'Fast 8' cast adds Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, and possibly some class to the franchise

‘Fast 8’ Cast: How Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron Might Win Critics Back

The Fast 8 cast has expanded once more, and this time it’s someone which series fanatics know has been rumored before. The co-star of Bruce Willis’ RED is set to possibly add some class to the storyline, which until this point has been riding mostly on horsepower, big name action stars, and female assets.

Furious 7 was admittedly a borderline superhero movie. It cast Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vin Diesel, and UFC champion Ronda Rousey together in a brawl where even being in a car crash somehow leaves people without a scratch. What saved it against critics was the unfortunate loss of Paul Walker, whose character, Brian O’Conner, had been central to all but one film in the franchise. Now, it seems the mourning period is over, and armchair critics are back to slamming Fast 8 and its cast before it’s even finished filming.

Helen Mirren, an older actress who didn’t seem to be an action star until she played a retired and still-deadly sniper in RED and its sequel, said a while back that she wanted to be in Fast & Furious 8. The catch was that she wanted to be a driver and show off her skills. Vin Diesel soon responded by saying a lot of people want to be among the Fast 8 cast, but they’ll have to “get in line behind Helen Mirren.”

Now it’s been confirmed, and alongside Charlize Theron, Helen helps even out the gender diversity in the next film, a trend which Hollywood has been pushing for lately. With the reboots of Ghostbusters and Roadhouse, and the addition of more female characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it appears women are being given more options. Perhaps the next Fast & Furious will be directed by a woman?

What Helen Mirren’s role will be remains a mystery. Everything from Charlize Theron’s mother to an operative alongside Kurt Russell’s Mr. Nobody is possible, though she’s hinted at wanting to be a villain. She might even be related to returning cast member Lucas Black’s Sean Boswell, the Southern anti-hero from Tokyo Drift.

Helen will share the stage with Charlize Theron, who is also no stranger to action, having been in The Italian Job, Hancock, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Prometheus. Theron is set to be a “sympathetic” villain, the kind you find yourself relating to as the story progresses, offsetting Vin Diesel’s often one-tone acting.

Other returning members of the Fast 8 cast will include Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster, and Michelle Rodriguez. One rumored return from 2 Fast 2 Furious is Eva Mendes, who may clash with Jordana Brewster’s Mia due to having been Brian O’Conner’s love interest at one point.

The decision to have F. Gary Gray of Straight Outta Compton direct the film could also influence the series in a positive direction. The Fast & Furious franchise has always been about diversity, and now it’s adding Oscar-caliber actors to the mix under a director who has won seven awards for his efforts with Compton, Be Cool, and The Italian Job.

The diverse cast of Fast 8 may have just added some class to the roster with its latest additions, proving that Vin Diesel might not be content with simply milking the franchise. It looks like Fast & Furious 8 could be an Academy Award contender now, but the critics have yet to be convinced.


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[Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images]

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