Vin Diesel on Tuesday formally introduced Rita Moreno in the role of Dominic Toretto's grandmother in the upcoming tenth "Fast and Furious" film. He had previously announced her casting last June.
"It's been my dream forever to work with Rita Moreno, and the fact that she's here playing my grandmother makes my soul smile," said Diesel, 54, in a short Instagram video. Seated between fellow franchise star Michelle Rodriguez and 90-year-old stage and screen legend Moreno — who spent her teen years in Valley Stream immediately before signing her first film-studio contract — he added, "I am so blessed."
"You know what, I think I was getting — I think my old age was waiting for you to invite me," Moreno responded, switching gears mid-sentence. "Isn't that nice? And I'm here. And the answer is yes, I'll do it. And yes, not only do it, I'm tickled!" amended the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award winner. "I'm tickled. The hell with 'tickle' — I'm so thrilled. This is going to be such fun."
After the two thanked each other and Diesel expressed his love for Moreno, Rodriguez, 43, exclaimed, "Rita Moreno in the house, baby!" On Instagram Stories, where posts cycle out after 24 hours, Moreno wrote, "Thanks Vin and Michelle."
In an interview with Variety last June, Diesel had responded to a question about Dominic's mysterious mother by saying, "Before we get to Mother Toretto, we will get to Abuela," using the Spanish word for grandmother. "And the person that I'm so excited to talk about [in] that role is Rita Moreno."
When asked for comment at the time, Moreno told the trade magazine, "I'm waiting for his call. I think it's a fabulous idea. I hope he puts me in black leather …"
The upcoming movie's official website refers to it as "Fast X," complete with logo, on its social media, but it is unclear if that is an official title or unofficial shorthand. Studio Universal Pictures' official website calls it the "Untitled Tenth Chapter in Fast & Furious Saga," giving a release date of May 19, 2023.
The tenth film's original director, Justin Lin, who helmed four previous movies in the franchise including last year's "F9: The Fast Saga," exited last month. Louis Leterrier ("The Incredible Hulk," the first two "Transporter" films) is set to replace him, according to trade reports.