Fast & Furious 8 director F. Gary Gray on how he's taking things back to the start

The Fast & Furious franchise has become infamous for cranking up the action with every new instalment, and this month's Fast & Furious 8 is no exception. Just take a look at the trailer again – there's a face-off between a fleet of cars and a submarine crashing through an ice sheet. Ken Loach, this isn't.

However director F. Gary Gray, occupying the spot previously taken by Justin Lin and James Wan, has said that although he acknowledges the pressure to turn everything up to eleven, he also wants to honour the franchise's street-racing roots. In particular, the movie's Cuban locations are set to play a big role – in fact, the movie is the first American production to shoot there since the country lifted their embargo.

"I did quite a bit of homework before I shot this movie," Gray tells Variety, "and one of the things that kept coming up was the idea that the fans really wanted to get back to some of the basics from the earlier films, meaning car racing. And Cuba represented that wholly: American muscle from the ’50s, custom cars, loud and fast, no new technology, all grit."

Gray, a veteran of the movie industry responsible for hits like N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, says there's also a dash of classic Hollywood in there too.

"It’s so connected to who [Vin Diesel’s] Dom is naturally as a character, and it’s something like an homage to the earlier Fast films, and also an homage to some of the earlier great car chase movies — ‘Bullitt,’ ‘The French Connection’ — where you take these vintage cars and put them through hell."

Will this be the greatest Fast & Furious movie so far? Click here to book your Fast 8 tickets and get ready to find out when it arrives next week.