On Tuesday night actress Michelle Rodriguez posted a photo to Instagram to promote the digital release of “The Fate of the Furious,” the latest movie in the profitable “Fast and the Furious” franchise, which she’s starred in five of the eight movies.
By Wednesday morning it grabbed headlines due to a line of text she put in the post:
“I hope they decide to show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one. Or I just might have to say goodbye to a loved franchise,” Rodriguez wrote.
Business Insider spoke to “Fate of the Furious” director F. Gary Gray on Wednesday, who was promoting the Blu-ray/DVD release of the movie (out July 11), and he responded to Rodriguez’s comment.
“Here’s the thing, I’m the new guy and I thought with ‘The Fate of the Furious,’ as it relates to women, I thought there was a strong representation of women in the movie when you bring on what I thought was one of the strongest antagonists in Charlize Theron. And then you have Helen Mirren, who has a cameo that’s strong,” Gray told Business Insider. “I can’t speak for Michelle, she has a very specific point of view and I can’t take anything away from that, but I would like to think that with ‘The Fate of the Furious’ specifically, I can’t speak to the other films, I thought the combination of female characters was pretty strong.”
Though there have been numerous female characters in the franchise — from Jordana Brewster to Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot — the “Fast and the Furious” movies have always been focused on the male characters, which consist of Vin Diesel, the late Paul Walker, Dwayne “The Rock Johnson, and Jason Statham. Perhaps Gray’s movie, the first time he’s directed for the “Fast and Furious” franchise, is the start of stronger female roles in the franchise (outside of Rodriguez’s Letty character).
The pressure is on whoever takes on the next movie, which could be Gray, though he’s keeping things close to the vest.
“I’m very proud of the movie, I love all those guys,” Gray said. “As a matter of fact, I just got off the phone with Vin 10 minutes ago. The door’s open. Who knows what the future brings.”