That's it, Vin Diesel, you need to hand over the keys to Dominic Toretto's car — at least for a couple of scenes. Helen Mirren wants to be in another Fast & Furious film, according to an interview with Entertainment Weekly. However, this time, Mirren really wants to drive, and Diesel needs to make it happen.
Mirren made a guest appearance in the eighth installment of the franchise, The Fate of the Furious, after requesting a part be written for her. While her fans know her best as the star of prestige films like The Queen and Gosford Park, Mirren also loves driving, action movies, and is a big fan of Diesel. In fact, she's even appeared on the car program Top Gear, where she raced around the show's track.
Even though the acclaimed actor had nothing but praise for her Fast & Furious family, it's clear she has some unfinished business with the franchise. "They very kindly wrote me in and that was really sweet of them and I love those guys, they're fantastic," she told EW. However, she's still waiting for her chance to get behind the wheel onscreen. In fact, that's her big request for the next film; if she reprises her role as Magdalene Shaw, then she wants her crime boss character to get in on the racing action.
And honestly, it's astonishing that it didn't happen in the first film. In a 2016 interview with Elle, the actor expressed her desire for her character to get in on the driving action. Part of Mirren's enthusiasm for the role seemed to stem from her unabashed love of driving, and in a franchise that found time for a submarine versus car scene, surely they could have put Magdalene in the driver's seat.
It's not like Mirren is a stranger to action roles. Long before she was Magdalene Shaw, she played Victoria in Red and Red 2. The splashy action films allow actors like Mirren, Bruce Willis, and Morgan Freeman to engage in the kind of popcorn movie violence that is usually reserved for younger stars. The Red movies are like the Fast and Furious franchise, but with even more cheekiness and a cast of older, well-established actors.
As Victoria, Mirren is allowed to fire guns as a car spins around in a full circle, and drop the sassiest of one-liners. The sheer amount of fun she seems to be having onscreen is infectious. If The Fast and the Furious franchise wants to keep Mirren on-board, then the writers would be wise to take a few pointers from Red. Giving the actor a role as the head of a crime syndicate is great, but letting her take part in the action would be better.
Magdalene is the mother of Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw, so having her back wouldn't be a stretch, and neither would be revealing she has a way with cars. After all, her sons had to learn their road skills from someone. Why not have that someone be their scary cool mom?
Having Mirren continue to appear in the Fast & Furious franchise will only make the films better. But the next time she shows up onscreen, she deserves to be given more to do than simply plot with Dom. Mirren's love for cars and driving makes her an asset the writers should be using. It's time to put this first-class actor behind the wheel — ideally, racing two submarines while saving the world, for a true a Fast & Furious experience.