Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Total Film
Total Film
Fay Watson

Fast X director talks creating one of this year's best villains – and what they held back with Dante

Fast X

Fast X features one of the most talked-about performances of the year so far in Jason Mamoa’s lilac-loving Dante. The terrifying villain shook up everything in Dom Toretto’s world in the latest in the Fast & Furious franchise, and as director Louis Leterrier tells GamesRadar+, they knew they were onto something special early on. 

"Everybody was on board with this idea and this performance," the director tells us over Zoom, ahead of returning to film Fast 11. However, he does admit that they did tone down the sheer lengths Dante goes to a bit in the final cut.

"Because we’re consummate professionals, we had dialed it so I would have been able to take it down in the cutting room if need be," he continues. "But frankly, as we started testing, and we saw the reactions of the crowds, we just decided to go almost fully in the direction that we had done. Really we went from, from one to 11, we passed the 10 in some of the scenes and we dialed it back sometimes."

Speaking about the gusto of Momoa’s performance, Leterrier added some insight about what he thinks it brought to the franchise. "He created this breath of eccentricity and excitement that I thought Fast & Furious was in need of. Just to have an exterior character bringing the craziness was actually needed. As much as I like them going to space and everything, I didn't want Fast to become too much of a comedy. But then you can bring a flamboyant, comedic character in it and still make him threatening and you can keep the earnestness of what makes Fast & Furious fantastic."

This quickly came across when they were testing the film with audiences, the director adds, admitting it bucked the trend he was used to seeing with antagonists. "Sometimes in these movies when you cut away to the villain, they’re so sour, so bored, and so angry, that you're like 'Yeah, it's my time to go to the bathroom,'" he laughs. "But really, whenever you cut away from the Dom Toretto story and you went to Dante, I could see the audience perk up, and go, 'What now?'"

One moment in particular that this happens is the scene where Dante is painting the nails of corpses of Cipher’s men while chatting away about his plan. It’s undoubtedly one of the most shocking scenes in Fast X and really does a lot of heavy lifting in showing just how unhinged Dante is a villain. 

(Image credit: Universal)

Leterrier has spoken in the past about how he felt sure this one wouldn’t make the final cut when they first filmed it, which he elaborated on to GR+. "We never thought that that scene would end up in the movie, we thought it was a DVD extra," he smiles. "But we were ahead of schedule and we were like 'Oh, why not get one more scene with Dante where we see how twisted he is?'"

They wrote the scene the night before shooting and got it all filmed in just a few hours. In the upcoming release of the DVD and Blu-ray, you can see how it was filmed in one of the bloopers, including how real extras were used as the corpses.

"As we started testing the movie, that scene was really testing well, people loved it," Leterrier continues about the scene. "He added the thread to the character that was needed. Like this guy, he not only talks to talk but he walks the walk. He's actually very, very scary. So we put it in and it's sometimes divisive, but I think it's the right thing for his character, and it leads us to where we are at the end of this movie in a dark place for the family."

For the director, it’s a real marker of what’s come before with this franchise that’s seen its fair share of wild moments. You certainly don’t know what’s coming next for the Fast family, and that’s a big part of its appeal.

"No one would have guessed 25 years ago that there would be 10, 11 If you count Hobbs & Shaw, Fast & Furious movies," he adds. "So they decided to make each movie as great as possible and it’s the same thing for us. Each movie has to be the best possible."

Fast X is available to Download & Keep now and on 4K, Blu-ray & DVD on September 4. 

For more upcoming movies, here's our guide to 2023 movie release dates.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.