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Icons Unearthed Creator on Fast and Furious Docuseries

The Nacelle Company and Vice TV are back with Icons Unearthed: Fast & Furious, the third installment of their hit docuseries. The series dives deep into the world of Fast and Furious, beginning with the true-life inspiration behind the first film. Icons Unearthed: Fast & Furious follows Icons Unearthed: Star Wars and Icons Unearthed: The Simpsons, and continues the series’ trend of exploring some of the biggest pop culture touchstones of all time.

While perhaps not an obvious choice for the focus of a docuseries, the Fast & Furious franchise has a tumultuous story that in many ways rivals the drama of the actual films. From the series’ tonal shift from grounded action thriller to CGI-heavy juggernaut, to the public feud between The Rock and Vin Diesel, to the tragic and untimely passing of Paul Walker, there were likely countless aspects Icons Unearthed: Fast & Furious to explore. Thanks to interviews with screenwriters, stunt coordinators, cast members, and more, Icons Unearthed: Fast & Furious is able to do so with firsthand information.

Related: Fast & Furious 10 & 11 Can Repeat Marvel’s Greatest Achievement

Icons Unearthed creator and director Brian Volk-Weiss spoke with Screen Rant about becoming a fan of the franchise, the improvisational nature of the series, and more.

Brian Volk-Weiss on Icons Unearthed: Fast & Furious
Dwayne Johson as Hobbs in Furious 7

Screen Rant: We’ve talked about your love for Star Wars and The Simpsons, which led to the first couple of seasons of Icons Unearthed. Did you have that kind of relationship with Fast and Furious?

Brian Volk-Weiss: Absolutely not. I will say this; I’m not even sure why, but I had seen every single movie in the theaters. There was something about it that got me to go see them, but I was not at all a diehard fan. And that’s an understatement.

Was it more, then, about the pure cultural impact of the franchise?

Brian Volk-Weiss: Yeah, I mean, that’s a fancy way of [saying it]. The truth of the matter is that the whole premise of the show Icons Unearthed was that we were looking at these iconic things and trying to explain to people how they came about. With Star Wars, we were conservatively the 89th documentary about it. Bizarrely enough, with The Simpsons, I think we were one of the first, if not the first. With Fast & Furious, I can guarantee you we were the first.
It’s funny, because why on Earth would we have been the first? How can you have this franchise that’s literally doing around a billion dollars a movie – with theme park rides, toys, all these things – and nobody’s covering it? I was like, “You know what? The day has come where I need to make a documentary about a subject I have not been obsessed with for 30 years.”

Even though it’s been around for twenty years now, did you find it easier to get access or information for Fast & Furious? At least compared to Star Wars and The Simpsons, it’s relatively new.

Brian Volk-Weiss: We had some good luck and some bad luck. The good luck was that the people that make [Fast & Furious were] kind of really frustrated, because they’re making something that is obviously staggeringly popular, but they don’t get respect. When you’re covering a topic like that, very often people want to talk to you and tell you about what they’ve done. In that regard, we were very lucky, and we got tons of people talking to us, with one major exception: the people working on Fast 10.
By pure bad luck we were producing the season simultaneously with Fast 10 being made, so everybody was all over the world shooting. There were so many people we probably would have gotten, who we knew wanted to do it, but couldn’t because they were making the movie.

Brian, Mia, Toretto and Hobbs in Fast and Furious

Something else that I think is interesting about this franchise is that the behind-the-scenes is already part of pop culture. You have The Rock and Vin Diesel stuff, and you have Paul Walker, of course. For this series, do you dive deeper into the things people already know about, or do you focus more on the stories that nobody’s heard of?

Brian Volk-Weiss: It really is both. Part of what we always like to do is find the real story behind what went down, so as it relates to Vin and The Rock, we definitely got a fair amount of scoop that has not been public. Everybody knows what happened; everybody knows that The Rock thinks Vin was not being professional. [As for] the specifics of what made a normally very, very diplomatic actor [and] producer, Dwayne Johnson, go public on Instagram slamming another star? That was not well known. What was the straw that broke the camel’s back? We got the straw. What were the details that led up to that straw? We got those facts. What were the ramifications after that came out?
Everybody knows The Rock won’t do another movie with Vin, and that the [Hobbs & Shaw] spin-off happened because of the fight, but there was a period before Hobbs & Shaw got greenlit where everybody was still trying to figure out what happened, and how to fix it. The result of that process is what led to Hobbs and Shaw. We got tons and tons of details about the lead-up, the actual event, and then the after-effects of the breakdown in their relationship. I feel like you asked me two questions, and I only answered one. What was the other?

