The long-running “Fast and Furious” franchise has never lacked powerful female characters onscreen, from Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty to Gal Gadot’s Gisele, but it has struggled to be as representative behind the camera. No woman has ever directed a “Fast and Furious” movie, nor has a female screenwriter ever worked on a “Fast and Furious” script. Fortunately that’s about to change, and it’s all thanks to Michelle Rodriguez.
According to Bloomberg, Rodriguez has officially signed on to reprise her role of Leticia “Letty” Ortiz in “Fast & Furious 9.” The deal was made after Rodriguez secured an agreement to have a female screenwriter join the production. The actress made headlines in June 2017 for an Instagram post in which she threatened to leave the franchise unless producers showed “some love to the women of the franchise on the next one.”
“I felt like there was not enough of a female voice in the franchise,” Rodriguez said May 16 at the Bloomberg Future of Equality Summit in London. “You should evolve with the times, not just pander to certain demographics that are stuck [in the past].”
Rodriguez has been playing Letty since the first “Fast and Furious” movie, which was released in 2001. The character most recently appeared in the last entry, 2017’s “The Fate of the Furious.” Justin Lin, who directed some of the most acclaimed entries like “Fast Five” and “Fast & Furious 6,” is returning behind the camera for the ninth and tenth “Furious” films.
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While the female writer Rodriguez got to come on board the ninth film has not yet been revealed, the hiring marks a progressive time for the “Furious” franchise. Universal is launching its first “Furious” spinoff movie this summer with the Dwayne Johnson and Jason Stathom-starring “Hobbs & Shaw.” The studio announced at the beginning of 2019 it was also developing a female-centric “Furious” spinoff to be written by three women: Nicole Perlman, Lindsey Beer, and Geneva Robertson-Dworet. The female writing working on “Fast and Furious 9” will be the first to help script the main series.
Universal is releasing “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” in theaters nationwide August 2. The movie is directed by “Atomic Blonde” and “Deadpool 2” helmer David Leitch.