Academy award-winning actress Helen Mirren was forced to fight for her part in the Fast & Furious franchise. And fight, she did.
Back in 2015, Mirren began to publically express her desire to play in the action-packed films. That year, she told Yahoo! Movies that she had a “great ambition” to be in one of the movies, hoping that producer Vin Diesel would hear.
“I so want to be a mad driver in a Fast and Furious movie,” the actress said. ” I keep putting it out there, and they never ask me.”
By 2015, Mirren still hadn’t landed a role in the franchise. So, she tried to see where flattery would take her during an interview with Yahoo!.
“I have to say Vin Diesel is brilliant,” she gushed. “I love Vin Diesel. He’s a great guy, smart — I love him. It’s partly because of him I’d like to be in one, but also the driving.”
And shortly after, she once again sang praises for Diesel while chatting on Late Night with Seth Meyers.
“I’m a huge fan of Vin Diesel. It came from me watching him make a speech once at some ceremony, he was just so smart, and so funny, and so cool, and I just sort of fell a little bit in love with him right there, and then … I love you Vin. You don’t know who I am, but I still love you.”
Helen Mirren ‘Intimidated’ Vin Diesel into Casting Her in ‘Fast & Furious’
When Vin Diesel still didn’t get the not-so-subtle hint that Helen Mirren wanted to be in one of his movies, Mirren decided to just straight out demand that he cast her in Fast & Furious—immediately.
The Riddick star explained exactly how that went down to The Hollywood Reporter. According to Diesel, he was at a Golden Globes party when the actress marched right up to him and instructed him to create a role just for her.
“She’s very intimidating, despite her 5’2” frame,” Diesel admitted. “You want to make her happy. You definitely don’t want to disappoint her. For a tough New Yorker like myself, I was intimidated and I don’t get intimidated easily. She inspired something in me.”
Of course, Vin Diesel did exactly as he was told. And Mirren got her part in 2017’s The Fate of the Furious. She then went on to land a second appearance in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw and another in F9: The Fast Saga.
But the scene she shared with Diesel during the first movie became of his all-time best silver screen memories.
“I remember this being one of my favorite days in my journey,” he once told IndieWire. “No one else in the room mattered. Nothing existed but this bond between her and I, and there was something really magical and really special about it. And it’s something that I’ll take with me for the rest of my life … It’s probably her which is why The Fate of the Furious was the fastest movie in history to hit a billion dollars.”