On the day The Fate of the Furious was released on Digital HD, the franchise has been dealt an ultimatum by one of its biggest stars.
For six Fast & Furious films, Michelle Rodriguez has starred as Letty Ortiz, Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) badass, ride-or-die love interest. But on Tuesday, the actress announced on Instagram that she’s prepared to leave her highest profile role in the rearview if the next installment doesn’t bring women more into the spotlight.
“F8 is out digitally today, I hope they decide to show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one,” she wrote, along with pictures of her with Diesel and costar Nathalie Emmanuel. “Or I just might have to say goodbye to a loved franchise. It’s been a good ride & Im grateful for the opportunity the fans & studio have provided over the years… One Love.”
While Fast & Furious boasts a deep and talented roster, the loss of Rodriguez would be a major blow. With the late Paul Walker being written into retirement following his Nov. 2013 fatal car accident and Jordana Brewster sitting out the last film, Rodriguez and Diesel are the last original cast members left.
Over the years, the franchise has added more females to the male-dominated cast, including Gal Gadot, Charlize Theron, and Helen Mirren. But as Rodriguez noted in EW’s recent spotlight on the women of Fast & Furious, that doesn’t necessarily translate to passing the Bechdel test.
“I’ve been making movies with Jordana, who plays the sister of Dom Toretto, for 16 years and I can count on one hand how many lines I’ve had to her,” she told EW. “I think that’s pathetic and it’s lack of creativity.”
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In Rodriguez’s refreshingly blunt interview with EW, she shared her frustration with not only women in action films as a whole, but specifically the billion-dollar series she stars in.
“It does weigh heavy on my head — especially in the male-dominated environment that I work in,” she said. “At the end of the day, the only leverage I have as an individual is my participation. That’s the only leverage I ever use with anything. It’s like, look, this doesn’t agree with my ethics, morals. My heart doesn’t feel right doing this in front of millions of people, so I can always oblige myself and depart because money, to me, isn’t as important as my lines that you’re not allowed to cross.”
Universal Pictures, which co-produces and distributes the Fast and the Furious movies, did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.