It was whether you focused on what people thought they already knew versus things that were totally unknown.

Brian Volk-Weiss: Yeah. To be completely honest with you, this is probably the easiest time I’ve ever had with that. It’s a lot easier to get new information on Fast & Furious than it is on The Simpsons and Star Wars. One of the things that I, as a non-fan – by the way, now I’m a fan, but originally I was not – really wanted to figure out was: why are these movies so popular? What we unearthed, just to put the title in my answer, was a real epiphany. We had already been shooting, and we had been in post for a little while, before I finally saw the nugget that allowed me to understand why these movies are so popular. It’s a really interesting thing; It’s improv.
I don’t know of any other franchise that does improv the way Fast & Furious does. I’ll tell you the moment when I noticed it, and then I’ll give you a couple examples. We were interviewing one of the stunt coordinators of [2 Fast 2 Furious]. There’s a scene in the movie, I remembered it vividly, where Paul Walker is driving down the street racing with [Eva Mendes], and they’re not looking at the road ahead. They’re staring at each other, so they’re looking sideways while going a hundred miles an hour down a residential street. It is a brilliant scene; it is so stressful watching that scene, because you have these two guys driving up driving a hundred miles an hour down a residential street, not looking at where they’re going. We found out while making that episode that that scene was completely improvised.
[There was] something else they were supposed to shoot, [and] they weren’t able to make it work in the allotted time. Somebody said, “Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. What about if they’re just staring at each other while they’re driving a hundred miles an hour? We could probably shoot that before the sun goes down.” They embrace that. Not only that, [but] at the end of the scene when the whole thing’s over, and they don’t crash, Tyrese says to Paul Walker, “Oh, did he do the whole not looking at the road thing?” which is the perfect button to a perfect scene. Both the action and the dialogue were improvised. That’s how I figured out what makes these movies different, and what makes them special. Here’s an example.
When they were making Fast Five, which is considered arguably to be the best of the films so far, there’s a scene that in the script had a car crash into a moving train, and there’s a fight going on on top of the train. The shot in the script is two people are fighting on top of a train, and then a car [bumps the] train while they’re fighting. When they shot the car [bumping] the train, there was a complete mess-up, and the car crashed into the train.
When they were shooting the actual stunt of the car jumping over the train, that was being done in New Mexico. The fight starts inside the train, and then goes on top of the train. All the stuff being shot inside the train was being filmed in Atlanta, and just by coincidence, they happened to be filming the same scene simultaneously about two thousand miles apart. When they shot the car jumping over the train, there was a complete mess-up, and the car crashed into the train.
[With] any other movie, the first thing they would have done is called the insurance company and been like, “Oh my God, we messed up. We need another five million dollars to redo the scene.” Not in Fast & Furious. The phone call they made was to the people in Atlanta shooting the interior of the train, and they were like, “We got great news. We just accidentally launched the car into the train, and it’s stuck in the train. Could you refilm what you’re shooting in Atlanta so that the car is actually embedded in the train, and the fight that had been on the roof happens inside the car with the car sticking out of the train?” And they did.

That’s incredible.

Brian Volk-Weiss: No other franchise. Can you imagine in James Bond, the stunt goes wrong, and they rewrite the script because they screwed up the stunt? No one would do that.

Did you find there was any sort of behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the fact that the series has become so heightened over the years? It’s mind-blowing to revisit how grounded the first film is in your first episode.

