F9: Filming locations of Vin Diesel's new Fast & Furious 9 movie
- Credit: 2021 Universal Studios
Fast & Furious 9 is finally released in the UK on Thursday, June 24 with Vin Diesel and his crew motoring back onto the big screen in the franchise's latest globetrotting adventure.
So where was Universal Pictures' F9, the ninth chapter in the Fast & Furious Saga, filmed?
Directed by Justin Lin, the high-speed action hurtles on screen around the globe – from London to Tokyo, from Central America to Edinburgh, and from a secret bunker in Azerbaijan to the teeming streets of Tbilisi.
In reality, filming of Fast & Furious 9 took place on location in London, Edinburgh in Scotland, Thailand, Tbilisi in Georgia, Los Angeles, and Hatfield in Hertfordshire, along with Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden.
"No matter how fast you are, no one outruns their past."
So fasten your seatbelts, here's 9 locations where F9: The Fast Saga was filmed on three continents.
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1. London, England
Production on the ninth Fast chapter began in London during the summer of 2019.
While the majority of filming took place on soundstages, a dedicated UK-based stunt unit filmed through the streets of London, traversing through the capital city’s most notable tourist sites.
Dame Helen Mirren returns to the Fast & Furious franchise as Shaw matriarch 'Queenie' in Fast 9 and makes an impression at a soiree at a high-end jewellery store in London.
Mirren and Vin Diesel shot the scenes at Boodles, the luxury British jeweller in Mayfair.
Mirren also got to slip behind the wheel for the first time in a Fast film.
On screen, Queenie takes Dom Toretto for a little spin in a purple Noble M600, through London’s dark streets, passing Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace and other iconic landmarks.
Vin Diesel posted on Instagram at the time: "End of week 12! Night shoots with a legend, Dame Helen Mirren... who by the way is a great driver!"
While filming in the UK, Sung Kang's return as Han was a closely guarded secret.
Although Kang’s presence in the film is now known at the time of the shoot, it presented a number of security challenges for the production to keep his presence in London, let alone on the set, top secret.
During production on F9, actor and producer Vin Diesel posted weekly updates from the London set, so it was well known that filming on the ninth chapter had begun.
So, when Kang arrived in the UK, eagle-eyed customs officials questioned him a little too excitedly about his reason for being in London. From that moment on, Kang remained shrouded in secrecy throughout filming.
He even had to leave set to make sure he wasn’t accidentally captured in the background of any videos or photographs from cast birthday celebrations, and he had to be excused when the cast went to public restaurants for meals or filmed anything at all for their social media feeds.
2. Hatfield, Hertfordshire
The opulent tuner party held at Otto's mansion was filmed at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, just north of London, as Vin Diesel's Instagram videos at the time revealed.
In the movie, the house is declared an international embassy.
The Favourite was mostly filmed there, too.
For F9, producers used the North Front entrance to the house for the tuner party, with the distinctive Renaissance water feature clearly visible.
Stunning women and equally sleek and sexy supercars seed F9’s party, which is decidedly upscale and very European amid the meticulously manicured and sprawling grounds of Hertfordshire stately home Hatfield House.
3. Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, Hertfordshire
F9 used six of Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden's stages in total, the exterior tank and the backlot, which were all transformed into incredible locations including the depths of a Central American forest.
Based out of soundstages at Leavesden, production designer Jan Roelfs and his team transformed the dirt backlot into the lush jungle countryside of Montequinto, a fictitious Central American republic.
Amid the wreckage of Mr. Nobody’s downed aircraft, Dom Toretto, Letty and the team sift through smoking rubble to find clues to Mr. Nobody and Cipher’s whereabout.
Moving to the soundstages, Roelfs designed the sets for the neon-laden streets, noodle shops and apartment buildings of Tokyo, where Letty and Mia reconnect.
They also created the cavernous underground and unsanctioned hideout that Mr. Nobody masterminded decades ago, which becomes a kind of safe house for Dom and his crew, and ultimately the site of emotional reunions of every kind.
Roelfs and his team also designed and built other key sets, including Otto’s hangar, his base of operations with Jakob, and Buddy’s garage, where two old friends have a long overdue heart-to-heart.
4. Ashridge Forest, Hertfordshire
Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto is leading a quiet life off the grid with Letty and his son, little Brian, at the start of Fast 9 but they know that danger always lurks just over their peaceful horizon.
While the Toretto ranch is somewhere in California, the scenes were actually filmed in the Hertfordshire countryside.
With filming taking place at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, Creative England's Filming in England reports that F9 producers utilised some of the locations in the surrounding area.
One such locations was beauty spot Ashridge Forest, situated in the Chiltern Hills.
The production team built a huge film set on site which turned the Ashridge Estate’s Golden Valley into a Californian ranch.
Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez were both on set there for filming in June 2019.
5. Greenham Common, Berkshire
If you are going to strap a rocket engine to a Pontiac Fiero, you are probably going to need a military base to try it out on.
And eagle-eyed Fast fans will recognise former nuclear weapons base Greenham Common in F9.
After seeing the modified vehicle created by Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), Twinkie (Bow Wow) and Earl (Jason Tobin), Tej Parker says: "Please tell me that's not a Pontiac Fiero strapped to a rocket engine."
6. Edinburgh, Scotland
Filming of F9 also took place in Scotland's capital in September 2019 with 11 different areas of the city centre used for the shoot.
After filming in London, the UK-based unit spent close to four weeks on and above the streets of Edinburgh, capturing dizzying rooftop action as Dom (Vin Diesel) chases Jakob Toretto (John Cena) while Roman, Tej and Ramsey pursue Otto and his hired mercenaries speeding through the streets.
The two-pronged action sequence ended up being one of the biggest film production presences in Scotland’s capital city.
According to Film Edinburgh, filming locations included Waterloo Place, George Street, Cockburn Street, Victoria Street, Melville Street and the National Museum of Scotland.
Filming also took place along the Royal Mile, St Giles' Street and in Parliament Square.
Lin and Vin Diesel, along with Tyrese Gibson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel and John Cena, joined them for almost a week to film in some of the historic city’s most iconic sites and cobblestone streets.
Tourists, locals and unsuspecting fans who stumbled upon the film unit got to hear the rumble of Dom’s Mid-Engine Charger or catch a glimpse of their favourite actors filming steps away from their tour buses or cafés.
While Justin Lin was overseeing the main unit with principal cast in the UK, second unit director and stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos and veteran Fast second unit stunt coordinator Andy Gill and their crew led the charge in Thailand with the film’s gravity-defying action.
The film’s opening action sequence, set in Central America, was actually filmed by the second-unit team over an eight-week period in several remote areas of southern Thailand.
8. Tbilisi in Georgia
Following shooting of the sequences in Thailand, the crew decamped to Eastern Europe and the country of Georgia to film in the capital city of Tbilisi.
It was here that the third-act chase sequence featuring the monstrous 14ft-high, 26-ton, three-section armoured vehicle dubbed the Armadillo was shot along the curved, hilly streets of Tbilisi.
It took picture vehicle supervisor Alex King and his department four months to work out the mechanical, electrical and fabrication requirements to complete two versions of the Armadillo and to have them prepped and ready for filming in Tbilisi.
9. Los Angeles, California
Once filming finished in London and Tbilisi, cast and crew made one final stop back where it all started in the United States.
Both on-screen and off, in the Fast films all roads lead home, and both main and second units returned to Los Angeles in California to film for the remainder of principal photography.
On the last night of filming, Lin, joined by Diesel, returned to the streets of East LA, where it all began.
Fast & Furious 9 was released in UK cinemas on Thursday, June 24.