Furious 7 premieres next week. There's been a lot of press recently (well, there's always been a lot of press, for a long time now--this movie was originally slated for last summer), and a lot of Fast-related talk from the cast members. And I have to say.
Obviously, I love JA and JP et al. I respect them a lot, both as people and as actors. But we don't really have a relationship--and I don't mean "I don't know them personally," though that's clearly also true. I just don't have anything I'd like to say to them, except "Thank you." (Though I had a dream recently where JA's family and mine met up in Disneyland and he asked me where Lily was--because apparently in the dream Lily and his/Danneel's dog were dog park buddies?? In any case, I woke up upset, and I was just luck OMG FUCK YOU JENSEN ACKLESSSS. XP)
Anyway. While I wouldn't say no to meeting J2, that opportunity--con-going, for instance--doesn't do for me what it definitely does for others. My relationship is with Sam and Dean, and the primacy of them, the reality of their fiction to me, forces anything else into the background.
But my cast? For me, that's Fast.
SPN is fiction and fandom and fic and all of that, the fully realized world of that. Fast is something entirely different. Script-wise (and acting-wise), Fast doesn't really have that fully realized fictional self, and it really doesn't try for that: No one can ever remember what the plots of these movies ostensibly are, and it really doesn't matter a whole lot. The cast is essentially playing themselves, plus a lot more felonies.
So while part of Fast is the finished product, the film, and most of Fast is the culture and the familial spirit that surrounds it. The script doesn't matter, and the scripted characters don't matter, because the real heart of what is so beautiful about it is the character of the actors themselves (every bit as zany as any scriptwriter's wildest dream), and the spirit of the story--that surging self-assurance and awareness and the unbridled impetus to soar higher imagine bigger work harder transgress further. It's about feeling the pure brightness of that in your ribs and going as hard as you can until it's time to come home.
Furious 7 is difficult in that respect, because even as the series tinged darker in its vague fictional world (one major character dies in Fasts 4, 5, and 6), at the end of the day Fast has always meant brightness. It's meant light.
And then Paul Walker died.
At which point it becomes really difficult to talk about brightness; because like Jordana said, "Paul was pure light."
And it was hard to mourn, a world away, and watch the Fast family mourn--with varying degrees of privacy. It was hard to know they had to go back and buckle down and finish the movie, and do the first round of press for their big trailer premiere--to have Vin and Michelle start crying in the middle of their interview. To have Tyrese give voice to what everyone else was feeling (that their big press junket was not something any of them were ready to be doing this week), and to have Vin name is newborn daughter Pauline in PW's honor, and admit to how hard it was go to back to filming and how deeply they knew they had to finish this thing, and to seek brightness, and own it, and then manifest it--that's all hard. And to know how much they have all given to this movie, and how afraid they were to see the full film, and how right they found the end result--that's all really big.
Skeptics can say it's PR buzz, or performative grief, or whatever they want. But what they're misunderstanding here is who the core of these people are, how on the surface their selves ride. Because if you're a cast member on Fast, you're not really acting a character so much as you are bringing a spirit. (Nobody is going to nominate Vin Diesel for an Oscar, okay. But he's a damn good person, and a visionary in his Vin Diesel way. Same with Tyrese, or Michelle. Jordana. Ludacris. The Rock/Dwayne.)
So these guys, this is my cast, my family.
* Last week Tyrese missed his flight from SFO to LAX, the last of the night. But he needed to be in LA to start the Furious 7 press tour. So what does he do? Crowdsource a ride from a an via Facebook, naturally. XD Which is just... so Tyrese. Clearly the dude could have hired a car service to take him just as easily--or hell, just bought a new car then and there and driven it down. But he got a fan to drive him down and they had a roadtrip together, and he paid the guy handsomely for his troubles. Just the IDEA OF THAT is so ridiculous!! Except in the context of Tyrese it makes complete sense, and it's amazing.
* Meanwhile, Michelle was in New Zealand, motorcycling through the backcountry alone. My bff and I sort of wondered what... she was doing in NZ. Not that it's unusual for these people to randomly be on the other side of the globe for a few days (it's really not), but she was supposed to be in LA for the junket, too. But then, if you were about to start a major press tour for the hardest movie you've ever had to film, you'd want to get your solo nature fix. Wouldn't you, if you were her?
Michelle doesn't have much of a filter when it comes to interviews of social media (most of the things she posts make me wonder whether it was wise to do so, XD), but this resonated with me so much. Givin' the world some real talk:
“When that disappears, you wonder, ‘Wait a minute, what do I hold on to?’ There was nothing to tether me to this existence: ‘Why am I f—ing here? And, like, why’d you leave without me?’Go hard, Michelle. <3 Read the full interview.
[But one morning] I just woke up with a profound respect for living,” she says. “I stood tall one day and I said, ‘You know what, Michelle? Stop f—ing hiding. Go manifest.’ And all of a sudden, I picked myself up and started hustling.”
* And in a similar vein, the most Vin Diesel interview to ever Vin Diesel.
* Sharks have been in the news a lot lately (or, maybe they haven't, but in the news I keep track of, there's been a lot of new shark stuff!), and every time we break new water, I think of Paul Walker. I think, he'd be so down with this. He'd be fucking stoked. Same for this crazy franchise film.
I have my ticket. Reserved seating, preview showing, IMAX theatre, the whole nine. This is going to be a somewhat funereal, quasi-religious, "omg they are parachuting sports cars from a plane wtf", transcendental manifestation of brightness.
That's the quarter-mile promise.