Lucas Black on appreciating the 'unique' legacy of Tokyo Drift , reuniting with Fast family for F9

·57 min read

Fifteen years later, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is still a "dream come true" for star Lucas Black.

The actor joined hosts Derek Lawrence and Chanelle Berlin Johnson on the latest episode of EW's BINGE: The Fast Saga, in which the stars of the franchise look back on all eight films in the lead-up to F9. Upon being cast as high schooler Sean Boswell in Tokyo Drift — the third Fast film and first for Black, costar Sung Kang, and director Justin Lin — the Friday Night Lights movie alum was already a fan, revealing he and his friends often quoted Tyrese Gibson's iconic 2 Fast 2 Furious line, "We hungry."

"I read the script and was excited about it, and really intrigued that it was something different than the other two," Black shares. "They taught us how to drift two weeks before we started shooting. We would go to Irwindale Speedway, and we had the best teachers in the world, all the drift champions. Rhys Millen was my stunt double, but he was a drift champion back in the early 2000s, so he taught me. It was like a dream come true, for a 25-year-old to be able to go out and learn how to drift, just burn the tires down to the tread and the highest octane fuel. I mean, it was like jet fuel we were putting in these cars. And then at the end of the week I got a paycheck to do it! It was awesome."

John Johnson / Universal

Even after all that learning, Black says he struggled during filming to actually be allowed behind-the-wheel, with Lin instead relying on the stunt drivers. But, just like Sean did with Neela (Nathalie Kelley), Black eventually wore his director down.

"I'm like, 'Justin, you got to let me drift,'" he recalls. "He's like, 'No, no, you can't do it.' One day we're filming in Downtown L.A., where Han's garage was, and I take Justin, there was a spot where they parked 18-wheeler tractor trailers, and I said, 'We're going drifting.' So I took him to that spot and drifted to show him — because he's in the passenger seat — that I knew how to drift. And he's like, 'Alright, Lucas. Whenever there's a time, I'll let you know.' And so the scene where we're putting the Skyline engine in the Shelby Mustang, and we're going down that mountain, practicing for the big race at the end, they had a crane car, but it was a fast car. So it's not like your normal, regular setup on a movie. This was like a BMW with a crane and a camera on it, and I was following that camera. Justin comes up to me and says, 'Hey, now's your time.' That's all he said. And I was like, 'Yes! You got it!'"

Everett Collection

The end of Tokyo Drift would see the return of Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto, linking the film to its predecessors, while also sending the franchise on a different path, with the next installment reuniting the original stars and serving as the beginning of new life to the now billion-dollar franchise.

"Just being a part of Fast & Furious is incredible and a huge success for me," Black says. "It was blessing to see that it was one of those films that stood out from the franchise. That's what's so unique about Tokyo Drift, it kind of has its own following. And I know the movie and the story, the saga has changed throughout the years, and that's been a good thing. But Tokyo Drift stands out different, and I'm proud of that."

While Lin and Kang continued with Fast in the fourth, fifth, and sixth films, Black didn't return until a cameo in Furious 7. But now the whole Tokyo Drift crew is back together in the upcoming F9, and Black is looking forward to fans' reaction to the family united — and whatever road Sean might go down next.

"There was always talk of bringing my character back," he says. "And so when they called me for 7, you just want to know what that entails. It was a small role, more of like connecting the dots with Han, which I think was good and I was willing to do. But, for me, I just want to know the plan for Sean Boswell, and not really just to be stuck in there. I think the producers and writers and studio realized that the fans really wanted to see the Fast family and everyone that was involved, the hero characters, united in the same movie. So I know everyone's been super excited about F9, and we get to reunite with everyone in the other movies, and contribute in a big way to the success at the end. And so they made it happen for F9, and we'll see what happens from there."

To listen, subscribe to EW's BINGE: The Fast Saga feed via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also subscribe to EW's YouTube page to catch all the video interviews, and stay tuned to EW.com for even more Fast coverage, including next Friday's chat with Justin Lin about Fast & Furious.

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Lucas Black:

That scene after the wreck, and we're all at the police station, Justin comes up to us, and he goes, "Is anyone willing to put a piece of tissue in your nose?" And I said, "That's me. That's me. That's me, Justin." Because he wanted somebody to have a bloody nose with a tissue in it. I was smiling at the lady, smiling at the girl, and I've got blood in my teeth, with the tissue in it, and that's Sean Boswell, right there. And that's my favorite scene of Tokyo Drift.

Derek Lawrence:

Ask any podcaster, any real podcaster, it doesn't matter if you record in person or over video chat, podcasting is podcasting. Welcome back to EWs BINGE of The Fast Saga, full transcripts of which are available on ew.com. I'm Derek Lawrence, aka, the guy who went as Dominic Toretto for two straight Halloweens. And as that icon once said, "The most important thing in life will always be the people in this Zoom right here, right now." And for me, that's the Dom to my Letty, the Brian to my Mia, the Roman to my Tej, the Gisele to my Han, Chanelle Berlin Johnson. Chanelle are you ready to drift into an episode all about The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

I am, and this is a movie that, really I'll be honest, it kind of grew on me. I've always loved all the Fast movies. The other ones I loved out of the gate, and this one, of course, had to really find the love for it, because it was so different from the ones before it, when it came out. But it's got so many gems now, and it's become so important to the franchise, that I'm excited to dive into it.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah. I hate the word cult, because I feel like... I could go on a rant that I will save listeners from hearing, but about how everything now has a cult following allegedly. But Tokyo Drift really felt like that, and it was the slow momentum for the film. And eventually, as you said, I think it might end up now being the most important film in this whole franchise for so many reasons, that we'll get into on this episode.

