this summer, you’ll know quite well that the franchise is in no hurry to slow down. In high octane fashion, the movies continue to amp up the action, the story and its characters, giving everyone more to do (and usually tying it in to some crazy, explosive action).
Jordana Brewster’s Mia is a keystone to the group dynamic. She’s ta female lead who looks out for her family while jumping in on the action when necessary. Mia’s no damsel in distress—and Brewster’s hands-on approach turns her into one of Hollywood’s few action starlets. A much needed role in today’s cinematic scene.
I talked to Brewster in anticipation of the Fast Five Blu-ray release (the disc hits October 4) and got a ton of info on what goes into making a Fast movie, where Mia’s character may go from here, info on her upcoming role in the new Dallas TV show and a little bit on her parking skills:
Matt Patches: I don’t know if anyone thought in the beginning, that the Fast franchise would make for such a wonderful playground. Why do you think it’s such a rich place to go back to?
Jordana Brewster: Well, I think there’s the action, and the cars, and the set pieces…the potential for different set pieces, because we can go around the world. Now, having Brazil, having Rio was like having another character in the movie. So that added a completely different element. But I think one of the most important things was having a sense of character, and a sense of family, and a sense of code that they have amongst each other. And there are also so many rich characters to draw from, given that there are four different The Fast and the Furious movies. Adding Tyrese and Ludacris to this one—from the second, 2 Fast 2 Furious—and then having The Rock in addition. There are all different kinds of combinations that luckily work.
So at this point, are you guys hanging out all the time? Is making a Fast movie one big party?
It’s amazing. Every time we do work together, or every time we’re promoting the movie, or are on set, it’s just so easy now. There was weird transition period between the first movie and the fourth one for me, because I hadn’t seen anyone in so long. But between the fourth one and the fifth one, it was just lovely, because it was like hanging out with friends and just having fun.
Always a good feeling. Working on a movie with so many wild stunts, how much of your time on set is spent figuring out how to avoid death? I imagine there’s a lot of, like, ‘Now, don’t do this and this…because you’ll die.’
[Laughs] Yeah. Yeah. Paul [Walker] is really adept at doing stunts. So, he’s a good guy to have on your side. And he was holding my hand when we did the massive jump.
But yeah, you have that little voice in the back of your head saying, ‘What if I take one extra step? What if I slip? I’m screwed!’ But, you know, it’s really just about doing it once. Then after doing that one jump, or that one giant stunt, you then wanna do it over and over and over.
What’s your training regimen like for this? How do you prepare to leap off a cliff?
For me, jumping off a cliff, running across the villas, or pretending to shoot guns…all of that’s easier than driving a car. Driving a car, when you have to hit a mark in a very specific place, or when there’s an entire crew of people who you don’t want to hit, or very expensive camera equipment that you don’t want to hit, that’s a lot more pressure for me than just jumping off a cliff. That’s fun—it’s the driving that’s more stressful!
At this point, are you capable of driving cars the way you do in the movies?
Um…I can’t drive stick. I took a lesson in L.A., and I told Justin [Lin, director of Fast Five], ‘Listen, I’m totally gonna learn this time.’ And he’s like, ‘Great!’ And I went to the Westwood driving school, and we didn’t make it outside of the parking garage. He’s like, ‘No, we really need to drive.’ And I was like, “’No, we’re really not going to. We’re just gonna drive up and down this for two hours. And it’s gonna be awesome.’
More importantly: Can you parallel park?
I can, but I don’t need to that much. But my rims would say otherwise.
Can you talk a little about working with Justin? He’s done two movies with you, three Fast installments in a row. How does he approach shooting the action and bringing the characters to life? And maybe how his approach is different than some of the other people you’ve worked with?
With me, it is three, because I also worked with him on Annapolis. And it was funny, because we were on post for Annapolis when we were offered The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. I was so excited for him, because he was going to take over a franchise that I had been a part of. He’s such a wonderful person to work with. He is one of the people who consistently retains his calm. And when you’re working on such a massive movie, that’s saying a lot.
He knows exactly what he wants in terms of the action scenes. He had created pre-vis to show the actors, which is almost like a mock-up of what you’re going to do or what it’s going to look like—so that was always a treat for us. Not only did it show us in terms of direction what we needed to do, with the cars and whatnot, it also was just such a cool sneak-peek at what we were working on.
And he was also just very collaborative on the characters and growing the characters and building strong women. That was also very important to him, that Gisele's [played by Gal Gadot] character and Mia’s character…that we’re not just accessories there for the guys. We’re actually part of the action and very important to the story. Especially now with Mia evolving. She has so much to protect and she’s on the run with the guys. And that was very important to both of us.
H worked with Paul and Vin Diesel on a couple of movies is there anything specific that you think that you’ve learned from them? Or fond memories from shooting?
One of the most fun things is promoting the movies, and traveling with friends. That’s wonderful. With Vin, he was always more of a big brother type with me. He gives me career advice. I love watching him, because he’s done such an amazing job with his career. He’s also a great actor, and he’s very focused, but he’s also very playful onset, which is fun. And Paul is also a wonderful guy, because he’s just fun.
It’s good vibes on the set.
It really is!
Is their movement on a sixth Fast movie? Obviously the end of Fast Five leaves it open for more and there have already been rumblings about reuniting the gang…
Yeah, I’ve heard rumors. I’m on the internet like everybody else. That’s where I get my info from! But I haven’t heard anything officially.
Hopefully Justin keeps you in the action, even with Mia having a baby on the way.
No. If anything, I think it would raise the stakes for her, because now she really has a family to protect. So she’d be even more, sort of ferocious and out there.
Exactly. And jump even further.
I know that you’re going to co-star in the new version of Dallas. Is that next summer?
It is. I keep saying the new version as well, but it’s not really the new version. It’s a continuation.
It’s picking back up a few years later. How is this going to stand apart from the original? Dallas, I feel, spawned a lot of copycats in its wake. A lot of shows like it sprang up. How do you think this new version isg oing tocompare to everything else that’s on TV?
I think the—I don’t wanna say the soap format…but the nighttime soap drama…now that Desperate Housewives is off the air too, or soon to be off the air, I think that’s kind of missing. So hopefully, it’ll fill that a little bit. And there’s so much to draw from in terms of family drama, money versus happiness, which was always Bobby versus J.R.. All of these themes are coming back and manifesting themselves in the next generation.
Who do you play on the show?
I play the cook’s daughter. I grew up with the boys. I grew up with Christopher, who is Bobby’s son. And John Ross, Jr., who is J.R.’s son. I’m also in a love triangle with them.
So you have a lot on your plate.
Yeah. I do have a lot on my plate. She’s a really fun character to play. And I’ve been watching the original—now I’m on the third season. It’s just so good!
Oh, you’re studying!
Yes I am! It’s like the best homework ever.