John Cena

Diesel and Cena Get us Revved Up for the Opening Weekend of ‘F9'

The Fast Saga is still going strong 20 years after the first film cruised onto the big screen.

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Dominic Toretto is practically a household name. That's because for the past 20 years, we've been watching his story unfold in The Fast and the Furious films. There have been so many movies centered on Toretto and his speedy crew that the franchise just goes by The Fast Saga now. Vin Diesel embodies Toretto so well, it's hard to see where Dom ends and Vin begins.

Vin Diesel stars as Dominic Toretto in Universal's "F9."

For those keeping track at home, number 9 - dubbed "F9" - is set to open exclusively in theaters this weekend where it's expected to break pandemic box office records. So after 20 years, and 9 films, what else could Dom and his crew possibly do to up the ante? Plenty.

“When we first met Dom, he didn’t have a lot of faith in his universe and his world," Diesel tells NBC. "And now after 20 years, you see very clearly why he has to be invested, like we all do.”

"F9" begins with Dom living life off the grid. But thankfully he gets pulled back into action when an unexpected rival pops up threatening a world-ending catastrophe. This rival just happens to be his brother Jakob, played by John Cena. Cena has a long resume of action films and comedies. But he said there was no joking around on the "F9" set. He and Vin worked hard to get those intense sibling rivalry scenes to look realistic.

Universal Pictures
(from left) Dom (Vin Diesel) and Jakob (John Cena) in "F9," directed by Justin Lin.

“Vin never tried to make me laugh, or break me," Cena said. "Vin was really invested in trying to get the best performance out of me possible. He was really focused on keeping the rivalry moving.”

The rivalry isn’t the only thing moving. Fans will love the new fast cars, and space cars - yes, space cars - that make "F9" a whole lotta fun. Angelenos will also notice some subtle nods to the Fast Saga’s humble beginnings on the streets of Los Angeles.

“The film was born in LA. In East LA. So there will always be something special about home here," Diesel said. "When the studio and the director at the time chose to film it here, the best part of that was the fact that they ended up casting Paul Walker to Play Brian O’Connor because he’s such a product of the West Coast. It’s a beautiful thing that this was born in LA and we try to uphold that.”

Universal Pictures
"F9" will open exclusively in theaters on June 25.

"F9" also sees the return of Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto as well as Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster and Sung Kang, with Oscar® winner Helen Mirren, with Kurt Russell and Oscar® winner Charlize Theron. Justin Lin who helmed the third, fourth, fifth and sixth chapters of the series when it transformed into a global blockbuster.

See the new whips and the nostalgic nods as "F9" crosses the finish line on June 25. 

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