But as a refresher for new listeners, in case Bow Wow decided he wanted to tune in to this one for no particular reason, ahead of the June 25th release of F9, it's finally coming, we're bingeing all of the Fast movies with the family themselves. We've already chatted with Vin Diesel and Ludacris, so you can go back and check those out. But today it's the new DK himself, and no, that doesn't stand for Donkey Kong. We've got Lucas Black aka Sean Boswell on the show to talk about the third film. Which as we said, has had quite the journey since its released in 2006. But before we get into our chat with Lucas, who returns with the whole Tokyo Drift crew in F9, Chanelle, what do people need to know about this film, which kind of served as the Fast debut for so many people we love, including Lucas and director, Justin Lin, and Han himself, Sung Kang.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah. So I'll describe it as it was supposed to be at the time. So it's all about the next generation, that's how they had envisioned it. We meet these new characters. Of course, the main one being Sean Boswell. He's sort of like our guide into what was going to be sort of the next phase of the franchise then. He is kind of a teenage amalgamation of Dom and Brian, in that he's obsessed with cars and racing and is getting in trouble, and him and his mom have to move around a lot. They never actually say he's from Alabama, I don't think, in the movie, but clearly that's where Lucas is from, and there is like that one shot of the Bama Boy screen name, so we'll take that, but they bounced around everywhere.

And when the movie starts, he's in a new high school, he gets in trouble pretty much immediately. And then he shipped off to Tokyo to live with his dad, where he finds even more trouble, because that's what he loves to do. He loves cars and racing so much. But the key part of that is he's been introduced to drifting, and so is the audience in a lot of ways. He meets a Twinkie, who of course is Bow Wow, Neela, we are introduced to Han, Sung Kang. Amazing, amazing, amazing time for us, and every time you revisit it, it's awesome. And he's so cool. And then, that all culminates in big race down a mountain, which is insane. And we see the introduction to Justin Lin's style of directing and the action, which is important going forward too.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah. Like I said, it's quite the Fast debut for Justin and for Sung and for Lucas. And we're really excited that they're all back together for F9. So once our conversation with Lucas is done, though, do stay tuned, because Chanelle and I will hop back on and talk more Tokyo Drift and hand out a few awards. But as Han would say, "Who you choose to be around, lets you know who you are." And so we're thrilled to be around Lucas Black. So let's go to that chat now.

Derek Lawrence:

This ain't no 10 second race, but we've got nothing but time to talk to Lucas Black aka Sean Boswell. Lucas, welcome to our binge of Fast and Furious.

Lucas Black:

Oh man, it's good to be here. Appreciate you guys having me.

Derek Lawrence:

Absolutely. We're super excited to talk Tokyo Drift. I mean already a great film, but I think the legend has even grown over the years. But before we dive into it, what we've been having everyone do at the top of these, because Dominic Toretto once said, "Nothing else matters for those 10 seconds or less," he's free. So how would you in 10 seconds summarize Tokyo Drift.

Lucas Black:

Oh man. Exhilarating and burning lots of rubber.

Derek Lawrence:

I love that. I love that. It's perfect.

Lucas Black:

That's right. Come on.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Well, when you think back on the movie now, like someone mentions Tokyo Drift to you, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Is it a scene? Is it, I don't know, a day on set? What do you think of?

Lucas Black:

Well, a line that gets said to me a lot is, what does DK stand for? And Sean Boswell replies, "Donkey Kong." So that's one of the first things I think of, and that's pretty cool to hear when I go out in town or on social media, a lot of texts and people replying that line.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson: That's a good one.

Derek Lawrence:

I love that so much. You should have gotten like a unofficial sponsorship with Donkey Kong or something.

Lucas Black:

I know, something.

Derek Lawrence:

Maybe there's still an opportunity there.

Lucas Black:

Exactly. Exactly.

Derek Lawrence:

We're going to dive all the way into Tokyo Drift, but I mean, what was your relationship with the Fast films or those first two original ones like before Tokyo Drift? Were you a fan already? Or did you not really... Obviously, they were came out not too long before Tokyo Drift did-

Lucas Black:

Yes.

Derek Lawrence:

...so did you have any relationship with them before?

Lucas Black:

Yeah, absolutely. I've watched them both and enjoyed them. I was 24 when I did Tokyo Drift and so they came out in my early 20s. And, yeah, they were films that were fun to watch. And then, I know Tyrese has a line that my buddies and I would say a lot, and he was like... It was toward the end, I think, he was looking at that mansion. And he says, "You got any food up in there? Because we hungry bro."

Derek Lawrence:

I love that line. The way he says hungry is perfection.

Lucas Black:

WE hungry bro. And so that was a line that we used a lot. A lot my friends when being out all day working out and we would say that in the evenings, hey, you got any food? because we hungry bro.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

That's perfect.

Lucas Black:

Yep. Yep.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

So how did Tokyo Drift... How were you first told about it? How did that come into your life? You must've been excited too, being a fan of the other two movies.

Lucas Black:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, my representation brought it to me, and then, read the script and was excited about it. And was really intrigued that it was something different than the other two, a different style of racing. And then, after talking to Justin Lin, and just his vision for the film, it was exciting. I mean, I didn't think about it as an actor, being in a car movie, in a race car movie, but after getting the role and learning how to drift, going through the classes, they taught us how to drift. Like two weeks before we started shooting, we would go to Irwindale Speedway and we had the best teachers in the world.

All the drift champions, Rhys Millen was my stunt double, but he was a drift champion back in the early 2000s, so he taught me how to drift. It was like a dream come true pretty much for a 25 year old male to be able to go out and learn how to drift, just burn the tires down to the tread and burn the highest octane fuel. I mean, it was like jet fuel we were putting in these cars, and then at the end of the week I got a paycheck to do it. It was awesome. It was awesome.

Derek Lawrence:

Can you still drift? Do you still have it? It's been 15 years.

Lucas Black:

Oh, man, we did a scene actually in the television show I was recently involved in, and they had a drift scene, they wrote one in for my character, where I'm chasing this suspect down and I'm drifting through and an old parking garage, just like where I first learned how to drift in Tokyo Drift. And so I was like, yes, because my normal life, my home life, basically, I own a truck, that's what's in the driveway, because the temptation is too strong not to try to drift out on the street, do something illegal, get caught up by the cops. So I try to stay away from it in my private life.

