Ahead of the release of “F9: The Fast Saga” last summer, Vin Diesel teased to Variety that he wanted Rita Moreno to join the next “Fast and Furious” movie to play his grandmother.
On Tuesday, Diesel announced that Moreno’s casting was official, posting a video to social media with the EGOT-winning actor.
“It’s been my dream forever to work with Rita Moreno, and the fact that she’s here playing my grandmother makes my soul smile,” Diesel shared, sitting between Moreno and his longtime co-star Michelle Rodriguez, who smiles and giggles on the edge of the frame. “I’m so blessed.”
Diesel then pans the camera to focus on Moreno, as she says, “You know what, I think I was getting … I think my old age was waiting for you to invite me. Isn’t that nice?”
And now that she’s sitting next to him, Moreno adds, “The answer is yes, I’ll do it. And yes, not only do it, but I’m tickled. I’m tickled to hell to do it. I’m so thrilled. It’s going to be such fun!”
After exchanging “thank you’s” and “I love you’s,” Rodriguez chimes in at the end of the 42-second clip, exclaiming, “Rita Moreno in the house, baby!”
Throughout the “Fast X” shoot, Diesel has been sharing updates and behind-the-scenes peeks inside the London-based production, including making the announcement that Brie Larson would join the cast. He’s also posted shots with franchise newcomers Jason Momoa and Alan Ritchson, as well as longtime Fast Family members Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Ludacris, Sung Kang and Nathalie Emmanuel. Tyrese Gibson and Scott Eastwood have also been tapped to return, while franchise baddie Charlize Theron has also posted from the set where she reprises her role as the villainous Cipher.
Louis Leterrier is directing the film after Justin Lin stepped down from the role in April, a little more than a week after production began.
News of Moreno’s casting comes after Diesel told Variety in June 2021 that the filmmaking team behind the “Fast and Furious” franchise aimed to explore more of the Toretto family tree in the upcoming 10th and 11th installments of the franchise. After meeting Dom’s long-lost brother Jakob (John Cena) in “F9,” Diesel confirmed that conversations had been had about who Mother Toretto would be.
But first, Diesel revealed — after a long hesitation and a little bit of laughter — “we will get to Abuela. And the person that I’m so excited to talk about that role is Rita Moreno.”
When Variety reached Moreno for comment on the casting suggestion at the time, the legendary actor said, “I’m waiting for his call. I think it’s a fabulous idea. I hope he puts me in black leather…”
In the video Diesel posted, Moreno’s wearing a black parka, but who knows what costume that might be covering up.
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