On Friday, January 19, 2018, Fast and Furious Live kicks off its global arena tour in London. A hugely ambitious live show recreating stunts and sequences from the Fast and Furious films in front of an audience, F&F Live combines talented stunt drivers and iconic cars from the movies with precision choreography and special effects to create a show that’s as thrilling as it is epic. It mixes in an all-new story and brand-new stunts for a unique two-hour live experience.
FANDOM joined the creative team during preparations for the show to discover the secrets behind the stunts. From the hardest sequence to pull off to just how close they’re able to make the show to what we see on the big screen.
The most difficult stunt to coordinate, according to choreographer Naomi French, is the Highway Truck Heist, as seen in The Fast and the Furious.
“We have a donutting lorry in the middle of the arena alongside three [Honda] Civics and a [Toyota] Supra and a man on the bonnet that we’re trying to get off,” she explains. “The Civics haven’t got much space either side of that donutting lorry so we have to choreograph it so perfectly.”
These cars burn serious rubber as they screech around the arena. Which means they get through a lot of tyres. Rowland French, Executive Producer and Creative Director behind the show, gives an estimate of the kind of numbers we’re talking.
“They did a hundred tyres last week in rehearsals, so that’s basically 50 sets of rears,” he says. “In terms of touring, we thought we’d be doing around 6,500 tyres a year.”
Those tyres have been specially designed for Fast and Furious Live – a manufacturer was tasked with developing a tyre that, crucially, wouldn’t mark the floor. French calls this his biggest challenge in bringing the show to fruition.
“We have this 3D projection mapping, so we project onto the floor and the wall and it allows us to change the environment instantly. So, we’re in London in the rain, and then we’re in Dubai and then we’re in Miami at night,” says French. “But the floor and the wall need to be this eggshell blue for the projection to really work and, of course, you drive a car on a floor that colour it just leaves these back marks everywhere.”
It took a year just to find a tyre manufacturer willing to produce a prototype grey model that didn’t leave black marks.
“I think that was the thing that had me most frightened because I know how to backflip stuff, I know how to fire things out of cannons, I know how to set things on fire. But I was like: ‘What if we never make tyres that don’t leave marks?’ Because then as soon as we start the show it’ll just be tyre [marks] everywhere. You won’t be able to see the floor.”
Recreating the ‘Fast and The Furious’ Sub Attack
As for how close the stunts are to what you see on screen in the films, French says they are pretty much dead on. He uses the Sub Attack sequence from The Fate of the Furious – arguably the show’s most ambitious stunt – as an example.
“It has to be almost exactly what you see on screen otherwise it doesn’t work,” he says. “The scene with the submarine where it’s cracking through the ice, and there’s a tank and a rocket and this jet-powered Charger — it needs to be 99.5 per cent of what you see on screen. And that’s the true gift of Fast and Furious Live.”
He says that everybody has been surprised at the sheer ‘sameness’ of the recreations.
“Chris Morgan – he’s written movies 3 to 8 – said to me: ‘The thing that surprised me most is just how little has been lost in translation between live and film. It is difficult but the team is the genius behind it.”
Catch Fast and Furious Live on the European leg of its global tour, which kicks off in London at the O2 Arena on Friday, January 19. Fast and Furious star Vin Diesel will be making an appearance. There are plans to take the show further afield following the European leg. For more information, visit the Fast and Furious Live website.