Michelle Rodriguez is leveraging for more screen time in the Fast and Furious franchise in a very visible way. The actress took to Instagram on Tuesday to announce the digital release of The Fate of the Furious (the eighth installment), and to let fans and industry insiders have a piece of her mind.
“F8 is out digitally today, I hope they decide to show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one,” she captioned a collage of herself in several scenes from the action-packed flicks. “Or I just might have to say goodbye to a loved franchise. It’s been a good ride & Im grateful for the opportunity the fans & studio have provided over the years… One Love.”
Aside from Rodriguez, several of the action series’ more familiar female faces include Jordana Brewster, Helen Mirren, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Nathalie Kelley and Charlize Theron, who appeared in The Fate of the Furious. Their male counterparts – Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Jason Statham, Chris Ludacris Bridges, Kurt Russell and Vin Diesel – have traditionally been given meatier parts in the ensemble cast series, which has grossed over $5 billion worldwide.
This isn’t the first time that Rodriguez, who has been a part of the franchise since its 2001 debut, has spoken out about her frustrations with the films’ male-heavy casting. Last month, she and the rest of the female cast members sat down with Entertainment Weekly to tear into the issue.
“I’ve been making movies with Jordana, who plays the sister of Dom Toretto [Vin Diesel], for 16 years and I can count on one hand how many lines I’ve had to her,” Rodriguez told EW. “I think that’s pathetic and [shows a] lack of creativity.”
In the Fast and the Furious series, Rodriguez plays Letty, who often acts as Dom’s advocate but little else, she said in the interview. Rodriguez’s proposed solution for this disconnect would be to have a woman come in and fill in the blanks at the screenwriting stage of the flick.
“What I would do is I would have a guy write the franchise because it’s a very big, highly-paced, action-adventure ride,” she said. “I would have a guy lay that out, but with intentions of leaving slots for female camaraderie. Then, I’d have a girl come in and write out that dialogue because the guys suck at it. I’ve been rewriting my lines forever. … you know, there aren’t a lot of guys out there who really understand that the female voice is independent.”
According to The Wrap, there is still statistically major room for improvement in this realm: the next 149 movies by major studios over the next three years includes just 12 female directors, a mere 1 percent improvement over 2016’s figures.