The Fate of the Furious earned massive numbers at the box office, but in the last couple of days, most of the buzz around the money-making franchise has been on its star #MichelleRodriguez. The Fast & Furious veteran took to Instagram and said that unless more love was shown to the women of the franchise, she was not going to appear in any future #TheFastAndTheFurious movies.
In response to Rodriguez's ultimatum, the director of the franchise's latest installment, #FGaryGray, gave the following statement to Business Insider:
Here's the thing, I'm the new guy and I thought with 'The Fate of the Furious,' as it relates to women, I thought there was a strong representation of women in the movie when you bring on what I thought was one of the strongest antagonists in Charlize Theron. And then you have Helen Mirren, who has a cameo that's strong.
I can't speak for Michelle, she has a very specific point of view and I can't take anything away from that, but I would like to think that with 'The Fate of the Furious' specifically, I can't speak to the other films, I thought the combination of female characters was pretty strong."
Indeed, Gray has a solid point. The Fate of the Furious had one of this generation's most prolific action stars, #CharlizeTheron, who not only served as one of the franchise's best villains, but also raised the stakes for future Fast movies with her incredible performance. Theron's character also looks to return in the future, as her character's fate in F8 was left ambiguous, perhaps for that purpose precisely. And with this being Gray's first hurrah in the franchise, we can't really blame the guy for Rodriguez's concerns.
Nonetheless, Rodriguez's views are also valid, as since the franchise's inception in 2001, many of its women have had little to none in regard to a critical role in the male-dominated series. But there's no denying that even though the franchise is predominantly male-centric, Gray's The Fate of the Furious has a strong representation of women.
Is The Fast And The Furious Too Male?
Looking back at the franchise's many films, perhaps the most male-centric storylines were in 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift. (The two movies that Rodriguez didn't appear in.) In both films, the plot revolved around a guy and his group of guys, with little importance given to the women in the film.
In 2 Fast 2 Furious precisely, the storyline was so male-centric that many fans speculated Brian and Roman were secretly lovers. Those films aside, the rest of the franchise has relied heavily on the concept of family, with much emphasis given to the diverse group of cast in the films. Especially its women.
The issue then is not a matter of equal screen time for both the men and women of the franchise, and more of an issue of concept. In other words, many of the women in The Fast and the Furious, most of the time, are scripted for the sole purpose of attracting the male audience. When it comes for a character in the films to make the big decisions or think critically, that character is a man (usually #VinDiesel) the vast majority of the time. But as we recently saw in F8, and as Gray pointed out, that's seemingly changing with Theron's character of Cipher. Yet, this should've happened a long time ago with Rodriguez's character, Letty, and it's understandable why, after so many years, she's finally had enough.
What do you think? Should the franchise switch gears? Let me know in the comments below!
(Source: Business Insider)