It was about “looking really cool,” says Brewster, who tried learning to drive stick shift for the role. “We had to look bad ass.”
She credits her co-star Paul Walker with helping her look the part, especially on the green screen when she appeared to be shifting and driving.
“He knew a ton about cars. He was a true car aficionado,” Brewster says. “He wasn’t faking it at all. He was the real deal.”
“I’m an SUV, family car girl,” says Brewster, who drives a Range Rover, which keeps her up high and provides the visibility she prefers, as well as boasting car sensors and large side mirrors.
Safety is paramount to Brewster, who, while she’s still a part of the “Fast” franchise, reminds fans that the films’ driving stunts are just movie magic.
“I think they should just get their kicks vicariously from watching the movie and not try that out in real life,” says Brewster, a mother of two. She’s already reminding her oldest son — who loves racing his toy cars — that racing is pretend and just for the movies. “You don’t do it in real life.”
Proceeding with caution
Now that she’s a mother, Brewster says getting distracted on the road is not an option. She calls car seat safety “very intense” and is an all-around more cautious driver.
“It’s not just me,” she explains. “I have two lives in my hands and nothing’s more important to me than them.”
Brewster and her husband are careful to model good behavior for their kids, including when her son wants her to play specific songs on her phone while she’s driving.
She’s hopeful that by the time her sons are driving, technology exists to turn off distractions like texting and checking the internet, while still allowing drivers to use GPS and make phone calls.
The actress remembers the days of printing out maps to help her navigate her way to auditions. Nowdays, she’s using apps like Waze to get around Los Angeles. Still, it’s a challenge to be hands-free when driving.
“We’ve become such a multitasking society. We’re expected to answer emails and texts immediately, and we’re so used to constantly distracting ourselves.” She reminds herself and fellow drivers to “slow down when you’re driving. Be super vigilant and super focused.”
While she’s irked by drivers who don’t share the road and don’t obey the rules, Brewster tries to stay calm and concentrate, even in traffic.
She listens to podcasts and books on tape, which are relaxing and educational: “It gives you ‘me time’ where usually you don’t have it.”