But I was so excited when they wrote that scene for me. And it took me a while to get the feel back, but once you get the feel back, get used to the car, the weight of the car and how it wants to spin and operate. I still got a little bit in me. I'm ready. I'm ready to drift. Hey, we need to go. We need to go.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, I think you even have... The scene at the end of it, you get to say like, "Oh, still got it," which is perfect.

Lucas Black:

That's right. That's right. That wasn't written in the script. I added that. I was like, "Hey, still got it. Still got it."

Derek Lawrence:

I love that. What a great nod.

Lucas Black:

Yes.

Derek Lawrence:

I talked to Chris Morgan a couple of years ago, the writer, this was his first Fast film. And, obviously, he went to write on all of them up until nine. He talked about a lot of different forms that this project took. He said, his original pitch was actually, Vin coming back and Dom going to Tokyo to avenge a friend's death, which kind of ends up down the road happening. And then there was talk, maybe this was straight to DVD at one point. But then, obviously, it becomes a big release in theaters and does really well. I mean, what do you remember of maybe what the expectations for the film was and how big you guys thought it was going to be?

Lucas Black:

Well, I wasn't in any of those conversations, but I had high expectations as an actor. I guess, I was pretty confident, still am. So while we were filming, it felt like a big budget project and a blockbuster hit to me. But I pretty much just stay focused on what I'm supposed to do and what the director wants out of me. And then whatever happens, whatever results happens after that, that's not up to me, so that's pretty much where I stand on that. I go in with high enthusiasm and try to do the best I can do and see what happens from there.

Lucas Black:

And so, it was a blessing to see and good to see that it was one of those films that stood out, from the franchise. That's what's so unique about Tokyo Drift, and I know the movie and the stories of the saga has kind of changed throughout the years, and that's been a good thing. But Tokyo Drift of stands out different, the fans remember that one particular movie different than all the others. And so I was proud of that.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

So we talked to Sung already, and he was talking about how, originally, his character wasn't in it at all. So when you saw the script and everything, was Han in there? Did you get to talk to him at all, before things were finalized? How did that exactly work? What was the timeline there?

Lucas Black:

Well, I don't really remember. His character was in there, when I first got the script, but I didn't know who was playing the character? And then when Sung, when we met on set and he had that cool vibe, and so I was like, "This is going to go well." So it was fun, man. We had fun with it. It was such a relaxed feel on Tokyo Drift. And I think that was from the leadership of Justin Lin. He has a very calming, demeanor and way about him and how he directs, and makes, well, I want to say everyone, but it made all of us on Tokyo Drift feel comfortable.

And I know Sung Kang thinks the same way, because we talk about it. And that was fun to be able to reunite on this last project, Fast 9, because it was kind of like a reunion for all of us that was involved in Tokyo Drift. And so we got to reminisce about the good old days of Tokyo Drift, and talk about where we are now as in our adult lives. So it was a good time.

Derek Lawrence:

What was it like a filming in Tokyo? It was obviously a culture shock for Sean. Was it a bit of the same for you?

Lucas Black:

Oh, yeah, absolutely. I grew up in a small, rural Alabama, pretty much, small town and so never been to Japan, but it was awesome. The first two weeks, I love food, and so I was eating all of the authentic Japanese food, and I don't mind sushi. So I'm like, all of these sushi places we're going to, they have conveyor belts, with different color plates and you just stack the plates up as you're eating, and they charge you by the color of the plates. And so, I ate tons and tons and tons of sushi, till I got tired of it. But after about two weeks, I was craving the American food. Where can I find some Western culture food. But yeah, it was a shell shock, culture shock, definitely. You stand out when you go to Japan.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

I saw some old behind the scenes footage of you and Bow Wow, Shad Moss around like the different areas that you guys filmed in. What was it like just hanging out and getting to know each other as well, while you're both kind of experiencing a place that's probably pretty newer to both you, I assume?

Lucas Black:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It was just, you're soaking it all in. Like when I went to Japan and Tokyo, you're just kind of taking it all in. And the reason we were there was to shoot all of the exterior scenes, all the outside shots that they wanted to capture, Tokyo, the real city, that you really can't duplicate over here in the States. So it was kind of we got to do a lot of our sightseeing while we were filming, but we did some on our own too. We went to Mount Fuji. But Bow Wow, I remember that he was, I think, 19 at the time. And so we played a lot of Madden football, during our downtime in our trailer, we had the PlayStation rolling with Madden NFL football. And so I remember that, vividly, we had some battles in the trailer.

Derek Lawrence:

What was it like filming the... Doing some research, it seemed like, maybe you weren't subject to this, but at least on Justin's end, it seemed like it was kind of crazy having to set up some of these driving and chase sequences through Tokyo. Especially like Shibuya Crossing is a big famous part of just Tokyo, but also, in the movie and the chase. So what was it like doing some of those long driving sequences through the crowded streets of Tokyo?

Lucas Black:

Yes. Yes. Well, unfortunately, I didn't get to do those personally, but it was crazy just to see how many people that cross that intersection daily. We filmed a scene that was up on the roof, that soccer scene, where we're playing soccer and we're looking out, Han and Sean's looking out, and it's kind of a life lesson moment for Sean.

Lucas Black:

Why'd you let me race with your car? You knew I was going to wreck it.

Sung Kang:

Why not?

Lucas Black:

Because this is a lot of money.

Sung Kang:

I have money. It's trust and character I need around me. Who choose to be around you, let's you know who you are. One car in exchange for knowing what a man's made of, that's a price I can live with.

Look at all those people down there. They follow the rules for what? They're letting fear lead them.

Lucas Black:

What happens if they don't?

Sung Kang:

Life's simple, you make choices, and you don't look back.

Lucas Black:

I will say this. So they taught me how to drift, so I wanted to do it, while we were filming. I'm like, "Justin, you got to let me drift. Man, I know how to drift." I would go up to him, be like, "Justin. Justin. Let me drift. Let me drift." He's like, "No, no, you can't do it. You can't do it on this scene." And I'm like, "All right. All right. All right." So one day, we were filming in downtown LA, I remember. And it was Han's garage, was in downtown LA. And so I take Justin, and I'm like, "Justin come with me." He's like, "Where are we going?" So I get him in the car. And there was a spot where they parked 18 Wheeler trailers, tractor trailers, and I said, "Let's go, we're going drifting."

