Los Angeles Residents Protest Filming of New ‘Fast & Furious’ Movie

by Caitlin Berard

The Fast & Furious films of today follow the franchise’s characters to exotic locales as they take on dangerous criminals in large-scale action sequences. Back in 2001, when the franchise was first introduced, however, its main focus was street racing.

Now, an argument could absolutely be made that the franchise glorifies dangerous driving. It can’t be denied, however, that the Fast & Furious stars are vehemently against illegal street racing, especially since the loss of their beloved friend and costar, Paul Walker. Sung Kang and Walker’s brother, Cody, even went as far as to produce an anti-street racing campaign with Orange County DA Todd Spitzer earlier this year.

That said, for a group of residents in Angeleno Heights, the franchise’s anti-street racing stance does nothing to quell the fear of reckless drivers. For them, Fast X only further glorifies illegal street racing, encouraging those local to the area to partake in the dangerous activity.

Why Angeleno Heights? Well, it’s the location of Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) on-screen home. As such, filming is taking place in the neighborhood this weekend.

As the film crew arrived, a group of residents was waiting with signs depicting victims of street racing. “It’s super, super, super dangerous,” one protestor explained. “I mean, come on guys. It doesn’t take a smart person to figure out that if you lose control, you’re going to hit somebody or something.”

“Are we going to wait for this to happen to one of our neighbors, our children, before somebody cries out for action to take place, or are we doing to do it before it happens?” they added, brandishing a picture of a totaled vehicle.

‘Fast & Furious’ Protestors Claim Street Racing Affects Their Physical and Mental Health

According to Rob Cohen, director of the first Fast & Furious film, Angeleno Heights is an ideal filming location because its curvy roads and steep hills allow for “fun jumps” in chase scenes. Many residents, however, feel that the Fast franchise is sacrificing the health and safety of those living in the area for the sake of the films.

Over the last year alone, the LAPD reported a 30% increase in fatalities and a 21% increase in serious injuries from traffic violence. In response to the rapid rise in reckless driving, residents reached out to the Streets Are For Everyone and Street Racing Kills organizations, who helped set up this weekend’s protests.

Ahead of the protests, Damian Kevitt, executive director of Streets Are For Everyone, admitted that residents receive compensation for the inconvenience. He argues, however, that financial compensation isn’t enough.

“How do you compensate for years of misery? And being woken up night after night by screeching tires and burning rubber?” Kevitt asked. “And the effect it has on the physical and mental health of those residents? You can’t compensate for that.”