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Jordana Brewster reflects on continuing ‘F9’ while honoring Paul Walker and working with a star-studded crew of empowered women

The movie is already available in most of the theaters

When the world was introduced to the Fast and the Furious franchise in 2001 they met and fell in love with the Toretto family. The youngest child and daughter of “Jack Toretto” is ”Mia,” played by the incredible Jordana Brewster. The Panamanian actress reprised the role in every sequel up to Furious 7 and had the unimaginable task of completing filming after the tragic death of Paul Walker, who played “Brian O’Conner,” Mia’s boyfriend and father of her children.

While the world mourned his loss, Brewster stood opposite of Paul’s younger brother Cody on set, and with the help of CGI, they were able to finish the film. She stepped away from the franchise for Fast and Furious 8 and was all over television in series like American Crime Story, Secrets and Lies, Lethal Weapon, and Magnum P.I. When it was revealed she was would be returning to the fast family for F9, the world was excited to see her back in action. In this special interview, our digital cover star revealed how hard it was to finish Furious 7 without Paul, what made her decide to come back, what it means to be a ‘fast and furious woman’, and more.

Jordana Brewster, HOLA! USA Digital Cover©Hola
Photo: Kevin Scanlon

So the release of fast and furious nine is just around the corner and we all know that family is a big theme in the franchise, your son even has a small role in the film. Are you and the kids excited to be able to go to the movies again and get out more?

Yes, Julian has a small role and for the premiere next week, it‘s going to be my sister whose birthday is on June 18th, my mom, my dad, my boyfriend, and Julian. And Julian is wearing this like, he bought this suit that’s so cute and he wore it this morning for his first-grade graduation. And, yeah, he’s going to be all dressed up, it’s going to be super cute.

The world met Mia in 2001 with the first Fast and the Furious film. What has she taught you after all these years?

You know what Mia always displays that I‘m trying to cultivate is patience. And I feel like the one thing I have in common with Mia is I do feel like I’m the sort of level headed, like peacekeeper within the family, especially in nine because in nine she’s sort of between Jacob and Dom and she’s the one to be like, ‘Dom, don’t do what you’re about to do.’ And like, she can see where things are about to go, and she’s sort of in the middle, and I relate to that. Like in the middle of conflict, I do best. I don’t get very stressed out with huge life decisions, but I get very stressed out with little ones. Like yesterday I had to throw my son Rowan’s fifth birthday party and an hour before I was like, ‘oh my God, we don’t have enough cupcakes.’ Like that threw me for a loop. But like a junket with 50 interviews is like, ‘no, it’s fine.’ Like that’s nothing. So yeah, I think Mia is similar in that way. She’s like, oh, I have to hop on a plane and go see Dom and save the world. No biggie, but like little things- big deal.

Jordana Brewster, HOLA! USA Digital Cover©Hola
Photo: Kevin Scanlon

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I don‘t get very stressed out with huge life decisions, but I get very stressed out with little ones”. - Jordana Brewster

Yeah, that‘s just another day for Mia. I know it must be hard having to talk about Paul Walker, every interview, so thank you. People still talk about that last scene at the beach, what was it like having to finish F7 without him?

Seven was a different story, seven was very difficult. I think it‘s different now because we’ve had time and because, when he’s in the films, it’s like we have Brian in the universe and Brian is still alive within the universe, and it’s a way to honor Paul, which is beautiful. With 7... it was different because it was so fresh and it was so recent. And, you know, to act with someone that wasn’t Paul, and to sort of unearth that chemistry with someone else was a really painful process. So yeah, that was extremely difficult.

That‘s something you can only really imagine, and in 2017, you said you imagined Mia, Brian, and the kids on ‘some island, some idyllic island just living the life.’ So what made you decide that it was time for Mia to get off the island?

Well, I‘m still tied to the franchise through Vin, through Domm and it was especially important now that Jacob’s come along as well. And, I mean, I really, I missed it. I missed being a part of the family. It was really hard to step back for eight. So I’m really, really happy to be re-introduced and to be back in the fold. It felt really good and it also felt really good to be a part of the action.

The movie it‘s really, really good. I mean, with each one, along with the audience I’m sure, I’m always like, ‘how is the next one going to outdo the last one? Like, that’s absolutely impossible. The action is so good. And it’s so advanced,’ and yet, I mean, I was blown away by the first sequence of this one. Like it left me breathless and then I called Justin like my first two calls were, were Justin and Vin and I was crying tears of joy because I was like, ‘I’m so proud to be a part of this. It’s so good.’ And we had to wait an extra year because of the pandemic.

Three reschedules! But it sounds like stepping back on that set was just an overall positive and wonderful experience for you.

