Vin Diesel on Why Rita Moreno Was a 'Natural' Casting Choice for 'Fast X' (Exclusive)

Moreno joins the star-studded franchise's final installment, out May 19.

When it comes to the Fast franchise, Vin Diesel knows how to recruit new members. Diesel spoke to ET's Nischelle Turner at the Fast X trailer release party, about why Rita Moreno was a natural casting choice for the film's final installment.

"So much of the saga has kind of been about fatherhood," Diesel began. "The quintessential moment in the first film, Dom is talking about his father. And at some point, I felt like the audience would need to see some of the incredible females that have led to this family, that have been responsible for Dom and this family that kind of gravitates around this character, where some of these ideals come from."

He continued, "And in 9, we play with Dom's father, which is Jack. You're introduced to Jack. And so, it was a natural kind of thing to say, 'Here's the Abuela.'"

While Diesel's idol has always been Sidney Poitier, Moreno's trailblazing career is something he reveres, and wanted to celebrate in film, not only for the Latinx fans that follow the franchise, but for the legacy the films look to leave behind as well.

"My hero has always been Sidney Poitier, so, my whole life, I have been like, Sidney Poitier was the guy that opened the doors for my father and everyone in the world, but five years earlier, Rita Moreno won an Oscar, and nobody really thinks about that, and kind of realizes how much of a pioneer she was," Diesel explained. "And so, the Latin community has always embraced this family so deeply, and we've always responded by the incredible cast that we've included like, Don Omar and Tego Calderón, and there was something special about saying, this iconic character, this regal and incredible talent in Rita Moreno, is responsible for the DNA of the Toretto."

As for how Moreno landed the role, the 91-year-old actress has her grandson, Justin Fisher, to thank for her joining the Fast X cast -- thanks to a meet-up he had with Diesel at the premiere of West Side Story in 2021.

"[Vin and I] caught up and grabbed drinks after the event, and he's so fond of my grandma," Fisher told ET while at the premiere of Moreno's latest film, 80 For Brady. "I told him, 'You should work with her. You should have her be your grandma, have her slap you upside the head. Have her have a little tone, because you know her, it's all tone.'"

Moreno didn't hint as to whether Fast fans will get to see her behind the wheel in the upcoming film -- out May 19 -- saying only, "It's astonishing."

The Fast X trailer drops Feb. 10.