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Rita Moreno Reveals The Emotional Way 'Fast X' Honors Paul Walker: 'It Was So Lovely'

The 'West Side Story' actor explained how the upcoming 'The Fast & the Furious' sequel pays tribute you to the late Paul Walker, who died tragically in 2013.

Rita Moreno; Paul Walker
Tom Cooper/Getty Images, Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Legendary stage and screen icon Rita Moreno talked about her positive experiences being a part of the latest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise.

Moreno flew to London to play Abuela Toretto, the grandmother of Dom Toretto–who is played by one of the two main protagonists in the film, Vin Diesel.

"I went all the way to London for that, because that's where they shoot these movies," Moreno told Yahoo while promoting her upcoming Lifetime holiday movie, Santa Bootcamp.

The EGOT award winner continued:

"I had two scenes that took place in her little backyard."
"It was supposed to be a dinner with all of his people — they all come to Abuela's house for a wonderful dinner."

However, the actress noticed one individual was missing from the family gathering scene when she saw an empty chair.

When she learned the vacant seat was part of a tribute to the late Paul Walker, who played Brian O'Conner in five of the Fast & Furious movies, she said it was "lovely."

Walker tragically died from injuries sustained in a single-car crash on November 30, 2013–nine years ago this month.

At the time of his death, he had not completed filming 2015's Furious 7–which wound up being his final film role reprising his character.

Furious 7 was posthumously released with his brothers Caleb and Cody serving as stand-ins for the remainder of the film.

Diesel–who was a close friend to Walker–is also the godfather of Walker's daughter, Meadow.

He walked her down the aisle last year for her wedding to Louis Thornton-Allan.

He has traditionally kept the spirit of his late co-star and close friend alive through social media posts and subtle tributes on set, one of which piqued Moreno's curiosity.

"There was an empty chair [at the table]," recalled Moreno.

"I said, 'Who's supposed to sit in this one?' They said, 'Paul.' I thought, 'Wow, that was really so touching.' [Vin] really loved him."
"They had a wonderful relationship."

Fans commented on her touching statement.

Diesel personally recruited Moreno to play the part of his character's grandmother.

He shared his enthusiasm following the official announcement of her casting on the franchise's YouTube channel.

Said Diesel at the time:

"It's been my dream forever to work with Rita Moreno."
"The fact that she's here playing my grandmother makes my soul smile. I'm so blessed."

Fast & Furious 10: Vin Diesel Welcomes Rita

Moreno sang back her praises for the actor.

"He's a fan. Who would have guessed? Vin Diesel is my fan! He thinks I'm swell, and I think the same way. "

She added:

"He's a real family man, by the way. A very serious family man with a gorgeous wife and children."

Fast X–the 10th installment in the series–will be released in U.S. theaters on May 19, 2023.