If franchises were baseball teams, then The Fast and the Furious would be the Oakland Athletics. As recounted in last year’s Moneyball, the A’s could never afford to pay superstar salaries. So, using a system known as sabermetrics, they put together a ragtag band of players: aging players who could make base hits, rookies who could read pitches, journeyman has-beens with the uncanny ability to just keep getting on base. None of these dudes was a star. But together, they made a franchise.
I submit to you that last year’s Fast Five is a model for Hollywood sabermetrics. Building on the reboot success of Fast & Furious — which proved that people badly wanted to see Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in a movie, so long as that movie had Fast in the title — Fast Five brought together an assortment of stars from Fasts past. (Some of those stars have serious, albeit nontraditional, achievements on their rosters: Tyrese Gibson has yelled in the background of some of the highest-grossing movies ever, while Chris “Ludacris” Bridges has starred in one more Academy Award Best Picture winner than John Wayne.) Then the film added a strong dose of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — a man who has built a career on being the additive property in franchise sequels. (See also: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Mummy Returns, yeesh, even Be Cool.) As is required by Hollywood law, the producers also added in a dash of Hemsworth: Elsa Pataki, a.k.a. Mrs. Thor.
The stars of Fast Five aren’t stars in their own right. It’s not Ocean’s Eleven or Marvel’s Avengers series — the Yankees and Red Sox of Hollywood, respectively. But that’s part of the fun of the franchise: giving undervalued action badasses a platform. That’s why I couldn’t be happier about the news that Gina Carano, star of the underrated punchfest Haywire, is negotiating for a role in the next Fast & Furious movie, which we’ll call Fast Five, Part 2: First Blood.
News about Carano’s involvement in the project comes after months of rumors that Jason Statham was circling the project, which is both too good to be true and just silly enough to be possible. Carano would be a great addition to the team — especially considering that the end of Fast Five (SPOILER) hinted at a return for fellow female badass Michelle Rodriguez. But if you ask me, the makers of Fast Six: Six Furious (I changed the name) are thinking too small. Next May is already looking crowded, with Iron Man 3 and Star Trek 2 opening right before Six, and it’s slated to hit the same day as Hangover Part III.
That’s where we come in, readers. If Fast Six: Super Fury Animals (changed again!) is going to trounce the competition, it can’t be a measly pennant-winning team. It needs to assemble the greatest squadron ever of slightly faded action stars, TV performers long overdue for glory, and international martial artists who don’t need to speak good English while they’re driving cool-looking cars off cliffs. I’m talking Michael Clarke Duncan as a crime boss with an awesome hat and Timothy Olyphant as a race car driver-turned-thief who drives a Dodge Challenger and Tony Jaa chasing a truck down a freeway on foot by jumping over, on top of, and through cars. I’m talking Michelle Rodriguez leading a girl group of renegade carjacktresses, and they’re played by Maggie Q with a British accent, Paula Patton with a Southern accent, Olga Kurylenko with a German accent, and Rihanna with a Rihanna accent.
To further spur your brain grapes, I asked my fellow EW staffers who they would cast in Six Fast Six Furious: Faster, Furious! Kill! Kill!, and here were their responses:
Mandi Bierly: Could Zoe Saldana do Fast Six? I’d buy her kicking someone’s ass. Great girl fight with Gina, Michelle, and Jordana. Ooh, Jason Momoa would look good driving a fast car, glistening in sweat.
Adam B. Vary: The international edition: Franka Potente! Karl Urban! Cam Gigandet! Djimon Hounsou! They could head up a bizarro car snatching cabal based in Monaco and Tangiers.
Hillary Busis: What about Uma Thurman? Her career could use a lift — and she’s got the action heroine thing down.
Denise Warner: For the Guys: Tom Berenger — bear with me, but I was just so excited to see him in Inception, and I think he’d make a great villain in one of these. And David Boreanaz — he’s just so awesome, but that’s really all I have to offer on him. For the Women: Zoe Bell, from Death Proof, and Kristen Bell — she just generally kicks ass and still hasn’t quite made it movie-wise. I can’t think of anyone else named Bell.
Now it’s over to you, fellow film fans. Who would you cast in the next Fast & Furious? Bonus points if your pick has a foreign accent, has somehow survived starring in a film directed by Uwe Boll, or has ever starred in a movie you watched on a plane one time and actually really liked. (When I asked the same question earlier today on Twitter, @dark_tyler tweeted: “Both Hemsworths, working on opposite sides of the law.” Now that’s an elevator pitch!)
Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich
Read More from EW:
‘Fast and Furious’ 6 scheduled for Memorial Day, 2013
‘Fast Five’ movie review
Nominated for Nothing: ‘Fast Five’
Best of 2011 (Behind the Scenes): Stunt Coordinator Jack Gill explains the ‘Fast Five’ bank vault finale