Speaking with Esquire, “Fast X” director Louis Leterrier talked about the film’s grounded approach to action despite the over-the-top nature of the stunts — probably because the only place to go after you go to space … is back to the ground.
This doesn’t mean erasing CGI completely, though. “CGI does help though,” Leterrier explained. “It’s made things safer in the way that we no longer use any live rounds, but sometimes it becomes a little too easy, and the human eye is so aware of what’s real and what’s not.” Instead, he looked at the way movies like “Avatar” have practical sets so the actors had real things to interact with, and did something similar in “Fast X:”
“Vin [Diesel] was not in the car suspended by helicopters, but he truly was in a gimbal 20 feet up in the air that was going up and down, and I was not pulling punches on that. That’s the truth, because when you see them jumping and feeling the zero G, there was really a moment of zero G when we dropped this incredible gimbal.”
According to Leterrier, they really did use a car with something bolted on top to shake it around like it was a real helicopter, and it made a lot of difference in the final result. “That’s when you get the truth — you don’t get acting, you get reacting,” he added. “There’s true acting needed, of course, because you have to imagine the reality of everything, but there’s a lot of real reacting that happens, too.”