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The Fate of the Furious promises a different perspective on Dominic Toretto, the heroic car thief-turned-automotive superman played by Vin Diesel since 2001’s The Fast and the Furious. The latest trailer for the eighth Furious film offers fans a closer look at Dom’s betrayal of his family, although it’s still unclear precisely why he betrays his closest allies to join forces with Charlize Theron’s Cipher. In an exclusive conversation, Diesel offered some tantalizing hints about how The Fate of the Furious transforms the franchise.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: From the moment we met him, Dom has been focused on keeping his family together. Were you nervous about taking him in this darker direction, battling against his own family?
VIN DIESEL: We have been talking the talk. Now it was time to walk the walk. Of course I was worried about going down such a dark road… but in some ways, there was little reason to continue if we weren’t going to challenge our characters and the fans’ faith in our saga.

Can you describe Dom’s relationship to Charlize Theron’s character, Cipher? In the new trailer, she says that Dom almost saw her in London and Abu Dhabi, a reference the sixth and seventh movies. Has she been the main villain of this saga all along?
Everyone in the world thought Letty was dead, including the studio and Michelle Rodriguez. But I fought for her character, because I knew there was something about their relationship that provided a core heart to the saga. When she signs up with Owen Shaw [in Furious 6], she is put on Cipher’s radar. It all starts in London, in some ways.

In the newest trailer, Dom says he has no choice. Was it different preparing to play Dom in this film, given that he seems to be in an such a desperate and tortured state of mind?
Very different. I knew that I was going to have to go to a dark place, part of the reason I returned to Xander [in XXX: The Return of Xander Cage] beforehand, to laugh a little onscreen before returning to Dom. It was an intense experience, to say the least. I only hope that the audience enjoys the journey despite the dark road ahead.

The Fate of the Furious
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