Vin Diesel chose actress Rita Moreno for the role of Dominic Toretto’s grandmother in Fast X due to her bold and energetic personality, making her the ideal grandmother figure. Vin Diesel is skilled at bringing in fresh talent for the Fast franchise, that’s for sure! During an interview with ET’s Nischelle Turner at the release party for Fast X trailer, Diesel discussed why he believed Moreno was the perfect pick for the movie.
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“So much of the saga has kind of been about fatherhood,” Diesel stated. “The quintessential moment in the first film, Dom is talking about his father. And at some point, I felt like the audience would need to see some of the incredible females that have led to this family, that have been responsible for Dom and this family that kind of gravitates around this character, where some of these ideals come from.”
The actor continued, “And in 9, we play with Dom’s father, which is Jack. You’re introduced to Jack. And so, it was a natural kind of thing to say, ‘Here’s the Abuela.'” Diesel has always looked up to Sidney Poitier as his idol, but he also greatly respects Moreno’s pioneering career. He wanted to pay homage to her in the film not only for the Latinx fans of the franchise but also to create a lasting legacy for the series.
“My hero has always been Sidney Poitier, so, my whole life, I have been like, Sidney Poitier was the guy that opened the doors for my father and everyone in the world, but five years earlier, Rita Moreno won an Oscar, and nobody really thinks about that, and kind of realizes how much of a pioneer she was,” Diesel added. “And so, the Latin community has always embraced this family so deeply, and we’ve always responded by the incredible cast that we’ve included like, Don Omar and Tego Calderón, and there was something special about saying, this iconic character, this regal and incredible talent in Rita Moreno, is responsible for the DNA of the Toretto.”
Moreno said her grandson, Justin Fisher, was the one to thank when it came to securing her a spot in the Fast X cast. The 91-year-old actress was cast after Fisher arranged a meeting between her and Diesel at the premiere of West Side Story in 2021.
“[Vin and I] caught up and grabbed drinks after the event, and he’s so fond of my grandma,” Fisher told ET while at the premiere of Moreno’s film, 80 For Brady. “I told him, ‘You should work with her. You should have her be your grandma, have her slap you upside the head. Have her have a little tone, because you know her, it’s all tone.'”
Fast X is set to be released in theaters on May 19.