Yes, the makers of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise have staged countless car races throughout the years. But the one that opens the latest film, “The Fate of the Furious,” is more historic than the others.
It’s the first Hollywood movie sequence shot in Cuba since the United States economic embargo was imposed more than 50 years ago. And the scene is as complicated as any other from the franchise. It features Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) in a rusted-out 1950 Chevrolet Fleetline, and his competitor Raldo (Celestino Cornielle) in a 1956 Ford Fairlane, weaving their way through the streets of Havana.
“You’ve never been to Cuba in the way that we take you to Cuba,” said the film’s director, F. Gary Gray. In an interview in New York, he discussed how he won approval to shoot there, what it took to bring in an American helicopter for aerial shots and the process of making a Hollywood movie in a country with limited resources. Here are edited excerpts from that conversation.