F9 has made its mark at the box office this summer, and the stars of the film are delighted with the support given by the fans, which means so much more this time around. The franchise has been around for two decades now, meaning stars like Vin Diesel have played the same character for 20 years. But Nathalie Emmanuel, who plays Ramsey, is a relative newcomer to the franchise, making her debut in 2015’s Furious 7, and the actress recently recalled her first day being on set of a Fast and Furious movie.
Nathalie Emmanuel was already a star on Game of Thrones, but walking onto a Fast and Furious movie set for the first time must have been quite the experience. With Fast and Furious having already been around for a while by the time she joined, she pretty much reacted to the situation in a way that’s incredibly understandable. In regard to her first day working on set, Emmanuel told Collider:
Nathalie Emmanuel is right when she says it’s common to be nervous coming into a new project, especially when it’s a massive one that features actors you’ve personally been watching for years. Emmanuel’s first scene as Ramsey has her describing the veteran characters’ roles and calling out the Fast family, so it must have been an interesting first day.
Ramsey is introduced in Furious 7 as the tech genius who created the “God’s Eye” device that the film’s villains are trying to get their hands on. Ultimately, it doesn’t take long for Ramsey to become a full member of the Fast family, and she’s been a significant part of the franchise ever since. Nathalie Emmanuel talks about Ramsey’s attitude in her introduction, saying:
It’s funny to hear the contrast between Ramsey’s on-screen feelings and Nathalie Emmanuel’s true thoughts. but now that she’s been a part of some of the craziest stunts and set pieces in the entire Fast franchise, it’s fair to say she’s comfortable. And it seems like the cast was a bit more welcoming to Nathalie Emmanuel than John Cena, who says they were a bit apprehensive about him joining the franchise until he earned everyone’s approval.
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The future of The Fast Saga is positioning characters like Ramsey and her female counterparts to be at the forefront of the franchise in the future, and we cant wait to see how everything will change when the main saga ends with Fast 11. But while you wait for the next installments, you can now rent F9 through VOD and experience the newest entry into the saga in your home.
Since her debut in 2015 with Furious 7 as the master computer hacker Ramsey, British actress Nathalie Emmanuel (whom Game of Thrones fans know as Missandei) has carved out her own real estate in the iconic franchise. In F9, she is firmly part of the crew, but, as Emmanuel shares, it did not start out that way.
“Ramsey definitely came into the group as a kind of loner; someone who was very much used to being and getting into mischief on her own,” she shares. “So coming into the group was a real culture shock for her, suddenly having a team of people to look out for her. Throughout the Fast & Furious movies that I’ve been a part of, we’ve really seen how she’s acclimated and assimilated into the group.”
That established comfort level allows Ramsey to stretch a bit more in F9, Emmanuel shares. “She’s taking a lot more leadership. She’s taking a lot more responsibility in the group and bringing her expertise and her very, very specific skills to help everybody and she’s fully committed to that,” Emmanuel explains. “In this movie, we get to see her be pushed outside of her comfort zone again. She’s kind of forced to do things that are not within her remit. And, it’s quite a fun sequence where we see her not as confident as we’re used to seeing.”
Emmanuel says she wanted to join The Fast and the Furious “because it’s an iconic franchise.” But it also, she says, means something to her personally. “I remember being a kid, and suddenly, seeing these films where people that look like me were being represented as the heroes,” she continues. “I just hadn’t really seen that before. And, so, the idea that I got to be a part of that legacy and that representation made me just really excited to put myself forward for it. And here we are many years later.”
Growing up and working as an actress of color in England, Emmanuel, who is from Southend-on-Sea in England, says she is very aware of the challenges. “As a Black mixed person in the UK industry, there really wasn’t opportunity and that seems to be the case for lots of people from minority backgrounds, like they just weren’t getting the opportunities, or their stories where they could be represented were just not being told in the same way. And it seems that, in the US, while there’s still a lot of work to be done in the industry in terms of opportunity in the kind of mainstream sense, the industry is just bigger, and, seemingly, there was just more space.”
As a kid who enjoyed acting, singing and dancing, Emmanuel says she really didn’t envision a career until she saw one woman. “I remember being really young, and I watched The Flintstones and I saw Halle Berry. I was like, ‘Oh, wow! We can do that? We can do that as a job? Like, that’s amazing!’ She was one of the early examples of where I saw myself in cinema, in which I thought, ‘Oh, okay, this is something I could do.’”
And done it she has. Being part of just one pop culture phenom would be a huge accomplishment, in and of itself, for most actors. But Emmanuel has done even better and been in two—Game of Thrones and The Fast and the Furious. “The characters are very different,” Emmanuel says of Missandei and Ramsey. “The thing that they have in common is that they’re both very brilliant women and that’s something that I’ve always been attracted to. . . So it’s kind of crazy to be a part of both of those things. But, I’ve had just very positive experiences either way, so I can’t complain.”