So I took him to that spot and drifted to show him, because he hadn't... He was in the car, he's in the passenger seat, to show him, I knew how to drift. And he's like, "All right, Lucas, whenever there's a time, I'll let you know. I'll let you know when you can drift." And so, the scene where we're putting the Skyline engine in the Mustang, in the Shelby Mustang, and we're practicing. We're tuning it. We're practicing for the big race at the end. We're going down that mountain, practicing. Justin comes up to me. They had one of the cars, but they had a camera on the crane, but it was a fast car, so it's not like your normal, a regular set up on a movie.

This was like a BMW with a crane and a camera on it. And I was following that camera, he comes up to me and says, "Hey, now's your time." And that's all he said. That was all he said. And I was like, "Yes. Yes. You got it. You got it." So I got to do some drifting in that scene, and that was awesome. I was super excited about it, because most of it was done with the second unit, with the stunt coordinators and the stunt directors. But I got to do some, so I was super pumped that Justin gave me the okay. And I got to drift a little.

Derek Lawrence:

You talk about Shibuya Crossing, and this will tell you a lot about my Fast fandom. I went to Tokyo about two years ago, and, literally, my first stop on my tour around, I went to Shibuya Crossing, because I knew it from Tokyo Drift. And I stood in the middle when they did the cross, I took a picture. I was like, Sean drew drove through here.

Lucas Black:

That's right. Come on.

Derek Lawrence:

It felt like history. It felt like history.

Lucas Black:

Yes. Yes. That was awesome.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

I definitely did something similar. My brother lived in Tokyo for a while working there, and that was the only place I knew I had to go was like, "We got to go to Shibuya, and then you could show me whatever you want."

Derek Lawrence:

Do you have a favorite scene, thinking back on Tokyo Drift? Obviously, I'm sure there's so many great ones, but is there one that sticks out to you as a person favorite?

Lucas Black:

Yeah, absolutely. It's at the very beginning of the movie, when I have the car race with the '68 Monte Carlo, which that car was a beast, by the way, it had a 500 big block engine with slicks-

Derek Lawrence: Geez.

Lucas Black:

... on the back and a slapstick a gearshift. Literally, I could spin the tires in third gear going 60 miles an hour.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Wow.

Lucas Black:

So that scene after the wreck, and we're all at the police station, Justin comes up to us, and he goes, "Is anyone willing to put a piece of tissue in your nose?" And I said, "That's me. That's me. That's me Justin." Because he wanted somebody to have a bloody nose with a tissue in it. So got the tissue in and I was smiling at the lady, smiling at the girl at the police station. And I've got blood in my teeth with the tissue in it, and that's Sean Boswell right there. And that's my favorite scene of Tokyo Drift, favorite moment right there.

Derek Lawrence:

I love that that was where you went, because literally in my notes, I wrote down, ask about the bloody smile. Because I love it, every time it-

Lucas Black:

Yep. Come on. Come on.

Derek Lawrence:

.... comes up, the camera goes on you, and you've got the nose bleed going, and then you just do the smile at her. It gets me every time.

Lucas Black:

That's it.

Derek Lawrence:

I love hearing that that was kind of an on the moment spot. That's too perfect.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah. It's such a great character note too. Like you said, it just encompasses who Sean is. About that first race, though, at the construction site, we know that, of course, there's a lot of, like you said, the second unit has to go in, but that one seems to be shot pretty, practically, throughout for the most part. Did you get to be a little more involved in that one, even if you're not obviously not drifting yet, because you hadn't learned as a character?

Lucas Black:

Yeah, absolutely. So when they're filming, in-between the studs, the rough framing of the new houses being built, we had like two parallel roads. Well, I was on one side, and so going through it, it's one of those things where you don't have to go extremely fast to look like you're going fast. But it was a narrow window, and so even if I'm going like 45 miles an hour, from zero to 45 is still pretty fast in that, in that 500 big block engine. So yeah, I got to do some of that while we were filming, but most of my driving was done when we weren't filming, when I wasn't supposed to.

Because I remember, I would take the filter off the carburetor of that car, that '68 Monte Carlo and just open it up and it would just vibrate. I mean, that subdivision was all under construction, all new houses being built, and it just rattled all of that wood, all of those studs, you can just hear, that's how loud... it was a race car. Literally, like a NASCAR, over 500 horsepower. I mean, this thing was a beast, loud and it would just blow the doors off of things. And so I did that, off camera.

Derek Lawrence:

I remember sitting in the theater for Tokyo Drift, which I will say, I remember it came out when I was in high school, and as kids do, me and a bunch of friends go to the mall and then go to the movies. And we split up, half of us went to see Tokyo Drift, half of us, weirdly, went to see the movie Cars, the animated. I like to say I'm on the right side of history, I want to see Tokyo Drift.

And I remember sitting in the theater, and at the end, when Dom shows up at the garage to race Sean, I was like, "Holy shit." I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. Everyone was excited. So what's your reaction? You're a fan of those original movies. I know that wasn't originally how you guys were going to end it, but it was like a cool thing that you guys were able to add on before release. So when you hear, "Oh, we're bringing Vin back. You're filming a scene with him to go at the end." What was your reaction?

Lucas Black:

Oh man. I was excited. And I remember, when we were shooting that scene, we had fun with it, and talked about it. And then, he's got his left arm on the steering wheel, he pulls up to my left, and we shoot the scene. We do it a couple of takes. And he comes up to me, and he may not want me telling you guys this, but he's like, he goes, "Man," he said, "I got to go back to the trailer and stretch out my bicep, it's cramping up on me." Because he was gripping it tight for the camera to look cut up and flexed. And so I was laughing, man. I was dying, laughing. I was like, thank goodness, he can at least make fun of himself a little bit. So that was cool. That was cool to see.

But, yeah, it was exciting. It brought excitement to think about the next project. The next movie or what was going to happen after that race. We weren't involved in four... or I wasn't. I wasn't involved in four or five and six. They ended up you using those as prequels to Tokyo Drift. But, yeah, man, it was awesome. It was awesome to have him there and see him. And that was an exciting moment, I think, for the fans as well.

Lucas Black:

You know this ain't no 10 second race.

Vin Diesel:

I got nothing but time.

Derek Lawrence:

We've got to take a break, but we'll be right back. Now let's get back to the interview.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

So what was it like then when you do get the call, like, oh, in seven, we need to have this connective tissue, happening for this story, and then you come back for that. Did you already know also that they might want to bring Sean back again? You're come back in nine, which is incredible.

Lucas Black:

Yeah. I appreciate it. Well, there was always talk of bringing my character back. And so, when they called me for seven, you just kind of want to know what that entails. So it was a small role, it was more of like connecting the dots with Han, which I think was good and willing to do. But for me, I just want to know the plan for Sean Boswell, and not really just to be stuck in there. You know what I mean? And so, I think the producers and writers and studio realized that the fans, and I feel like the fans really wanted to see the Fast family, and everyone that was involved, the hero characters, united, or in the same picture, in the same movie.

So I know everyone's been super excited about Fast 9 and we get to reunite with everyone in the other movies, the Fast family, and contribute in a big way to the success at the end. I don't want to give it away, but that's... And so that's cool. And I think that's what everybody wanted and the fans wanted to see. And so, they made it happen for Fast 9, and we'll see what happens from there.

Derek Lawrence:

I love... You're almost like an Easter egg in the Fast 9 trailer. I remember watching it when it debuted, and I was like losing my mind over so many things-

Lucas Black:

Peekaboo.

Derek Lawrence:

... I was like, oh my God, wait... It's like, oh my God, John Cena is playing Dom's brother. Wait what? And then Han comes back at the end, and you're like, holy crap, what is going on here? And then like it, I think someone mentioned to me to like, "Did you see like Lucas Black? Sean's back. Did you see..." I was like, "Wait, what?" So I went back and I was like, "Oh my God. There he is." So it was actually a super fun surprise after the fact that I... Like I said, a little Easter egg. So I know everyone's excited to see more of that.

We mentioned kind of connecting, the films and like now Tokyo Drift, I almost would say is like the most important film in the whole franchise, just because of what it started, and kind of what it meant for the characters. So what's it been like for you? I'm sure you get a lot of people talking to you about Tokyo Drift. It's kind of hit with a certain group, where I think a lot of people it's actually their favorite.

Lucas Black:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, yeah, appreciate it, man. That means a lot. Just being a part of the Fast and Furious franchise is incredible, and a huge success for me. Like I said earlier to have Tokyo Drift kind of be a standalone or different than all the other films, makes it unique. And I think the fans liked it, that it was a different style of racing, and it was about racing. It was about a skill set. And it's not just an action or it's not all about just the action film, it's a racing movie. And so there was a lot of appreciation for that, and so that's cool. I appreciate that and thankful for that.

And like you say, it kind of has its own following. I think a lot of the fans, they talk about that one a lot, because it does stand out to them, and it was filmed in Tokyo. And so, people were kind of intrigued by that, and that city and Japan. And so it had that element to it as well. A fish out of water, a Southern boy that likes American muscle cars learning how to drift, and going to Tokyo, I think a lot of people here in America, were just intrigued by that and liked seeing that dynamic.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah. Kind of in the same vein, you talked about it being unique, one way that always stands out to me is it's really the only movie in the whole franchise, that's a coming of age story. So now coming back into the character, is it like sort of catching up again or slipping back into it? Or because Sean's older now, when 9 happens, did you have to sort of rethink how you approach the character a little bit at all?

Lucas Black:

Yeah, absolutely, great question. It was definitely something that was on my mind, because, yeah, like you said, Sean Boswell is a lot older now. So there was that level of maturity that Justin Lin and I talked about. Some of the life lessons that Han taught him, I wanted to play those in my character, so that the audience could see it. Oh, but also still have that young spirit, that excitement and vibrance of being able to create a race car, because Sean always was a mechanic and he liked to build his cars. And so, Fast 9, that's what I'm doing. And so, I wanted to keep that childlike spirit, when it pertained to the cars, building the cars and racing, but have a little bit more wisdom about life and friendship. And so, I hope that comes across in Fast 9 and we'll see. We'll see.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, absolutely. We can. Kind of getting toward the end here, we always like to end with what we call the final lap, just kind of a round of speed questions, about the Fast universe. So let's say we could go back in Tokyo Drift and you could add one other Fast character into Tokyo Drift, that's not in it currently, who would you want? Is there an actor or a character you would have loved to have Sean come across in Tokyo Drift?

Lucas Black:

Oh man, tough one. I guess, Tej and Roman are so funny to me, so I guess Tyrese's character, you know?

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah. You could say the hungry line at him.

Lucas Black:

He makes me laugh, man. He makes me laugh. We've worked together before, so I guess, his character. Yep.

Derek Lawrence: I love that.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

We like to think, too, about, staying on the characters, what some of the people who we saw, what they're doing now? Have you thought about like what someone like Neela could be doing in the future? If you could envision anything for her, where would she be?

Lucas Black:

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of the fans ask about her character too, but her character was kind of detail oriented... Or well, actually she was the field driver. So you could see her just enjoying going out drifting and being on her own, just enjoying drifting down a mountain, somewhere in a private setting. So that's kind of where I see Neela. But yeah, that's kind of cool to think about where all the characters are and where would they be?

Derek Lawrence:

A couple years ago, I took on the task of deciding who in Fast and Furious is the fastest and furiousest, if that's even a word, I would think I might've made it up.

Lucas Black: Come on.

Derek Lawrence:

I did the top 10, I put Sean at seven, because I felt like he was right in the middle. He was fast, but obviously, he slowed down with drifting. So that kind of docked his Fast rating a little. Furious, he was pretty furious. I gave him a high score there. So what do you think, like Sean could use a reevaluation there? Do I need to move him up? Do you think he's faster and furiouser then I have him?

Lucas Black:

You're definitely going to reevaluate after you watch Fast 9.

Derek Lawrence:

Oh.

Lucas Black:

That's right.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson: Oh.

Derek Lawrence: Oh.

Lucas Black:

That's right. I think he's going to move up on the fastest scale, because of the type of car he builds.

Derek Lawrence:

Oh, that's what they call a tease in the business. I love that.

Lucas Black:

Come on. It's funny. It's funny, because when I think about Sean Boswell and Tokyo Drift, there's really two different characters there that you see, the character in America and the character in Japan. There's a little bit of shift. He's into the American muscle, fast, he's furious, doesn't care about anything but himself. He gets attached, has an attraction and affection for Neela, that love interest there. And then he learns the feel of drifting, more of a technique and feeling, and so it's like, looking like your out of control, but in control. And that takes a little bit of an emotional control. And so that is unique about Sean's character in Tokyo Drift.

And so his American character, you would have to evaluate that a little different, because he's up there on the fast and the furious scale. So that's what's cool about this character. And I thought about Tokyo Drift, you kind of saw a shift in his perspective when he went to Japan, but yeah, you might have to reevaluate after Fast 9. I'm curious as how Sean's going to change from a seven.

Derek Lawrence:

I think I might have to do that, because Sung said the same thing about his ranking. I think I had Han nine, just because Han doesn't seem very furious on the surface, but Sung disagreed a little bit. So he thinks there might need to be a redo on nine, too.

Lucas Black: There we go.

Derek Lawrence:

What, not specific to Fast and Furious, but in preparing for this, I had to think, I was like, is Lucas Black, a Sports Movie Hall of Famer? I started thinking, because not only do we have Tokyo Drift, which I think racing, drifting, I think we're calling that a sport.

Lucas Black:

Come on.

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, Mike Winchell, Friday Night Lights and Pee Wee Reese 42, so what do you think? I mean, do you qualify? I think you do. I think you might need to be put in that Sports Movie Hall of Fame.

Lucas Black:

Yep. And I played a professional golfer, in a golf movie Seven Days in Utopia, too, with Robert Duvall. That's right, I got the football-

Derek Lawrence:I mean, that seals the deal. That seals the deal.

Lucas Black:

Come on. Come on. We've got the baseball, racing, golf movie. What is that? That's four, yeah, that's four. But yeah, I've been blessed, man. I've been blessed. I grew up in Alabama playing sports and I grew up outside, playing outside, wasn't indoors, and played baseball, basketball, football, and then I played golf my last two years of high school. Grew up hunting and fishing, and it amazed me, in my career, the skills that I learned as a child, I used every one of them. Somebody asked me, they're like, "Man, what do you think I should do to improve my skills as an actor?" Or, "How can I become a better actor." And I said, "Man, really, just go and learn new skills, because you never know when you're going to use them."

I mean, I learned how to drive boats, being on the water. We lived next to the Tennessee River and a lake, and we'd go hunting and fishing and camping there. And man, I've driven boats in movies, and even in current, by the way, and had to pull it up on the bank in current, but-

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Oh, wow.

Lucas Black:

... driven cars. So listen to this, so Tokyo Drift, I picked up drifting quick, granted I did have the best teacher in the world, so that's one of the reasons. But I grew up, my dad got me a go-kart, and we had about an acre and a half, two acres of land, so I had a dirt track. We built a dirt track, basically, it was grass, it was lawn, but I had went in an oval so many times it became dirt. So really, I learned how to drift before I was a teenager, right? When I was 10 years old, I learned how to drift a go-kart in the back woods of Alabama. And so, hey, all these skills I learned as a child, I was able to use in making these films and movies. It blows me away when I look back on it.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

That's incredible.

Derek Lawrence:

Lucas. I mean, thank you so much for joining us and becoming a part of the BINGE family, and taking us through Tokyo Drift. We really appreciate it.

Lucas Black:

Yeah. Thank you guys for having me, man. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed talking to you guys about it. It's always fun to talk about Tokyo Drift and the fans love it too, man. So that's awesome. Appreciate you guys.

Sung Kang:

There's no wax on wax off to drifting. You learn by doing it. The first drifters invented drifting out here in the mountains, by feeling it. So feel it!

Derek Lawrence:

Thank you, again, to Lucas, who I think had as much fun as we did. And I don't know about you Chanelle, but I'm ready to go back to Tokyo after all this reminiscing.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yes, please. It's become such an important place in The Fast Saga, the lore, the history of it. So, yeah, I need to go back to Tokyo as much as possible, actually, narratively, and also in person.

Derek Lawrence:

A 100%. I'm right there with you. So we covered a lot with Lucas, but there's so much more to discuss, and we're going to do that by handing out some awards. We've talked about it in the past episodes, Fast, deserve some simple awards love, so we're here to give that justice. Chanelle, what's our first category today.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

We're starting, once again, with the one that's inspired by Brian, as he says in the first Fast and Furious movie, "If I win, I take the money and the respect, to some people that's more important." Well, of course Dom's respect, so we get to decide who wins our respect. I think we're probably agreed on this. After that, it just has to be Lucas Black, right?

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah. I mean props to him. Like I said, he was a really fun interview and was really into it. And I still... his, we hungry impersonation if Tyrese is iconic. And non-Lucas Black winners, I think we have to go with whoever had the idea to bring Vin back at the end as Dom.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah.

Derek Lawrence:

Because we should add that was done after the movie was completed. They were test screening it. They were ready to release the sucker in the world. And then someone, I hope we eventually get that information, maybe when we talked to Justin Lin for Fast 4, he'll have all the scoop there. But they decide, all right, let's do a reshoot, let's see if we can get Vin back for this little tag at the end.

