She’s appeared in five of the eight ridiculously successful Fast & Furious films, but Michelle Rodriguez is feeling lonely at the top thanks to a dearth of women up there with her.
And the actor says enough is enough – that she “might have to say goodbye” to the franchise if those in charge don’t start signing on more female cast members.
Starting with the 2001 original, The Fast and the Furious, Rodriguez’s Letty also appears in 2009’s Fast & Furious, 2013’s Fast & Furious, 2015’s Furious 7 and this year’s The Fate of the Furious – also known as Fast & Furious 8 or F8.
Writing on Instagram, she said: “F8 is out digitally today, 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.
“It’s been a good ride & I’m grateful for the opportunity the fans & studio have provided over the years... One Love”
It’s thought she’s referencing the ratio of men to women in the series, but it might be that she also wants meatier roles for female actors.
When she signed on for the first film, from Universal Pictures, her character was a different proposition to the ass-kicking racer fans know now.
Revealing that Letty’s storyline on The Fast and the Furious was initially nothing more than a tired old love triangle, Rodriguez, 38, has previously said that having not properly read through the script before shooting started, she was actually on set when she realised how two-dimensional her character was – and fought there and then for change.
In 2015 she said she’d cried on set and co-star Vin Diesel had supported her: “Vin was the first one to pull me to the side while I was crying, and he just looked at me and said, ‘I got your back. Chill out and let me handle this, and you’re right – it makes me look bad anyway.’ And there you go. That was the beginning of the Letty fairy tale.”
She previously told vulture.com: “[The audience] definitely wouldn’t have related to what was on paper for the first one […] It’s not until now, post-Angelina Jolie doing her thing as a woman who can actually bring box office, that you can make money with a woman who’s respectable and kicking ass in a movie. It changes the game for writers. Before there was no incentive for them to take the girl out of being captured or being the girlfriend.
“That tone was something that was set in the first one by me fighting [director] Rob Cohen, to punch somebody and knock him out.”
The franchise originally focused on Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker, but the cast now includes Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Jason Statham, Ludacris and Kurt Russell. Long-time cast member Jordana Brewster doesn’t appear in films six and seven following Walker’s death in 2013, but says she hasn't ruled out a return to the franchise. The last instalment saw Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren in supporting roles.
Two more films are slated for 2019 and 2021.
In 2015, Rodriguez said she was keen to see change in the industry as a whole: “I'd love to see four girls who actually get along in a movie that's not about chasing some guy or marrying somebody. Like, where the f*** is our Pulp Fiction? Where is our Reservoir Dogs? Where's that cool s*** with the chicks kicking ass, having some fun?”
Main image: Rex Features