Brian Volk-Weiss: No. That’s the thing. It’s so interesting. In James Bond, or even Marvel movies, or even now Star Trek – Star Trek had Gene Roddenberry, Star Wars had George Lucas, James Bond had the Broccoli family. There was always this overseeing entity that, for lack of a better expression, managed quality control. I’m not trying to say Fast & Furious doesn’t have quality; they do have quality. You can’t not have quality when you’re spending a quarter billion dollars to make a movie.
My point is, unlike those other franchises where they kept saying, “Would James Bond do this, yes or no?” and if the answer was no, they didn’t put it in the next film, Fast & Furious went the other way, where they just started embracing the wackiness. They kind of did it subconsciously, or at least not out in front, for episodes four through eight. If you watch the ninth film, [though,] they literally talk about it. There’s literally a scene in the movie where they are comparing themselves to Marvel superheroes. They’re literally saying, like, “Isn’t it kind of weird how people shoot at us all the time and we never get hit? Are we in the Matrix?” Then, the scene literally ends with them being, like, “Nah. Why are we even thinking about this?” That’s the kind of thing that would have been an SNL sketch twenty years ago, but they put it into the movie. They embraced it.

Watching the first episode of your series, it’s crazy to realize that people like Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez were not famous at all before the first film. Was there something that particularly surprised you about the impact of this franchise as you were making Icons Unearthed?

Brian Volk-Weiss: It’s funny what you just said. I keep going back to James Bond; imagine if Sean Connery ended up becoming the lead producer of James Bond. Imagine if Harrison Ford ended up becoming the lead producer of Star Wars. That’s what happened here. A guy who was cast in a movie, literally cast like any other actor over the last hundred years, somehow is able to finagle almost complete control of the franchise. A billion-dollar-a-movie franchise, a ride at multiple theme parks all over planet Earth, it’s already led to two spin-offs, there’s two more on the way, and he’s an actor.
He’s literally a regular actor who was one of the leads, he wasn’t “the” lead, and he ended up becoming basically what Tom Cruise is to Mission: Impossible By the way, that was set up before they even pitched [the film to] Paramount – that Tom Cruise would be in charge of Mission: Impossible. [Vin] bails on the sequel, he doesn’t even show up, and yet somehow he’s back for the third with a cameo, and by the fourth movie, other than the head of the studio, he’s the most important leader of the franchise. We get into that a lot, and we also get into stuff like that. What I mean by “like that” is, basically, this franchise has so many weird things that work that [shouldn’t]. Imagine an airplane with one wing and no cockpit that still flew as perfectly as an airplane with two wings and a cockpit. That, to me, is Fast & Furious.

About Icons Unearthed: Fast & Furious

Icons Unearthed: Fast & Furious takes a look at the origins and evolution of one of the most successful film franchises of all time. Featuring interviews with screenwriters, directors, and members of the franchise’s cast, Icons Unearthed: Fast & Furious presents the story of the Fast Saga in the words of those who were there along the way. Icons Unearthed: Fast & Furious was created and directed by Brian Volk-Weiss, and is the third season of the docuseries. The first two seasons, Icons Unearthed: Star Wars and Icons Unearthed: The Simpsons, are available for streaming through Vice TV.

Check out our previous interviews about Icons Unearthed here:

Next: Fast & Furious’ Future Kids Tease Is So Silly It Will Probably Happen

Icons Unearthed: Fast & Furious premieres on January 16 through Vice TV.

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Fast & Furious 11 Release Delay & Filming Start Date Confirmed By Director


Fast and Furious 11
is facing a release date delay to Summer 2026 due to strikes, with director Louis Leterrier confirming the sequel will not be hitting its April 4, 2025 date.
Leterrier also confirms that filming starts in Fall 2025 after finishing a horror movie in September.
The final installment in the
Fast Saga
reunites Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto for one last ride, while also leaving the door open for other spinoffs.

After facing multiple delays due to the 2023 SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes, Fast and Furious 11 is seeing its release date delayed. The next installment in the Vin Diesel-fronted franchise is expected to be the last mainline sequel, while development continues on the Dwayne Johnson-led spinoff Hobbs & Reyes, a mysterious standalone movie penned by Fast X’s Zach Dean and a potential female-led spinoff. While a filming start date was never confirmed, Universal had previously set the movie for an April 2025 release date.

