Talking to Scott Eastwood about Fast & Furious 8 (also known in the US as The Fate of the Furious) isn't what you'd imagine talking to one of the franchise's stars to be like.
“I'm a huge huge fan,” he tells me, sprawled on a sofa in a London hotel suite, rather enthused. “From the first one, I was a die-hard fan. I like original concepts – the first movie was an original concept.”
He's not wrong: when racing thriller The Fast and the Furious accelerated its way onto cinema screens in 2001, not even the film's lead stars Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez could have anticipated quite the behemoth it has since become. When considering its box office takings of $3.9bn (£3.1bn) globally – making it Universal's most successful property – it's almost a struggle to recall that third entry Tokyo Drift (2006), which ditched the main cast in favour of a new story altogether (Diesel cameo notwithstanding), almost put the brakes on the entire thing.
Fast forward a decade and the franchise's eighth (yep, eighth) film is about to be released boasting quite the ensemble; alongside returning cast members – take a breath – Diesel, Rodriguez, Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jason Statham and Kurt Russell, the sequel has drafted in Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren and, of course, Eastwood (as Russell's cop partner, Little Nobody) for more of the high-octane same. Not bad going.
One notable absentee, however, is Paul Walker, the franchise's original poster boy who died in a car crash while film number seven was being shot in 2013. Eastwood may have never got to appear on screen with the actor, who played Brian O'Conner in five films, but the two had been friends ahead – which made Eastwood initially think twice about signing to the project.
“[Saying yes] wasn’t a no-brainer. I think it was a little emotionally charged because of Paul. But then I realised that this was an incredible opportunity to be a part of something that continues on his legacy. I was like, 'I've got to do this thing'."
One of the franchise’s key themes is the element of family: the characters at the heart of the series pride themselves on their bond, and most films typically end with a speech about its importance. While it's a cliché to admit, Eastwood claims that the camaraderie you see on screen is exactly how it is, even when the loss of their co-star and friend dampened their spirits.
“There were definitely days that were hard,” he levels. “There were days that were emotional, days that would hit you left-field. But there were days you just knew he was watching down over all of us. We would tell stories about Paul. It was nice. It was really nice.”
Speaking of family, it may have escaped you that Eastwood's father is a rather famous individual himself, namely Clint Eastwood. Rather than hang off his coat-tails, however, the 31-year-old actor earned his first on-screen credit in 2004 (dance film You Got Served) under a different moniker altogether: Scott Reeves (his mother's maiden name). No shouts of nepotism here – not that Hollywood makes that route accessible.
Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a 30-day free trialSign up
“It doesn't work like that," Eastwood says, resisting an eye roll. "He can’t just pick up the phone and say ‘cast my son.' It’s not like I didn’t have to audition for Fast & Furious because of who my father is."
In fact, early in his career, Eastwood would find himself auditioning for roles in his father's very own films, eventually scoring small appearances in 2006 war thriller Flags of Our Fathers and drama Gran Torino in 2008. Despite Clint's no-nonsense directing approach (“He was hard on me on set,” the junior Eastwood says), the two have a collaboration in the works.
"We're actually looking to do something. We're just trying to find the time." A western, perhaps? His personal favourite of Clint's films is his 1992 Oscar-winner Unforgiven, after all. At this, Eastwood smirks: “It'd have to be the right one.”
Even if it takes a while for the pair to firm something up, Eastwood is in no danger of inactivity. He'll next act alongside Star Wars lead John Boyega in Pacific Rim: Uprising, the follow-up to Guillermo del Toro's sci-fi monster mash, which will arrive next February – he promises “lots of fun” – while a reprisal of Lt GQ Edwards in the Suicide Squad sequel looks likely.
Beyond that, he's not sure; if he had the choice, he would work with Sir Ridley Scott in a heartbeat (“I hear he's quick”) and he's not too fussed about the modelling (“I don't associate myself with it”). In actual fact, if he knew before what he knew now, he's not even sure he'd be an actor.
“There's a lot of two-facedness [in Hollywood],” he winces. “Some real scoundrels.”
Still, with Fast & Furious 8 being the first of a final trilogy, surely the gears are shifted for Eastwood to rejoin his faster, more furious family? “I'm hoping so,” he exclaims, before repeating: “I'm a huge fan!” It's difficult not to hope he gets that call.
Fast & Furious 8 is released on 12 April
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies