Jordana Brewster on Fast & Furious Franchise Post-Paul Walker

15. september 2015 at 23:16 | Gabriella |  Interviews 2015

Jordana Brewster was in college when she was cast as Mia Toretto in The Fast and The Furious, 2001's drag racing crime thriller that unexpectedly spawned a massive global franchise. The films basically made Brewster's acting career, culminating in the recent Furious 7, out this week on Blu-Ray, Digital HD and DVD. The film, which broke $1 billion at the global box office, is bittersweet because it marked the final work of Paul Walker, who passed away two years ago. Furious 7 pays homage to Walker, wrapping up his character's storyline alongside that of Brewster, who plays his onscreen wife. That means the actress isn't certain of her inclusion in future sequels, so she's keeping busy with two TV projects: FX's O.J. Simpson trial drama series, American Crime Story, and the second season of Secrets and Lies, both of which will premiere in 2016. We spoke with Brewster about Furious 7, Walker's legacy, and her fear of working with John Travolta on American Crime Story.


Yahoo Style: Can you believe how big Furious 7 became?
Jordana Brewster: When I heard the number, that it hit $1 billion, that was insane to me. It's so great that our fans are so loyal, especially when it's Furious 7. I think when we came back with the fourth film I was really excited because Justin Lin was directing and it was the first time we all got back together. I didn't know how the fans were going to react to that and it was pretty big. I get surprised at every one. With every film, I hope we can out-do the last one and somehow we manage to.

What made you want to be part of the first movie?
I was in school still! I flew out to LA and I didn't have my license yet. They didn't know that when they cast me and my agents were like, "Okay, now you're going to have to quickly get your license." I thought Michelle Rodriguez was really cool - she was coming off of Girlfight. I thought Vin [Diesel] was really cool. I liked the script. I just the liked the vibe of everyone coming together. I thought we had something special on our hands, but I had no idea 15 years later we'd still be working on them. That's incredible.


How much of your career has been defined by these movies?
I owe my career to this franchise. When I was in school I was able to stay in school because I rode on its coattails. I was like, "Well, Fast and Furious is really successful so it's not like I'm going to be forgotten if I stay [in school] another three years." So I was able to do that. When it came back with the fourth one it reinvigorated my career because a lot of people thought I was an idiot for going to school period. I really, really owe my career to it. It's been such an amazing gift.

Will you appear in future sequels?
I don't know yet. I have no idea. I have no idea what the future is.

Do you feel like Furious 7 wrapped up Mia's storyline well?
Yeah, in a sense I do. I'm totally good with that if that is the end. That's a beautiful way to exit. But I really have no idea because Mia is also the sister to Vin's character. So I get it either way.


What is your relationship like with the other actors at this point?
I do feel like I really am Vin's sister; I feel very close to him and very safe around him. And I also adore his real-life sister, who works on the movies and is awesome. I feel close with everyone on the film. Tyrese is really funny-he's like the annoying older brother. It's a very close-knit wonderful group to be part of. It's almost like being on a TV show. You don't have to readjust and get used to different personalities. Everyone just knows each other. There's such a great comfort level. I think you can see that onscreen often as well.


The Blu-Ray includes a tribute to Paul Walker. Do you have a hope for what his legacy will be beyond this movie?
Any hope that I would have has been surpassed. He had such an impact on people because of what a wonderful, genuine, good person he was. That's so reflected in how much people miss him. Any time anyone talks about him with me, even if they didn't know him, his death had such an impact on them. I think people got what an amazing person he was, even if they didn't meet him, which is really really cool.


Are you still shooting American Crime Story?
Yes, I'm shooting American Crime Story, playing Denise Brown. And I'm also shooting season two of Secrets and Lies with Juliette Lewis. It's fun because every season the cast changes. Both shoot in town, which is amazing.

Have you met the real Denise Brown?
No, I haven't. I read up on her and I read the book that was blessed by the Brown family. The series is based on the Jeffrey Toobin book [The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson], but I really wanted something from the Brown's perspective. From what I've read on her she really wants nothing to do with O.J. Simpson, which I can respect. I don't know that she would appreciate me approaching her. I wanted to respect that. She lost her sister. I didn't want to approach her if it wasn't welcome, so luckily there's a lot of her on the Internet. It's been a very fun character to play. She has so much passion and her point of view is so clear that it didn't feel like I needed to meet her.

Do you remember watching the O.J. trial unfold in real life?
Oh yeah! I was in high school in New York and we stopped classes. They wheeled out a television and we were all assembled holding our breath. No one could believe it.

It's an insane cast. Who were you most excited to work with?
Well, excited but also super intimidated. Recently I shot some courtroom scenes and John Travolta was there. It was like, "Really? I have to act in front of John Travolta?" I was so nervous. Who wants to screw up in front of him? And in front of Cuba Gooding Jr. and in front of Sarah Paulson. And then Sarah Paulson was so cool and supportive. She gave me a compliment and that was huge. It made me nervous, actually. I was like "I hope no one is there that day" and of course they all were. I grew up watching Grease and Look Who's Talking and [Travolta] is larger than life! But ultimately it's really fun.

Did you ever talk to him outside of shooting?
No because I'm too much of a geek and I was too nervous!

Does that happen often as an actor where you get intimated by a costar?
I guess it depends on your personality type. But yeah, I think so. It takes a while for me to get used to people. Vin, to me, is Vin. He's not a larger than life actor - I'm not intimidated by him because I've known him for 15 years. But then when I saw Kurt Russell for the first time I was like "Oh my God, that's Kurt Russell." Or the same thing with Dwayne [Johnson]. Now he's Dwayne, but at first I was so star-struck. It happens all the time with me.

Aren't most people star-struck by Dwayne Johnson though?
Yes. He's definitely larger than life, but he's also the nicest guy in the world.


What is your goal as an actress going forward?
Now my son is two and I want to be on the road less. This year's been amazing in that I've been able to work on rich characters and at the same time take my son to school. Today was his first day of school and I can still go to work and balance the two, which is my goal. I want to be really productive with both. It's very hard to do, but that's what I would like to do: thrive in both arenas.
 

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