Playing the tech guy in a series of heist movies like the "Fast and Furious" franchise often means you have to sit out most of the big all-out brawls, but that wasn't working for Ludacris. So for "Furious 7" he wanted to make sure his character, Tej, gets to whoop some ass. Oh, and drive some pretty nice cars, too.
When you're teaming up people like Vin Diesel, Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson to fight each other, is there a lot of negotiation about who's allowed to win so as not to bruise any egos?
Or is there a winner? Their all very A-list guys, and when it comes to fight scenes in movies, they … you know. That's what when the Rock and Vin were in a fight scene we called it King Kong versus Godzilla. (laughs) You never know with that type of stuff. No one's going to get their ass completely kicked.
You usually get to avoid the fights, though.
I got a fight scene, finally, in this movie. So we're good. You know, I'm behind the scenes with the computers, the brains of the operation. I was pushing for one, though. It wasn't in the script, I had to get it in there. So it was only right. I was like, "Here's an opportunity here where I can kick some ass." I've been practicing this martial art called 52 Blocks, so I was able to kind of do a demo reel and show the director and the producer what it was that I wanted to do, and they were able to incorporate it. So we're good.
What does 52 Blocks incorporate?
Fifty-Two Blocks is a lot of knees, elbows and head in it, and it's been around for a long time but it kind of got popularized in the jail system. It's called Jailhouse Rock, and that's why it's close-quarters kind of stuff, so much elbows, knees and head and getting the fight over as quick as possible. It's a kind of street fighting thing. You never know what to expect.
Do you want to do more stuff like that in movie where maybe you're the star?
Hell yeah, I would love to. You start putting the word out and we're good. We'll figure it out. We will figure it out.
Working on these films is just a nice excuse to go to some pretty spectacular locations, right?
Abu Dhabi was the most insane just because it's like, so many super-cars, so much money. It's those open roads in the desert, you can just … fly. And everybody's competing over who can have the most exclusive car. That's something you want to aspire to do, get that kind of money.
If money were no object, what would be your most important car purchase?
I love the Ford GT more than all of the cars I've driven, man. I love that car. Stick shift, the way it's designed. It's not as popular as all the rest, I love it. And it's American.
What was your favorite ride in this film?
Probably the Bugatti — not to be cliché, but that s— is like a spaceship on wheels, you know? It's so much fun. If you literally accidentally tap the damn pedal, it's moving. So much torque.
So is this it, or are there plans to keep the franchise going?
I think we'll let the fans dictate if there's going to be another one, so we'll see. There's a lot of excitement about it, but it's almost like we need a moment of silence for Paul. We'll see.
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick