[Warning: this story contains spoilers for The Fate of the Furious]
With The Fate of the Furious, family took on a whole new meaning.
The villainous hacker Cipher (Charlize Theron) manipulated Dom (Vin Diesel) into doing her bidding, and for a time it was unclear why. Then, there was a bombshell revelation.
Cipher had kidnapped Elena (Elsa Pataky), the Brazilian police officer and former romantic interest of Dom. Not only that, Elena had secretly given birth to Dom's son and had been kidnapped before being able to tell him she was pregnant.
The dramatic premise gave Pataky and Diesel the chance to deliver some of the franchise's most emotional scenes yet, with help from their young, scene-stealing co-star who played their son. In a heartbreaking scene, Elena is executed in front of Dom, and he's left to honor Elena's memory by raising their son (named after Paul Walker's Brian) with help from Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and the rest of his crew.
In a conversation with Heat Vision, Pataky opens up about her final days on set, saying goodbye to the franchise and if this truly is the end for Elena.
It was very sad and surprising your character died. What did you think when you learned Elena's fate?
I think all stories have to have a beginning and an end, and it was a long trip for this character. The relationship with Dom and her job were really interesting. They were in love, but then Letty came and he was in two different relationships. It was a beautiful way to end it. Very dramatic and very sad. All of the emotions I dealt with.
What did you think of the ending, with your onscreen son meeting his new family and him being named for Paul Walker's Brian?
It's great. She trusted Dom and knew he would care for him. It was really beautiful at the end, [that you know] he will take care of their son. She lived for a cause and she died for a cause. That will be a story that will forever be in the franchise.
You and Vin had some great scenes together. How did you prepare for those challenging scenes, particularly your death scene?
They were very dramatic scenes and very special moments in the movie. I'm a mom, and just having all those feelings of your children in danger - I was thinking of my young kids and if something would happen to them. I would want to save them. I think it's good being a mom [for this part]. And Vin, he's a dad. He's got three kids, so I think in those dramatic moments, we were having those feelings for real.
You never know with this franchise if a "death" will be permanent. Do you think this really is the end for Elena?
You never know. You didn't see Elena die, so you never know. In this franchise, there are characters you think are dead, and they come back. So there's always a hope. We'll see.
What comes to mind when you think of your last day at work on this movie and saying goodbye to the franchise?
It was really emotional, because it's like a family.... There's going to be a bond with all of us. My relationship with Vin is crazy, we really like each other and we have beautiful moments to share. Every time I come to work with him, we just have another one. It made me really happy because it's something special.