Yes, because it‘s a family experience. Not only that, but I’m also going back to my family- I mean, it’s like my fourth with Justin because I had Annapolis and then Fast and Furious, 4, 5, 6, and now 9. Then also I’ve worked with Vin for the last 20 years, Michelle for the last 20 years. But also I bring my whole family. So when we were shooting in London, it was over the summer, so I got to bring both my kids and my parents with me. And so we were all in this house in London and we had the most amazing time, and then Vin’s kids are there, so it’s, almost like an awesome summer camp for all our kids, because, you know, we started off as 20 something-year-old actors, and now we’re like- we all have kids. So it’s just an awesome environment to be in.

I bet it‘s like the perfect reunion. So not many women have been a part of a franchise for so long, let alone a Latina or a woman of color. And I think it’s amazing that the series has both you and Michelle Rodriguez. Is that an accomplishment that you hold close?

It is. And it‘s also something that I don’t think gets recognized enough because I feel like Fast and Furious, was groundbreaking 20 years ago because it represented so many different cultures and it was so lucrative for the studio and it was, embraced worldwide. And yet it took 15 years for multiculturalism and for diversity to really be embraced by Hollywood and to really be recognized. So, you know, we started really early and I think that’s an awesome thing. And I think more people need to recognize that for sure.

I went to my dad when I was 15- I was offered a job and my dad was the one who was like, ‘go for it.’ And his showing faith in me and knowing that I could balance it, really made me sort of pursue acting and, early on” - Jordana Brewster
Jordana Brewster, HOLA! USA Digital Cover©Hola
Photo: Kevin Scanlon

That‘s so true. It’s really, really amazing we have you and Michelle. And I’ve read that there’s a theme of women empowerment in F9. I haven’t got to see it yet, but the film is star-studded, you know, there’s you Michelle, Nathalie, Cardi B, Charlize, Anna, I mean, the list just goes on and Diesel even shared a feature honoring the women of the franchise, which is pretty uncommon when it comes to Hollywood. So what has that been like, kind of watching the series, get to this sort of female-driven place?

From the very beginning, from, Fast 1 I remember Michelle fighting really hard for Letty‘s portrayal because she was always like- and I don’t want to speak for her, but I keep doing this, so I’ll apologize to Michelle if she gets pissed, I don’t think she will though. But Letty was written as a girlfriend and she was like, ‘I’m not playing her that way. So either she gets more interesting on the page or I’m not doing it.’ And that was something I admired so much. And then I remember with Mia, Rob Cohen said, ‘you know, watch Anna Magnani movies. She’s this awesome Italian actress. I want her to be earthy, I want her to be grounded, I want her to be strong because she’s, you know, living with these dudes and she has to hold her own. So strength was always emphasized, but of course, we’ve evolved since then and we’ve grown and, we’ve gotten more and more and more into the forefront, which is so exciting. So to be able to have my own action scenes, to be able to see Helen Mirren, she has this awesome car chase scene, and to have Charlize be like the supervillain, it’s really exciting and it’s, as it should be. I mean, films should reflect society. Films should reflect the audience that’s watching them. So it’s really great that that’s becoming our reality.

And everyone can watch Fast and the Furious, it‘s not just for guys or anything like that. Charlize Theron recently said that “a Fast and Furious woman, they get to show the world what they can do. Fast females take ownership and they raise the bar. They do the unexpected.” So what does it mean to you to be a fast and furious woman? How would you define that?

I would say it‘s to listen to yourself, before anyone else. I think I spent a good deal of my life sort of outsourcing my judgment to everyone else going, “well, what do you think?” Whether it would be my friends, my mom, my sister, my husband at the time because I didn’t trust my own inner judgment, even though I knew it was there. I just was too afraid to like, listen, and then I turned 40 and it was like, ‘nope,’ [laughs] something just flipped for me. And so I think that’s what it is to be a fast and furious woman, to listen to your own judgment and to follow it.

What‘s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten along the way that you can share with our readers?

So, I would have to say, I went to my dad when I was 15- I was offered a job and my dad was the one who was like, ‘go for it.’ And his showing faith in me and knowing that I could balance it, really made me sort of pursue acting and, early on. So that was really good advice. Also, Benjamin Hendrickson was an actor I worked with on a soap opera and he gave me this wonderful letter before I graduated from soap opera and went on to do The Faculty and Fast. And he was like, ‘Jordana, you‘re a really articulate, beautiful girl, stop swearing.’ That was really good advice. I never took it, but that was really good advice and I should have listened to Benjamin.

Jordana Brewster, HOLA! USA Digital Cover©Hola
Photo: Kevin Scanlon

And before we go, aside from F9 what else can we look forward to in the future?

I just worked with my lethal weapon co-star Clayne Crawford on “The Integrity of Joseph Chambers”’ and it also involves the director of “Killing of Two Lovers.” So we worked on that and it‘s hopefully coming out soon and I’m really proud of it. It’s sort of a departure for me.

Jordana Brewster, HOLA! USA Digital Cover©Hola
Photo: Kevin Scanlon