8 things we learned at Atlanta’s #Fast8 screening

View Caption Hide Caption
Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson at the Atlanta red carpet screening of "Fate of the Furious," which filmed largely here. Paras Griffin/Getty Images

“Fate of the Furious, ” No. 8 in the high-speed “Fast and the Furious” franchise, is out today. As it filmed largely in Atlanta it was fitting that an exclusive sneak peek was held here.

Here’s some intel we picked up:

1. Ludacris’ first ride was a Plymouth Reliant that he bought for $500 from a teacher. “It had a messed up waxed job on it and everything, but I was so happy because it was my first car, ” he said. Also, in this and several previous “Fast and Furious” installments, he plays computer wizard Tej.

2. Tyrese Gibson, who announced his secret Valentine’s Day wedding via social media, is still into keeping his private life super private. He arrived solo on the red carpet, smiled for some photos and then ducked inside without talking to any of the media. He plays Roman.

3. Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam is ready for more children despite the drama leading up to motherhood. It was just over a year ago that she announced she and Ed Hartwell had married, but within months he had filed for divorce, saying he’d seek a paternity test while Keshia was still expecting. After the test proved the baby is indeed Ed’s, he announced he’d seek joint custody. None of it’s keeping the new mom down. “All I’ve got to do is look at that perfect little face and nothing else matters, ” she said. “I love being a mom. It’s the greatest title–the greatest job– I’ve ever had, and I’m looking forward to doing it again.”

4. “Real Housewife” Sheree Whitfield also refuses to let drama keep her down. AJC radio and television reporter Rodney Ho has reported on the contractors who have sued her, alleging they weren’t paid for work on her home, dubbed “Chateau Sheree” and featured occasionally on the Bravo show. “It has been a huge headache, ” she said. But she’s looking forward to handling everything in time for a televised housewarming.

5. Mayor Kasim Reed is impressed with the pace of I-85 repairs but not so much with Fulton County Commissioner and Atlanta mayoral candidate John Eaves‘ political posturing hours after the disaster. In an email to supporters, Eaves wrote, “We need leaders who have a vision, not those looking for solutions used during the 1996 Olympics. We need leaders who roll up their sleeves to develop robust public policy, not people who roll up to a scene because there are cameras.” Reed’s response: “We shut down Atlanta for two weeks during the Centennial Olympics. That’s the closest example we’ve had. Some people who are not responsible for running anything made jokes about referring to MARTA. I think MARTA has been responding nicely.”

6. V-103 host Big Tigger lives pretty close to the affected portion of I-85 and as a result every trip he takes these days takes a little longer. But not a lot longer. He knows all sorts of clever back ways to get around.

7. Caleb McLaughlin, who plays Lucas Sinclair in the locally filmed Netflix hit “Stranger Things, ” researched his role as child of the 1980s by watching “The Goonies” and doing research into ancient artifacts like Atari 2600 game consoles.

8. Gabrielle Union, star of BET’s locally filmed series “Being Mary Jane, ” is excited about the evolution of the show and is proud of the message of empowerment her strong central character has for young girls who might be interested in pursuing careers as journalists, entertainers or anything else.

9. Bonus: This has nothing to do with the movie or the stars who attended the screening, but Establishment Midtown, a fun restaurant right across the street from SCADshow, has a portrait of Union Gen. William T. Sherman hanging on the wall. Why does it sort of feel like he was just here?