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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

April 26, 2011 at 10:17 AM

“Fast Five”: A franchise changes genres

I’m off to “Fast Five” tonight, the latest installment of the car-racing franchise starring Paul Walker (who I thought would become a big star, but seems stuck in neutral), and all I can say at this point is that 130 minutes, the running time I’ve been given, seems awfully long for a movie with the word “fast” in the title. But here’s an intriguing bit of news about the franchise: Deadline.com reports today that “Fast Five” is considered by its studio, Universal, to be a transitional film that will move the street-racing franchise into the heist genre. “Fast Six,” already being written by screenwriter Chris Morgan, is about a robbery. Studio heads felt that the previous movies, though successful, appealled to a limited audience.

“We’ve heard so many people say, ‘I’ve never seen one, and I’ve never wanted to see one,’ about the Fast franchise,” [Universal chairman Adam] Fogelson said. “So if these movies were still about street racing, there was probably a ceiling on how many people would buy tickets. We wanted to see if we could raise it out of about racing and make car driving ability just a part of the movie, like those great chases in The French Connection, The Bourne Identity, The Italian Job,” Fogelson explained.

Interesting. I’m going tonight; will see how it goes.
(Side note about Paul Walker: I interviewed him, maybe 10 or 12 years ago, and found him to be polite and charming and so down-to-earth that he gave me his personal email address so I could mail him a link to some story I’d mentioned. Number of other movie stars, even those on the C-list, who have given me their personal email addresses: um, zero, though I did have a major Broadway and TV star send me a nice note once. I’ve always wished Walker well, but other than the “Fast” franchise he’s never seemed to find his niche.)

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