And this is where Vin, I mean, Vin's had our respect. I mean, who could have more respect than Dominic Toretto himself, but respect to Vin because he not only springs this cameo into the powerhouse that Fast has become now, nine movies in and all that's done for him. But instead of a paycheck on Tokyo Drift, he negotiated for the ownership rights to Riddick, which he then goes and makes another Riddick movie. So, I mean, that's, literally, living up to Jay Z's famous words, "I'm not a business man. I'm a business, man." That's the definition right there of what Vin did. So, respect to Vin, but most respect to whoever was like, "We got to give Vin a call. We got to get him of here at the end of Tokyo Drift, because it's also such a great scene as well. And I'm glad, Lucas seemed to really enjoy getting to mix those worlds together when that opportunity came to him.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah. I love that we basically have to remember to thank Chronicles of Riddick in some way for Fast continuing. Thanks.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah. I mean, no comment on Riddick, but I'm glad it got us to here. Next up. We've got the, hey, this guy's in the movie. We love to shout out the people that aren't the main stars of these films, but who we look back and we're like, "Oh wow. They were in this?" Whether that's, maybe they were famous in their own right at the time, like Ted Levine in the first one, or they grew in popularity after that. And I think that's the direction we're going on this one. And I mean, the title is, hey, this guy's in the movie, but hey, this woman is in the movie, and that's Amber Stevens West, right?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yes, yes. And it's probably of all of the cameos, maybe the smallest that we'll mention going through each of these movies, because she doesn't really even have a conversation with anybody. She plays cheerleader number one, so it's like very early in her career. And she's the person who starts the race at the beginning of the movie, when the Shangri-La Estates, that's like being half-built, where Sean first gets in trouble, and she takes off her bra to throw it up. She doesn't have a flag or anything. It's like a wild cameo.

And, of course, she's gone on to be in the TV show Greek, which I love. She had a recurring role in Criminal Minds where a few seasons, and, of course, was in 22 Jump Street. So that's like someone, at the time, that nobody was checking for, and that you could miss, if you watch this movie. When you go back, I was like, "Oh right, I know her."

Derek Lawrence:

I'm going to be honest, I love 22 Jump Street. I love Greek. And I've seen Tokyo Drift a million times and I still... You were the one who notified me of this. I never once was sitting through Tokyo Drift, and was like, "Hey, Amber Stevens West." So I'm glad that next time when I do that, I will be able to scream that at my television, so thank you for that Chanelle.

Moving on, the quote of the movie, there's a lot of options on this one. So I'm going to throw a few nominees your way Chanelle, and then, you can decide. I'll give you that power to decide the winner here.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

I love it.

Derek Lawrence:

So we have a lot of Han gems here, so we have, "Come on, this ain't the Boy Scouts, this is what we do."

Sung Kang:

Come on, this ain't the Boy Scouts, this what we do.

Derek Lawrence:

Another Han one here, "I have money, it's trust and character I need around me. Who you choose to be around you, let you know who you are. One car in exchange for knowing what a man's made of. That's a price I can live with." I mean, I used that as the throw to the Lucas interview. So you know I'd like that one.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah. That's a good one.

Derek Lawrence:

Again, we have a Sean and Han back and forth. "What's the point of a race." "To see if I'm better than the other." "Just proves you're faster, that's all." I mean, that's just wise words from Han.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Gosh. Han's so wise in this movie.

Derek Lawrence:

We got two more. We got, of course, and this was a favorite of Lucas's, "You know what DK stand for?" "Donkey Kong."

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Donkey Kong.

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, he's not wrong. He's not wrong. And then lastly, we talked about Vin coming back at the end, and we have Sean, saying, "You know this ain't no 10 second race." And Dom responding, "I ain't got nothing but time." So, where do you land Chanelle?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

I mean, the last one is pretty iconic, because, of course, we talked about how important the cameo is, but you got to give it to, "You know what DK stands for?" "Donkey Kong." Lucas loves that one. It's just a great line.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, it is great delivery too. I think, a lot of these are really dependent on the delivery. We talked about the we hungry line from Tyrese. It's like, if you just say we're hungry, we hungry, that doesn't really do it. It's how you deliver it. And Lucas kind of really nails that. So I'm right there with you. What do we have up next?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

All right. So, of course, now we're going to which Oscar Fast to been nominated for, or really any award, but we'll talk about the Oscars. So I feel like it's another one that's like pretty obvious. You can't really give it to anyone else, but Sung Kang, he comes in, he's so good, so cool, so smooth, so wise, as we've talked about, and then we sort of get the background to that wisdom later. But even at first, I just trust him, and I feel like that should have gotten way more recognition.

Derek Lawrence:

Justice for Sung, that's what I have to say. So yes, I totally agree. Even that first viewing, where maybe I'll admit, I wasn't in love... When I saw Tokyo Drift in the theater, I don't think I walked out, and was like, "Man, that was a classic." I'm just being upfront, but you do walk out being like, man, there was something about that guy. I've never seen him before. I definitely hadn't seen Better Luck Tomorrow at that point. And there was just some... This magnetism, and like you said, he was just so cool that you couldn't help him stick with you. So, yeah, I agree. Sung Kang best supporting actor, just to take a quick look at the nominees to see maybe, how we could've snuck him in.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Where it'd stack up.

Derek Lawrence:

This was a little bit of a controversial year. Eddie Murphy thought he was a lock for Dreamgirls, storms out, when he loses to Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine. I think both of those should stay. We have Mark Wahlberg in The Departed, wild that the one person from The Departed nominated is Mark Wahlberg, but, well, that might have been Mark Wahlberg's best performance of his career, maybe, outside of Boogie Nights. So I mean-

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

True.

Derek Lawrence:

... I won't take that from him. There are two where I think maybe some Sung could have snuck in. Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children, I'm just going to be upfront, never heard of it. So I'm just deciding-

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Oh, really.

