'Fast & Furious 6': Justin Lin and His Cast Roar Into London for World Premiere
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson and the rest of the stars drive gathered crowds crazy outside of Empire Leicester Square.
LONDON -- Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Michelle Rodriquez roared onto the cool blue carpet to set fans' hearts and engines racing with the world premiere of Universal's Fast & Furious 6.
Also revving up outside the famed Empire Leicester Square theater for the latest franchise entry -- which is set to park up in U.S. theaters May 24 -- was Ludacris, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriquez, Elsa Pataky, Gina Carano and Luke Evans.
Rodriquez sparked crowd interest, returning to the franchise after her character returns from the dead, helping to fuel the sexual tension in between the main characters and their cars.
The sixth installment sees the return of Dom Teretto (Diesel) and former FBI agent Brian O'Conner (Walker), who agree to help Luke Hobbs (Johnson) hunt down some European car thieves participating in "vehicular warfare."
Justin Lin, whose resume boasts the sixth franchise entry as director and counts three previous installments on his work roster, marked a return to the British capital for the shindig.
The sixth movie was shot in the U.K. for the most part and features strongly in the European leg of the cars, chases and stunts heavy picture.
Universal dropped some cash on the event turning Leicester Square into a grid with mash up motors from both sides of the pond, start of race girls wearing short shorts and fire flares heating up the atmosphere outside the theater.
The blue carpet stars were asked questions beamed in from stateside fans to make the largely U.S. cast not feel too homesick.
Diesel delighted the locals with a big shout out "to the Londoners," after the movie shot in the capital during last summer's Olympics 2012.
He also joked that him being a producer as well as starring in it made no difference. "All of them," Diesel said when asked who annoyed him from the cast.
Rodriquez, who was assisted to the open air stage by a handful of helpers because her dress was so long, explained it away with aplomb.
"I'm just trying to lose the tank tops and cargo pants, know what I'm saying," she grinned.
Lin's arrival left fans putting up with the typically unpredictable British weather of (mostly) sunshine and showers delighted.
There were a few shoutouts for him to return to direct the already planned seventh outing.
Inside the packed theater, producer of all six movies Neal H. Moritz thanked Universal for supporting the endeavors of "12 years of my life."
Lin introduced his cast bringing to the stage the franchise's myriad members.
Lin described Diesel as his "creative partner" who has sat up with him from dusk to dawn talking "over every detail of the film."
Diesel's speech was interrupted by a shout out for "the Rock."
"The Rock? He couldn't be here tonight," Diesel said to a disappointed crowd.
Diesel said without Universal the movies "simply wouldn't exist."
Lin is not planning to direct the next one after Universal opted to put its production on the fast track that would have meant Lin starting prep on it before the sixth one was finished.
Lin's Fast debut, Tokyo Drift, grossed $158 million worldwide, and the most recent, 2011's Fast Five, gearing up four times as much: $626 million.
With the most recent movie breathing new life into what was considered a tired franchise, Fast & Furious 6 now one of the more anticipated films of the summer.
The large crowds waiting for a glimpse of the franchise drivers certainly indicate a healthy appetite for all things fast and furious.
Afterwards, Universal whisked off an invite only crowd to Somerset House on the Strand for a party to celebrate the launch.