I’m not a fan of Fast & Furious 6, but one thing that I do love about it is how the one white guy among the protagonists is a definite minority onscreen. Its headlining cast is populated by people who are black, Asian, Hispanic, and/or combinations thereof — Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Gina Carano, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang — and it features not one, not two, but three women in substantive roles, for Fast and Furious values of “substantive,” anyway. (The movie might even pass the Bechdel Test, but I’d have to see it again to be sure.) Poor Paul Walker has only Luke Evans’ villain to turn to for someone who looks most like him. All Furious 7 needs to add to its mix is some scantily clad himbos gyrating next to muscle cars while the camera lingers in their crotchal areas to be truly all-inclusive.
This is honestly a great example for movies to be setting, and even better is that most of the roles are pretty color blind. With the earlier films, it hardly seemed progressive to have a gang of criminals all portrayed by nonwhite actors, but now with multiple law-enforcement characters in the mix, Fast and Furious 6 actually looks more like the real world than many other Hollywood films.
And now, Furious 6 has just had one of the biggest Memorial Day openings ever in North America: $120 million for the four-day weekend… a figure it almost doubles when its phenomenal international opening is added in.
How much of the success of Fast and Furious 6 is due to the diversity of its cast?
Certainly global audiences have flocked for years to Hollywood movies starring white men doing exciting things such as rescuing white women. Have the Fast and Furious movies suddenly made everyone realize just how white movies have been? Is it merely a coincidence that this particular amalgam of car chases and explosions happens to be more diverse? If the franchise’s diversity is a factor in its success — or even merely perceived by the industry as a factor — why haven’t we seen more Hollywood films try to copy that aspect of it?
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