During a recent interview with Collider at a CCXP MX panel, Louis Leterrier was asked for an update on Fast and Furious 11. The director went on to confirm that the final mainline installment in the action franchise will no longer be making its April 4, 2025 release date, instead now aiming for a Summer 2026 release window with the filming start date being set for this fall. Check out what Leterrier said below:

It’s happening. It’s happening very, very soon. I’m able to shoot a little horror movie this summer. I’m finishing my horror movie on September 15th, and I start Fast on September 16th.

Will Fast 11’s Multiple Delays Help Or Hurt The Sequel?

Much like the tenth film before it, Fast and Furious 11 has faced a few behind-the-scenes hardships in its road to getting off the ground, namely the delays stemming from the 2023 strikes. While the latest movie seems to have retained its core creative team in comparison to the shift in directors from franchise vet Justin Lin to Leterrier on Fast X after reported creative differences between the former and Diesel, this change didn’t seem to help much with the continued downward trend recent sequels have seen from critics. Check out how the franchise’s Rotten Tomatoes scores compare below:

Title RT Critical Score RT Audience Score The Fast and the Furious 54% 74% 2 Fast 2 Furious 37% 50% The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift 37% 69% Fast & Furious 28% 67% Fast Five 78% 83% Fast & Furious 6 71% 84% Furious 7 81% 82% The Fate of the Furious 67% 72% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw 67% 88% F9: The Fast Saga 59% 82% Fast X 56% 84%

Even looking outside the Fast and Furious franchise, many movie sequels have found themselves hurt by various delays, be they from creative changes, general release shifts or other factors. The action genre in particular is one in which lengthier development periods can lead to diminishing returns, be it A Good Day to Die Hard, Rambo: Last Blood or Diesel’s own xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. While Fast and Furious 11 may only be getting pushed back by a year, the delay is nonetheless a concern that the final installment could find itself in trouble.

Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) looking angry with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) looking unimpressed in Fast & Furious

Related 10 Most Exciting Things To Expect From Fast 11 Fast & Furious 11 will pull all the strings to become bigger than the previous installments, and here is why the film is worth being excited about.

On the other hand, the longer wait for Fast and Furious 11 to close out the mainline series of movies could actually prove beneficial for the sequel. Though Leterrier may be busy with another project in the lead-up to filming the next installment, writers Oren Uziel and Christina Hodson should now have more than enough time to really look back at the script and ensure it learns from the critical missteps of recent installments to deliver a satisfying conclusion to the Dominic Toretto saga.

Source: Collider

Fast and Furious 11 temp poster Fast and Furious 11 Fast and Furious 11 is the final movie in the Fast Saga. It reunites Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto with the rest of the cast for one last ride. However, the franchise is open for spinoff films like Hobbs & Shaw afterward.Director Louis Leterrier Release Date April 4, 2025 Distributor(s) Universal Pictures Writers Christina Hodson , Oren Uziel

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Vin Diesel Already Has His Perfect Fast & Furious Replacement Franchise With 51-Year-Old Remake


Vin Diesel’s dominance in Fast & Furious is ending, but Kojak could kick off a new action franchise for him.
Kojak’s reboot faces an uncertain future, but its similarity to Fast & Furious makes it a worthy project for Diesel.
Diesel’s potential shift from criminal racer to cop signifies a fresh start in a possible Fast & Furious-like series.

Vin Diesel’s days of playing Dominic Toretto are numbered, but the actor has already found his perfect Fast & Furious replacement. Diesel found a major breakout role in the early 2000s thanks to participating in The Fast and the Furious. The original 2001 street racing crime movie became the springboard for a sprawling franchise that has lasted for over two decades. The success of the Fast & Furious movies transformed Vin Diesel’s career, turning him into an even bigger star, especially in the action movie genre. But, Fast & Furious 11 is planned as the final chapter for him and the franchise.

The Fast & Furious franchise’s end will put Vin Diesel in an unfamiliar position of not having a major franchise to lean back on. This presents the actor with various options, such as changing the course of his career to pursue non-franchise roles. However, the more likely outcome is that Diesel will attempt to find a new IP that can replace Fast & Furious. He has had trouble in that regard recently, with franchises like xXx or Riddick running cold and Bloodshot and The Last Witch Hunter failing to launch franchises. There is another option for Diesel, though.

