‘Fate of the Furious’ Director F. Gary Gray Responds to Michelle Rodriguez Criticisms
Fast and Furious franchise star Michelle Rodriguez made waves this week with her comment that the film series needs to “give more love” to its female characters, driving her point home with the faint threat of exiting the franchise. And while her diplomatically-phrased initial statement was hardly furious, the response to it has arrived in a manner I can describe only as... fast.
Fate of the Furious director F. Gary Gray, promoting the home video release of the latest film in the franchise, sat down with Business Insider and offered up a formal rejoinder to Rodriguez’s remarks. Gray kept it civil, but firmly contradicted Rodriguez’s claim that women have gotten the short end of the screentime stick:
“Here’s the thing, I’m the new guy and I thought with Fate of the Furious as it relates to women, I thought there was a strong representation of women in the movie when you bring on what I thought was one of the strongest antagonists in Charlize Theron. And then you have Helen Mirren, who has a cameo that’s strong... I can’t speak for Michelle, she has a very specific point of view and I can’t take anything away from that, but I would like to think that with The Fate of the Furious specifically, I can’t speak to the other films, I thought the combination of female characters was pretty strong.“
Let me start by offering a hearty lol to the notion that the empirically awful Cipher could be one of the franchise’s strongest antagonists, but that’s really neither here nor there. And a second, more minor lol to his supposition that women don’t have it all that bad and then using a cameo as supportive evidence. Apart from that, Gray doesn’t offer up a whole lot of evidence to the contrary, perhaps even proving Rodriguez’s initial point without realizing it. Whether this has any effect on the next film — either in Rodriguez’s absence, or the reshaping of her character — will be a key question in the coming production cycle.