In 2017, Michelle Rodriguez posted on social media that she would be leaving the Fast and Furious franchise if more care wasn’t given to the female characters. In a new oral history of the franchise published by Entertainment Weekly, it was revealed that when Rodriguez first saw the script for The Fast and the Furious, she forced the filmmakers to change her character completely, making her more than just the girlfriend of Vin Diesel‘s Dominic Toretto.
“When Michelle [Rodriguez] read her role, she was like, ‘No, I’m not playing that,’” said Fast cast member Jordana Brewster. “And then she changed it completely. It went from a trophy girlfriend to this really layered character.”
Producer Neal H. Moritz acknowledged that the female characters of the film were written by male screenwriters, and so when Rodriguez spoke up, he welcomed her perspective. Rodriguez also spoke with The Daily Beast in 2016 and told them that her issues with the original character of Letty almost caused her to leave the franchise.
“It was a reality check for them to realize that the streets don’t work like that,” Rodriguez said. “You don’t just get with a guy because he’s hot. There’s a hierarchy there. Can that hot guy get beat up by who you’re dating? If he can, then you don’t date him, because why would you want to lose the hierarchy? In order to keep it real, I had to school them: ‘I know you guys like Hollywood and all that, but if you want it to be realistic, this is how it really works, and I’m not going to be a slut in front of millions of people, so you’re going to lose me if you don’t change this.’ And they figured it out.”
Rodriguez will star in the upcoming ninth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise, F9, which is set to release in theaters June 25.