2:03 Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto from The Fast & Furious Franchise

Related Vin Diesel May Have Spoiled Fast & Furious 11’s Ending With $2.7 Billion Movie Comparison Dom’s death happening in Fast & Furious 11 may have been spoiled already, with Vin Diesel comparing the upcoming movie to another big franchise.

Kojak Can Be Vin Diesel’s New Action Crime Franchise After Fast & Furious
Diesel Has Been Developing The Reboot Since 2015

The impending conclusion of the Fast & Furious franchise means it is finally time for Vin Diesel’s Kojak reboot to get off the ground. The project was announced back in 2015 with Diesel re-teaming with Universal Pictures, the studio behind Fast & Furious, to develop a movie based on Kojak. The original TV series starred Telly Savalas as Theo Kokaj and ran for three seasons after debuting in 1973. The series revolves around Kojak, a New York detective known for being willing to go beyond the law and a love for cars and lollipops, and follows him as he investigates different cases.

Kojak was rebooted in 2005 as a TV show starring Ving Rhames, but it only ran for six episodes

Development on Vin Diesel’s Kojak movie has not been very active in the nine years since it was announced. However, it still maintains the base similarities to Fast & Furious, which makes the project a worthwhile endeavor for Diesel in terms of finding a new action franchise. He would now have another big action series about cars and crime, essentially making Kojak into a newer version of Fast & Furious. The irony here is that Diesel takes on the role of a cop after playing criminal racer Dominic Toretto.

Vin Diesel’s Involvement Can Morph Kojak Into A Major Action Franchise
Kojak Could Be A Fast & Furious Clone
Telly Savalas talking on the phone in Kojak

Looking at the original TV show, Kojak might not necessarily project to be a major blockbuster action franchise akin to Fast & Furious. The TV series was relatively grounded and small due to the nature of its production. However, the fact that Diesel and Universal pinpointed this property as something they wanted to revive together is telling. The announcement of Kojak’s reboot came months after Furious 7 debuted in theaters and took the franchise to new heights at the box office and in terms of how ridiculously big the action and story could get.

It’s sometimes difficult to remember that Fast & Furious started off with a story about DVD thieves who were also street racers before Diesel helped turn it into something much bigger. With that experience and success already behind him, it would be understandable if a similar path was envisioned for Kojak. The series could then morph into a Fast & Furious clone, one that gives Vin Diesel a new franchise to headline and Universal a “fresh” action franchise to grow.

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The Rock’s WWE Run Means Fast & Furious 11 Must Make 1 Major Hobbs Change


Hobbs from Fast & Furious 11 needs a gritty edge like The Rock’s WWE character to keep the franchise fresh and exciting.
The Rock’s time away from the Fast & Furious universe provides the perfect reason for Hobbs to return with a personal vendetta and a more savage attitude.
While Hobbs shouldn’t become a full-fledged villain in Fast & Furious 11, adding some edginess and dirty tricks could make his character more intriguing and dynamic.

Fast & Furious 11 must make one major Hobbs change after The Rock’s incredible WWE run. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s WWE return surpassed his recent movies, with the actor creating some of the best work of his career. Having returned to a thunderous reception, The Rock was able to flip the crowd’s reception by becoming a heel and playing a major part in WrestleMania’s main events. The Rock hasn’t played a villain on screen for years, as even his depiction of Black Adam lent more into the character’s anti-hero side, which made his wrestling run all the more refreshing.

While his wrestling character may not perfectly translate into the Fast & Furious universe, there is one aspect of The Rock’s WWE run that the franchise should attempt to implement. After debuting in Fast Five, The Rock’s best Fast & Furious scenes helped contribute to the movie series becoming so popular, with Luke Hobbs becoming an instrumental part of the story. He was even given his own spinoff alongside Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) and is set to get a solo movie in the future. Despite this, Hobbs would still benefit from adding one key aspect of The Rock’s WWE run.

