Francis Ngannou, a professional mixed martial artist and current UFC heavyweight fighter, has joined the cast of Fast & Furious 9. The original Fast and the Furious raced onto movie screens way back in 2001, and though the film tallied a solid domestic box office haul of $144 million ($230 million adjusted for inflation), few would have predicted that that action-packed racing film would ultimately spawn one of the biggest franchises in film history.
According to Deadline, Ngannou is set to board the ninth installment in the long-running franchise in an as-yet-undisclosed role. Ngannou will be the third mixed martial artist, and second UFC fighter, to join the Fast & Furious franchise, following Gina Carano in Fast & Furious 6 and Ronda Rousey in Furious 7.
Currently, the #2 ranked heavyweight in UFC with a record of 14-3, Ngannou has no prior acting experience. His addition to the Fast & Furious fold does continue the series’ tradition of casting stars with a background in UFC, after Gina Carano appeared in Fast & Furious 6 and Ronda Rousey starred in Furious 7.
Ngannou joins an ensemble cast that sees the return of franchise stalwarts in Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and Ludacris; returnees Helen Mirren, Nathalie Emmanuel and Charlize Theron; and franchise newcomers John Cena, Finn Cole, Anna Sawai, and Vinnie Bennett.
Fast & Furious 9 will be helmed by Justin Lin, who directed the third, fourth, fifth and sixth entries in the Fast & Furious franchise. Fast & Furious 9 is slated for a May 22, 2020 release.