The highly anticipated F9 hits theaters Friday, June 25, starring VIN DIESEL and NATHALIE EMMANUEL, the July/August cover stars of Men’s Health and Women’s Health. Below, the franchise favorites open up about their new film, staying fit during the pandemic and what the future holds.
Nathalie Emmanuel for Women’s Health Magazine
On the years of negative self-talk and how social media sparked a reset for her: “You know how on Facebook it shows you a memory of yourself from six years ago or four years ago? A picture came up on my phone, and I went, ‘I look so great!’ But I also remember that at the time [of that photo], I thought I was overweight and needed to do all these unhealthy things. We just beat ourselves up constantly, and we’re never perfect enough.”
On shifting her point of view with her body image: “I had to change how I interacted with exercise and decide what I wanted to get from it.”
On her passion for yoga: “What I love about yoga is there’s no pressure to be the best at it,” she says. “Even if you just lie on your mat for the hour and breathe with intention, you’re doing yoga.” Her dedication to the practice started back when she was 18 and going through a tough time. “My mental health was deteriorating, and I took my first class in reaction to it,” she says. Something clicked, and yoga remains instrumental for Nathalie’s overall wellness.
On the transition to becoming vegan: She decided to try veganism for a week. The results were quick and noticeable. She was sleeping better and waking up without an alarm. Other friends were dousing her in compliments about how bright she looked. “Then I did it for two weeks and felt even more energized,” she says. “And then I was like, “That’s it; I’m going for a month!” The final test was going home to England and eating some of her mother’s nonvegan dishes. “She made all the delicious things I ate growing up, and I thought, I’m not feeling so good, actually. Then I said, “Oh, guys…I think I’m vegan.” That was eight years ago.
Vin Diesel for Men’s Health Magazine
On the legacy of the Fast & Furious franchise: “…’[I]t’s not uncommon that I’ll give a speech on set where I’ll say, ‘We’re making this franchise for people that are no longer with us,’ which is very real, and the implications of that are very heavy. ‘But at the same time, we’re making the franchise for the people that aren’t born yet.’ When you have a unique perspective of creating a franchise that spans generations, you realize, okay, we all have to be as brilliant as possible. We have to reach as high as we can. Because it may be more important than just a movie. More important than two hours of escapism. There may be something more at play.”
On being a daredevil growing up: “When you grow up in the city, you grow up on public transportation, now, I was a daredevil, so I actually was a good driver—which doesn’t seem to make sense, but I rode everything with wheels in the most dangerous city in the world. That started with skateboards in the street at five years old, which led to banana-seat bikes, which led ultimately to motorcycles. Nothing makes you a better driver than having to navigate New York City cabs on an XR750.”
On Paul Walker and ending the franchise at Fast 10: “We walked into this bodega, and people just cannot believe that Dom and Brian are walking into a bodega…and one of the guys said, ‘Brian.’ One of the guys called him Brian. And when we left, and we were in the car, he said, ‘That’s my favorite thing. It’s my favorite thing when people call me Brian.’ And it always stuck with me. Because he was so adamant about it. To him it was a beautiful compliment. I still think about it to this day, because it just says so much, that there was so much pride in this iconic character he created. It was his creation, his superhero, and that moment represented a simpler life, I guess. And it made me want to protect that even more, because that mountain looming that is Fast 10—that’s what we promised each other, that we would take this franchise and end it at Fast 10.”
On his next steps after Fast & Furious: “I promised myself I would try to make the Hannibal trilogy. Part of creating mythology in Riddick and creating worlds like Fast, in some bizarre way, was preparation for the ultimate task…On some level, there is that voice that says, My God, you’ve done it, you’ve created this mythology out of scratch. But the Fast finale weighs on me. Right now, Fast 10 is Everest.”
[Photo Credit: Men’s Health: OLAV STUBBERUD, Women’s Health: NIK HARTLEY]