Vin Diesel is currently hard at work filming Fast X, the latest installment in the wildly successful Fast & Furious franchise. Even with a hectic shooting schedule, Diesel has been active on Instagram, posting updates and videos on the film to his 80 million eager followers. His latest post, however, was a shock to many, as he announced a new cast member in the film: the legendary Rita Moreno, who will play his grandmother in the film. The video announcement included Moreno and fellow Fast X cast member Michelle Rodriguez, who is returning as Letty and is extremely excited about Moreno’s addition to the cast, as you will see.
“It’s been my dream forever to work with Rita Moreno,” Diesel says in the Instagram video. “That fact that she’s here, playing my grandmother, makes my soul smile,” he said. Moreno also spoke to fans in the video, saying of her appearance in the film “I’m ticked, I’m so thrilled, it’s going to be such fun!” The 90-year-old actress just earned rave reviews for her appearance as Valentina in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake, released last year. She famously won an Academy Award in 1962 for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anita in the original West Side Story. She is one of a handful of entertainers to have an EGOT, having won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award. Previously, Vin Diesel had posted several videos from the set, featuring many of the returning and new cast members.
Moreno’s appearance in Fast X appears to have been in the works for at least a year. Last June, ahead of the premiere for F9: The Fast Saga, Vin Diesel told Variety that his dream was to have Moreno play his grandmother in a future film. At the time, Moreno told Variety that she was just waiting for Diesel’s call and hoped she would be able to wear black leather. Fast X is currently in its sixth week of production, so considering Moreno has just joined the cast, it can be assumed that her role in the film may not be too large. She will be fighting for screen time regardless, as the cast for the film is huge, with several stars in the cast for the tenth film.
Among those reprising their Fast & Furious roles, in addition to Diesel and Rodriguez, are Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Ludacris, and Michael Rooker. New cast members include Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), and Alan Ritchson (Amazon Prime Video’s Reacher). Moreno’s presence will hopefully be a calming one, as the film has experienced major upheaval in recent weeks. Director Justin Lin, who has helmed five of the Fast films, including F9, left the film in mid-production in April after reported clashes with Vin Diesel on the film’s direction. “This film is not worth my mental health,” he reportedly told the crew upon leaving the production.
Louis Leterrier, who has directed films like The Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans, and Unleashed, has stepped in to finish Fast X. He directed Transporter 2 with Jason Statham, who played Deckard Shaw Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw. This will be his first film with Vin Diesel. He was reportedly chosen because he could quickly step into the director’s chair and get filming back on track. Fast X is scheduled to open in theaters on May 19, 2023.