'Fast Five' Favors Spectacle Over Teeny Brazilian Bikinis

Universal Pictures

THR caught up with Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in Rio for the inside story on the year's first smash hit movie.

Wait a minute! The fifth movie in an action franchise is supposed to be less popular than the rest -- but Fast Five is the year's biggest domestic hit so far. It could double the opening weekend grosses of Rio. It scored 50 percent higher on Rottentomatoes than the first film in the series, 2001's The Fast and the Furious, and almost three times higher than 2009's Fast and Furious. It got a perfect A CinemaScore.

Fast Five is expected to be the biggest opening in Universal history, racing right past Lost World: Jurassic Park. It's already made way more money than the $100 million in the bank vault that Paul Walker and Vin Diesel drag at top speed behind their muscle car through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, towing it like an overweight waterskier. Almost 200 cars are said to have been demolished for the scene. It was worth it. If you drive slower than Walker and Diesel to go see the movie, it could be sold out before you get there.

At the April 15 world premiere of Fast Five in Rio, the stars and filmmakers told The Hollywood Reporter what it was like making a historic hit, and what they're up to next.

The Hollywood Reporter: Why return to the franchise?

Paul Walker: The physical challenge. I like having to figure out how to pull things off, how to sell it, how to make it look real, but not just real, make it look better.

THR: How is this film different from the others?

Neal H. Moritz [producer]: We didn't just want to make a movie that was bigger. It is bigger, but we wanted to make a movie that evolved into this big heist film, bringing all the cast together from all five movies and then adding The Rock [Dwayne Johnson] just made a huge difference. Plus we shot in Rio, Puerto Rico, Atlanta and the Mojave Desert. Just a massive, massive production with probably over 1,000 crew members.

Matthew Schulze: This one has some more heart in it and they let me create a character [the heroes' dangerous favela-dwelling accomplice Vince] that had depth. It has actual story and content -- and sure, all the fights and explosions.

Elsa Pataky: It's a mix between action, explosions, guns, there's a big fight. But also what is important is love, family and friendship. My character, she becomes a police office because of love.

THR: Why don't the women in the movie wear the teeny bikinis I see on the beach?

Jordana Brewster: I have Brazilian bikinis and they cover half your butt. I was surprised that when I got to Brazil the bikinis have gotten so small -- they've actually progressed to a smaller size. We don't showcase how small bikinis are. Maybe in the sixth.

Ludacris: It's PG-13 so we had to keep it, kinda, in there.

Moritz: It's a little thing called the MPAA, those things aren't really allowed in trailers for PG-13 movies. But we try to push it as far as we can. Believe me, I would have liked to have shown the thong.

THR: Are there any production incentives in Rio?

Moritz: No, no rebates at all. It's an expensive place. There was a point where the movie was getting so expensive that we almost didn't get to come to Rio, but we insisted and luckily the studio saw that it was the right thing to do.

Vin Diesel: It was a dream to shoot here. In Fast and Furious 4, Dom and Letty are on the beach and Letty says, "Rio is beautiful this time of year.' We didn't believe the studio would let us shoot in Rio.

THR: This is the first Fast and Furious that will be seen in IMAX, right?

Justin Lin [director]: Yes. With Blu-ray and stuff, people can really have a theatrical experience at home, and that's amazing. But they will never have an IMAX experience.

THR: Ludacris, what's your track on the soundtrack?

Ludacris: At the end of the movie, it's called "Furiously Dangerous." It's me featuring Slaughterhouse, that's one of Eminem's groups.

THR: Would you ever want your music on Glee?

Ludacris: Anything's possible.

THR: What's different about this movie versus the previous ones?

Ludacris: There's more action. There's more cars. There's more women. There's more swag. More everything!

Reporting by Sofia M. Fernandez