The Rock’s WWE Run Proves Fast & Furious 11 Needs To Give Hobbs More Of An Edge
Fast & Furious Would Benefit From Hobbs Adopting Some Of The Rock’s WWE Tendancies
Dwayne The Rock Johnson in Black Adam, WWE, and Hobbs and Shaw

Given how electrifying The Rock’s recent WWE run was, there is no doubt Fast & Furious 11 needs to give Hobbs more of an edge. Although the character has had his more serious moments, like most of the Fast & Furious cast, Hobbs tends to mix action with comedy. Hobbs and Shaw are supposed to be two of the more stoic heroes, yet they are constantly at each other’s throats and cracking jokes to help maintain the franchise’s lighthearted core. However, giving Hobbs a grittier side would help the character thrive upon his return.

The Rock’s Fast & Furious return may redeem Fast X’s box office, but the character needs to come back stronger than ever. By allowing him to be more ruthless, he can still maintain some elements of comedy but also become more interesting in the process. Johnson proved that despite being a detestable heel, he was still as hilarious as ever during his recent WWE tenure. This proves that he can maintain Fast & Furious’ tone and humorous style while being more layered; therefore, Hobbs adopting some of The Rock’s WWE characteristics could make him even more entertaining.

Fast & Furious Already Has A Reason For Hobbs To Be More Savage
Hobbs Has Been Away From The Franchise For Several Years

Making a major change to Hobbs’ character could be tough to explain, but Fast & Furious 11 already has a great reason to make him more savage. His four-year absence from the franchise gives him a perfect excuse to come back with a vengeance and potentially have a personal attachment to Fast & Furious 11’s villains. Hobbs’ time away from the main story could be explained through a connection to Fast X’s secondary villain, Aimes. Aimes’ villain twist in Fast X was well executed and suggests he’ll be around for the sequel, which is the perfect reason to bring back Hobbs.

Having a more personal story with one of the villains could allow Hobbs to continue his great quips and one-liners, but it would also give him more of an edge.

Fast X never explained why he’s back, but having a personal vendetta against Aimes could be an intriguing reason. Given Dom and Dante are the focal point of the franchise’s conclusion, Hobbs returning to take down Aimes would avoid overshadowing the main story while still giving him an interesting role. Having a personal story with one of the villains could allow Hobbs to continue his great quips and one-liners, while also giving him more of an edge. This provides The Rock with the perfect reason to implement some of his heel traits while still portraying a morally good hero.

2:34 Image 147 Related Predicting The Ending Of All 13 Fast & Furious Characters In Fast 11 The Fast Saga is set to conclude with Fast & Furious 11 – or Fast X 2 – but how will Dom Toretto and his family’s stories come to a definitive end?

Why Fast & Furious Can’t Bring The Rock Back As A Villain
Hobbs Already Appeared As An Antagonist In Fast Five
A custom image featuring Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs in the Fast and Furious movies Custom image by Debanjana Chowdhury

Although The Rock’s villainous tendencies worked well in the WWE, Fast & Furious can’t bring him back as an antagonist. Johnson already played the main villain of Fast Five, as Hobbs was originally an enemy of Dom and his crew before becoming an ally. Hobbs’ role in Fast Five was one of his best, but despite being the main antagonist, he always had a level of integrity. Dropping all of this to make him a villain in the final movie would be completely unnecessary, especially as the franchise needs him to remain a hero for his spinoff.

Fast & Furious 11 may end the main story, but The Rock will be part of the franchise beyond this, and altering his character so drastically wouldn’t make any sense. Instead, adding some extra edge to his character would have the same effect and would avoid stealing the thunder from Dante and Aimes. Although Fast & Furious 11 shouldn’t make him a villain, the film can still allow Hobbs to play dirty and pull some cheap tricks in order to show a grittier side, while letting him taunt his enemies when he inevitably helps save the day.

Fast & Furious 11
is scheduled to be released in theaters on April 4, 2025.

Fast and Furious 11 temp poster Fast and Furious 11 Fast and Furious 11 is the final movie in the Fast Saga. It reunites Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto with the rest of the cast for one last ride. However, the franchise is open for spinoff films like Hobbs & Shaw afterward.Director Louis Leterrier Release Date April 4, 2025 Distributor(s) Universal Pictures Writers Christina Hodson , Oren Uziel

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