It was rumored last week and is now official. Thai action star Tony Jaa, whose ONG-BAK films redefined the action film in his native land, will make his Hollywood debut next year with a role in the seventh installment of the FAST & FURIOUS series.
It is rumored that Jaa will play a member of the villain gang, led by Jason Statham, who had signed at the time FAST & FURIOUS 6 was released. Statham will play Ian Shaw, the brother of F&F 6 villain Owen Shaw, played by Luke Evans. Returning as the trio of racing heroes are Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, and Dwayne Johnson. Jaa, who has been learning English, had this to say in an e-mail confirming his signing to the role:
“I have been a big fan of the Fast and Furious franchise. The films are fast-paced, fun and keep the audience involved. There is a great mix of humour and action, something I really appreciate. There is no better film to be involved in for a first US studio production. Having a chance to work with Vin Diesel and The Rock already makes me a winner.”
Shooting begins in September under the direction of James Wan (SAW), who takes over directing duties from Justin Lin, who directed the series since the third installment, TOKYO DRIFT. FAST & FURIOUS 7 is being tracked for a July 11, 2014 release date.