Michelle Rodriguez has been portraying the role of Letty Ortiz in the Fast and Furious franchise for over 16 years, but in recent months, she’s been very vocal about her disappointment in the franchise. When the Fate of Furious was released on digital platforms back in June, Rodriguez published an Instagram post threatening to leave the franchise over the lack of quality female representation in the films.
After Rodriguez’s post caught the attention of fans, the star of the franchise, Vin Diesel, responded to her post and agreed with her sentiment. The director of #FateOfTheFurious, F Gary Gray, also commented on Rodriguez's criticism of the franchise; however, he defended his installment of the franchise, stating that he thought the combination of female characters was strong.
Despite varying opinions on female representation in the franchise among fans and the director of the latest film, #MichelleRodriguez has stuck to her guns and stands by her original Instagram post. Recently, Rodriguez reaffirmed her criticism of franchise and made it clear that her threat to leave the franchise was genuine.
Michelle Rodriguez Reaffirms That She Will Leave The Fast And Furious Franchise If Women Aren't Better Represented
TMZ recently caught up with Rodriguez and asked her if she was serious about her threat to leave the franchise, and her response made it clear that she still not happy with how women are being treated in the Fast and Furious films:
“My path is about female empowerment, and if I’m feeling a little stagnant in that area in what I’m doing for a living, then I’m gonna have to move on. Evolve or die, baby. I hope they show some love to the women in the franchise. I’d like to see that. I’d like to see them talk to each other for a change, you know what I mean? I can count with one hand the times I’ve talked to the female actresses in the franchise, and I think that’s kinda sad.”
Rodriguez’s statement to TMZ explored more of exactly how the franchise is mishandling the female characters in the films and it’s shockingly accurate. Sure, Nathalie Emmanuel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, and Gal Gadot’s characters show some agency, but they are usually attached at the hip of one of the male characters and hardly interact with each other.
To that point, Jordana Brewster’s character, Mia Toretto, was almost completely secluded and only served to be kidnapped or threatened in order to propel Paul Walker or Vin Diesel’s storyline. Although Gal Gadot’s character went out on a heroic note, for most of her portrayal, she served as Han’s love interest. Nathalie Emmanuel’s character is on par with Rodriguez’s character, seeing as she fills an important role on the team, but like the other female characters, she is often relegated to being a “sex symbol” and is fawned over by Tryese Gibson's and Ludacris’s characters.
While #FGaryGray is correct in his assessment that he added Charlize Theron as the villain and Dame Hellen Mirren in a supporting role in Fate of the Furious, Rodriguez’s criticisms still ring true. It could be that the women’s roles on the team have been cemented over the years and that writing for a large cast can be lacking at times, the fact remains that the men interact with each other more and they usually play a bigger role in the plots of each film.
Hopefully, Michelle Rodriguez’s comments won’t fall on deaf ears, but if they do, it seems very likely that Rodriguez will stick to her guns and follow through on her promise to leave the franchise. If it comes to that, maybe it will be the wake-up call the billion-dollar franchise needs to change how they represent women in their films and usher the new chapters of #FastandFurious franchise into a more inclusive future.
Sound off! Do you think women are being under represented in The Fast and Furious franchise? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below.