Published in The Music (WA, NSW, VIC, QLD) and on theMusic.com.au, Mar 2015
With Paul Walker’s tragic passing before production of Fast & Furious 7 had finished, rapper-turned-actorChris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges tells Daniel Cribb the franchise’s biggest film was also the hardest to complete.
The seventh Fast & Furious film sits in an odd place in the franchise’s timeline; it directly follows on from the events of 2005’s Tokyo Drift, in which character Han Seoul-Oh was killed, yet there are two films between them. It’s a series of events that even has star Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges a little confused.
“Tokyo Drift is right before the one you’re about to see. See what I’m saying?” Ludacris, who plays tech head Tej Parker in the series, begins. “So they did it out of succession; Tokyo Drift really would have been six. I don’t wanna confuse you. I’m basically saying the timeline in which that movie was, it wouldn’t have been the third in the timeline after [2 Fast 2 Furious], it would have been Fast & Furious 5… 6… shit.”
Family plays a big role in the theme of the film, which couldn’t reflect the atmosphere behind the scenes any better. When actor Paul Walker was tragically killed in a car crash before the film was finished, it took its toll on everyone. “He was finished with about 80 per cent of the film before he passed away, but his brothers came in and filled in the blanks with some of the things that he wasn’t able to do, and it was definitely very emotional for the whole cast.
“We actually had to stop production for a couple of months, but we came back together in his honour; we knew that we had to stick it out and make sure that we carried on his legacy in the right way and that’s why we all came together to do that… What got us through was knowing that he would have wanted for us to finish this film.”
While Ludacris’ onscreen character often avoids the action, the seventh film sees a change of pace. “I’m always the guy that keeps the crew together and the brains behind the tech, but I am also surprisingly able to whoop a little ass in this film. I’ve never really had any fight scenes; I am usually the guy behind the scenes. I had to fight for my fight scene, so it was great to know not only that I did, but it also made it into the movie.”
With a grenade blowing Dwayne Johnson out of a building and Vin Diesel jumping from one skyscraper to another in a Lamborghini, Fast & Furious 7 definitely one-ups its predecessors. “When I went through the script and saw that car jumping, I was like, ‘This dude’s out of control; that is ludicrous.’
“That’s exactly why it just keeps exciting people and surprising individuals, because you never know what to expect next. I’ve been asking since two films ago how the hell we are going to outdo what we just did… Only time will tell where it goes from here, but we have lost a very integral piece of this franchise.”