Derek Lawrence:

... right there that Sung's sneaking in. I don't know, maybe that's some incredible loss performance that I just threw out the window like it was nothing, but I think that's the one. Or it's still wild that Blood Diamond got two nominate acting nominations. Djimon Hounsou, future Fast star and Leo both get nominated. Djimon is good in Blood Diamond, but that was kind of a weird film to get to two nominations. Of course, people will be like Tokyo Drift is a weird film to get what Oscar nomination, so fair point. But I just say it, I think there's a world we could have got that campaign going. So Sung for an Oscar for Fast 9 coming up in 2022, let's start that campaign now.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Please. I think that would be so great. Yeah. I think the Blood Diamond one is especially surprising to me as much as I Djimon Hounsou, and Jackie Earle Haley was really like big at the time, but I agree that the movie Little children probably is not sticking in people's minds in the same way.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, totally. I mean, we've mentioned it a few times just quick, but the we hungry award has to go to Lucas Black. I mean, you guys heard him do his impersonation of Tyrese's iconic line delivery in the interview, so he's got to win it. I mean, honorable mention, probably to Bow Wow for, literally, being named Twinkie.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Twinkie. Yeah. Yeah. And we don't get it really an explanation for it. So maybe he does just love Twinkies. I don't know.

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, that's one of those things I kind of love that they didn't explain, you know what I mean?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah.

Derek Lawrence:

Somethings we don't need the backstory, just his name's Twinkie, and I like not knowing.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

And now it's sort of like with the Ramsey of like, what is the real name there? I would love to know.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah. That one I could use the answer on, Twinkie, not as much. So I won't classify us not knowing that as the Ja Rule mistake of the week.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

No.

Derek Lawrence

:Instead, the Ja Rule mistake of the week goes to all of us, right?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Derek Lawrence:

I think I just mentioned it. I walked out theater. I wasn't calling up my friends on my landline and telling them they had to go see a Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. I'll admit, I don't think I had a cell phone in 2006, so, sorry if you guys did. But yeah, this is a movie that it's taken awhile for everyone to kind of come around on this. Even I, a former colleague of ours, Molly Smith, a couple of years ago, for one of the Tokyo Drift anniversary, she literally wrote an in defense of Tokyo Drift. We were at the point where she felt the need to defend Tokyo Drift. Meanwhile, we're spending an hour plus just throwing praise on, praise on it, so that's just kind of shows you that evolution. So, I mean, do you think that's fair that we... I mean, I hate to give ourselves an award, but I mean, it's kind of negative, so I'll take it.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Our like version of the Razzie for ourselves. Yeah. I absolutely agree. I definitely... It was a movie that I didn't hate. It's part of Fast. I really appreciated it. But at the same time, every time I would push my friends to watch the franchise, I'd be like, but skip Tokyo Drift, at least for now, maybe come back to it later. Just because, A, I wanted everybody to fall in love with the core of the Fast and Furious people. But then, also just like in comparison, at the time, it just didn't hold as much weight in my heart and stuff like that. Now, it's become so important that I can look back on it with much more appreciation for it as a whole.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah. I mean, we've now seen, there's literally... The Han death scene in Tokyo Drift, we've seen like five times in other movies. So it's like Tokyo Drift might have the longest runtime somehow at the end of the day too.

Wrapping up, we always end with this award, because we know that winning's winning. So we have to pick the ultimate winner of Tokyo Drift. Chanelle, where's your heart driving you to?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

I think we got to do a co-winner one on this one, because you can't, you can't really pull them apart. The Han character is tied to Justin Lin, the director. So I want to say him and Sung Kang together. Sung Kang for the performance, obviously, and making Han, so dear to us in the Fast franchise. And then Justin Lin for bringing him into the franchise, and taking this character from his other movie, and starting him on this journey that probably has now gone beyond either of their imaginations.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah. I can't imagine they were sitting there and filming Han's death in Tokyo Drift, and being like, yep, so we're going to actually come back to this in Fast 6, and then, in Fast 9, it'll be revealed that you're actually still alive. Yeah. I can't imagine they imagined that, considering this was a movie that, the expectations, I don't think were super high, even for the people making it. This is almost a direct to DVD at one point. So, no, you're totally right. The co-winner Sung Kang and Justin Lin.

I mean, Justin Lin now has become one of the best action in film. Coming into this, he had done Better Luck Tomorrow, which was definitely an indie darling, and had a lot of fans. Annapolis was kind of like, wasn't a huge movie, and Annapolis had its fair share of fans, but you walk into Tokyo Drift and the expectations are super high, just because of what those first two films were. And then you just kind of end up taking the franchise to new Heights, both literally and figuratively. So, yeah, I'm totally with you on Justin and Sung being our ultimate winners here.

Like Anthony Hopkins though at the Oscar, Sung and Justin are not here to accept their award. So we'll just wrap up the show there. Thanks again to Lucas for joining us, like Brian O'Connor, we hope we earned your respect, and that you'll keep listening to EWs BINGE of The Fast Saga, when next week we're welcoming, the aforementioned, Justin Lin to talk Fast and Furious, the fourth film, not the whole franchise. Which is a very confusing thing that we'll make sure to grill him on, because we need to figure out what happened there. Why did we do that?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah. Why?

Derek Lawrence:

I feel like there was a better name for the fourth film that wouldn't have just been as confusing to explain to people for the last 10 plus years.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

I feel like he's got a little justification now, though, or a little vindication, because of The Suicide Squad, Suicide Squad movie thing that's happening.

Derek Lawrence:

That's fair. I wonder if this is the part of the reason they're pivoting to saga. They're calling it The Fast Saga instead of just Fast and Furious, to really differentiate that fourth film. So, hopefully, we'll get answers from him on the next episode. In the meantime, please subscribe and listen along every week, wherever you get your podcasts, rate us, tell us what you think, share it with your friends and family.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

You can find us on twitter at @derekjlawrence or me @chanelleberlin.com.

Derek Lawrence:

Also head to ew.com for complete coverage of The Fast Saga and full episode transcripts.

This episode was hosted and produced by Derek Lawrence and Chanelle Berlin Johnson. Produced, edited and mixed by Samee Junio, and executive produced by Carly Usdin and Shana Naomi Krochmal.

Thanks for listening, and until next time salud, mi podcast familia.

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