Vin Diesel slow and curious in Manila
On location with “Fast and Furious” Vin Diesel in Manila?
Filipinos could experience the thrill of watching the sights and sounds of Manila and the rest of the country on screen as they did in “Bourne Legacy” if they take on the challenge of the star of the “Fast and Furious” action series.
Diesel, who spent three days in Manila to promote “Fast and Furious 6,” urged Filipinos on Thursday to lobby for the shooting in the Philippines of any of the future installments of the blockbuster series.
Universal Pictures, producer of the highly successful franchise, is expected to do three more sequels.
The 45-year-old actor, who is also a coproducer of the Hollywood action-thriller franchise, suggested that Filipinos take the campaign to the social media networks.
“When I go home, I want to hear about it. I want the studio to come to me and say that the request to go to the Philippines is so strong [that we have to respond to it],” said Diesel, who is also known for appearing in the films “Saving Private Ryan,” “Pitch Black” and “The Chronicles of Riddick.”
“Fast and Furious 6” was filmed in key cities in Spain, Japan and the United Kingdom.
“We envision scenes here in Asia,” Diesel told reporters. “There’s this one scene that probably won’t come until the eighth sequel. We’re already mapping out what a race on the Great Wall of China would be. You are the first one to know that. The guys in the studio will probably get angry with me for telling you that.”
Diesel, however, said plans would often change in the course of production.
“All the locations in the saga have come from someone’s suggestions,” he said. “All started with somebody requesting that the saga go to their home country. I guess what I’m saying is that [you should do something] if you want the saga to come to your homeland.”
Diesel and three other cast members of the latest “Fast and Furious” installment—Michelle Rodriguez, Luke Evans and Gina Carano—arrived on Tuesday morning for the Manila leg of the film’s world tour that includes stops in cities like London, Beijing, Seoul and Cabo San Lucas. The movie will open in local theaters on May 24.
In a media conference that also included journalists from other Southeast Asian countries, Diesel said he chose Manila as the venue for the red-carpet premiere on Wednesday night as well as the press junket “because I’ve always wanted to come here my whole life.”
His twin brother, Paul, is married to a Filipino.
“I have to say I wouldn’t trade this trip to the Philippines for anything. The people here are so wonderful and they don’t even realize it… They have this kind of warm and welcoming energy that you don’t see everywhere. I noticed it from (boxing icon) Manny Pacquiao signing our boxing gloves to the street vendor who gave out a warm, welcoming smile,” the actor said.
Each cast member received a pair of autographed gloves from Pacquiao as a welcome gift.
Since his arrival on Tuesday, Diesel has been spotted in various locations around the metro. He was photographed interacting with fans at the Glorietta mall in Makati City and while strolling along Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City. He was also seen riding a jeepney on his own.
“I loved riding the jeepney,” he said. “Those are the coolest buses I’ve ever seen. You have to understand that I grew up riding public transportation. I grew up with New York City subways. Coming from a dirty subway to a jeepney in a tropical island is a big upgrade.”
At the red-carpet premiere on Wednesday night, producer Neal H. Moritz said the movie’s cast traveled around the world, with Manila as their final stop. “We’re so excited to give you this movie. You’re going to get surprises from this one. Hopefully, a year from now, we’ll have the seventh installment.”
Diesel was in his usual black tank top and tight denim pants when he walked the red carpet at the SM MOA Music Hall on Wednesday night.
Rodriguez, who wore a black long-sleeved dress, galloped and ran in her heels on the red carpet as she gamely shook hands with the fans.
Carano, in a sexy backless evening gown, signed autographs as British actor Evans sang some lines of the Filipino classic “Kailangan Kita.”
The cast members also autographed a Dodge Challenger race car, which was later auctioned off for charity.
“Vin and Michelle have a lot of Filipino friends,” said Wilson Tieng, president of Solar Entertainment Corp., host of the three-day event. “In fact, I’ve received requests from their group to reserve tickets for their friends to attend the premiere.”
Evans said he first visited Manila 10 years ago when he stayed with a group of friends whom he met and worked with during the London run of the musical “Miss Saigon.” He told the Inquirer: “Being here for only a few days isn’t enough. I want to get on the plane to Boracay, stay at the beach, relax and take in the sun.”
Carano claimed to be a huge fan of boxing champ Pacquiao, whom she personally met in her hometown Las Vegas. “I was thrilled to have received a pair of autographed gloves from Pacquiao,” she said.
A special media screening of “Fast Furious 6” was held at the Greenbelt mall in Makati on Tuesday night. Diesel reprises his role as lead character Dom Toretto in this popular movie franchise that brought underground street racing to international spotlight in 2001.
The first film was loosely based on a story published in a magazine titled “Racer X” that talks about racing street cars late at night. In the sixth installment, Diesel is joined by Walker, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Sung Kang, John Ortiz, Gal Gadot and Elsa Pataky.
Rodriguez plays Dom’s girlfriend Letty, who he earlier thought was dead. Evans portrays the role of the ruthless villain Owen Shaw.
The first “Fast Furious” movie grossed over $200 million in the worldwide box office with a production budget of a mere $38 million, according to an online report. In “Fast Five,” world box-office figures exceeded $600 million while production budget was about $125 million.