'Fast & Furious': Can costars Paul Walker and Michelle Rodriguez rebound, too?

Michellepaulwalker_lAs we all know by now, Fast & Furious blew away the competition at the box office over the weekend, shocking Hollywood with its $71 mil debut. Amazing. And in the days since, most of the focus, not surprisingly, has been on leading man Vin Diesel, who returned to refuel the F&F series after several years — and several film flops of his own. His is the big comeback everyone’s been talking about, his is the one we’ll be hearing about for a while to come, and, hey, I’m glad for him. I like the guy (especially in relatively understated character roles like the ones he had in Saving Private Ryan and Boiler Room).

But what I really want to know is whether Diesel’s F&F costars Paul Walker and Michelle Rodriguez will also be able to use last weekend’s success as a much-needed spark plug for their careers. While Walker’s decisions have been hit (Eight Below, Flags of Our Fathers) and miss (Timeline, Into the Blue) since the original Fast and the Furious struck gold in 2001, he’s never been able to shed his himbo persona — or even adequately capitalize on it in any entertaining way. (No, Into the Blue does not count: I said "entertaining.") And thanks to a potentially lethal combination of off-screen behavior issues and a consistently surly on-screen attitude, Rodriguez has squandered some of the goodwill that resulted from her notable work in Girlfight (her first movie) and Blue Crush (so much better than Into the Blue…I mean, like in a different universe), and from her brief, semi-disappointing tailie turn on Lost.

Now, with Hollywood paying attention once again and people looking at them and seeing dollar signs, you’ve gotta think these two have a chance to ride the wave they never fully caught earlier this decade. Think they can do it, PopWatchers? And, in your opinion, which one stands a better chance of long-term success?

addCredit(“Kevin Winter/Getty Images”)


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  • RayT

    Lol, I haven’t heard anyone use the word “himbo” in a while. I’m going to make it a point to use that word more often.

  • Lesley

    I think Paul Walker has the bigger chance. Hollywood always has use for good looking men. I’m kinda surprised he hasn’t gone the McConaughey route and starred in a bunch of romantic comedies.
    Michelle I’m afraid will have a harder time. She just seems to gravitate toward these tough chick roles (quick, name a role where she hasn’t kicked someone’s bootay!) and the older she gets, the fewer and far between these will get.

  • shake`

    My friend chat with celebs on the hottest dating place..millionairechats.com..First i can’t trust it,then i signed there.It’s true.Exciting.

  • Susie

    Michelle Rodriguez has “Avatar” coming up, so she’s on her way up. Even though her role in F&F is small, she made a bigger impression on me than Jordana or Gal. I mean, what actress these days, besides Angelina, is allowed to do the action scenes she does in this?

  • AS

    Holy cow EW. Every comment thread is filled with spam now. Can’t you block that crap already?

  • Jenn

    What was wrong with Timeline?? Considering how mind bending the book was, I thought it was a great screen adaptation, which Chris Walker was good in.

  • Jenn

    Oops, I meant Paul. That’s what you get for writing comments when half asleep…and also makes me wonder where I got the name chris from…

  • AshleyBrooke

    Maybe you were thinking of Christopher Walken?

  • AshleyBrooke

    Yeah, EW, apparently, spammers can type in captchas. I’m sick of this willsia.

  • Tegart

    Michelle Rodriguez really rocks. I hope she makes it – she’s got that something extra. Just don’t know if the roles are out there though.

  • Jelana

    Paul Walker, he’s like Keanu Reeves, but not as good an actor. Yeah, I went there. I’d like to see Michelle Rodriguez do well — she was so good in Girlfight.

  • Nick

    I’m hoping Rodriguez gets a bit of a jumpstart to her career. I’ve always liked her in her tough chick roles (and IMO, her turn on Lost was not disappointing, but pretty awesome), but I am really hoping she tries something different for once, a role that is different from her norm to see if she really can act (we saw a few tidbits on Lost that were slightly different from her usual thing…like some of her breakdowns like in her death scene).

  • Sean

    Paul Walker’s “Running Scared” was a great movie.

  • hollywoodee

    I think they both will last but for different reasons and on different levels.
    Michelle Rodriguez will last as an icon I think. Say what you will about the typecast roles, she is so unique and seems to have varied interests. I predict many more years of acting but along the way some writing, producing, directing, charity, and fashion. I think she could legitimately become a latina Angelina Jolie, balancing kick butt roles with Osar-winning performances all the while doing many things on the side personally and professionally, being a Hollywood power-player of the future.
    Paul Walker I feel will wind up being a veteran actor. His skills have improved and he’s aging well and I think he will be steadily employed for years to come, achieving more respect for his craft as the years pass and he develops.
    Ironically, I feel Vin Diesel will fade, becoming a Stallone-type who clings to past roles for dear life, as he’s already doing. The difference is Stallone was a legend. Vin’s a fad.

  • GeeMoney

    Paul Walker should go the rom-com route, or else his career will probably stay virtually the same. Michelle has the best chance of doing well, as long as she figures out how to keep her attitude in check and keep her personal life out of the tabloids.

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