Helen Mirren got written into The Fate of the Furious after telling Vin Diesel about her desire to be in his franchise at a party.

The veteran actress, who had publicly declared her ambition to be in the action movies, announced in June last year (16) she had been cast in a mystery role in the eighth installment in the franchise.

Vin, who plays Dom Toretto and serves as producer, has since revealed she got the part by asking to be in it when they met at a party.

"People don't know that I'm the one working for a year beforehand with the writers and coming up with the story," he told Total Film magazine. "She came up to me at a party and said, 'I want to be in Fast & Furious with you.' The script was greenlit, but she told the right person, because a week later she got written in."

Director F. Gary Gray said the British actress brings "a little bit of humour and fun" to the role and her casting was very appealing.

"When you play the Queen, where can you go from there? Fast 8," he joked.

Vin is joined by returning stars including Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson and Michelle Rodriguez while new additions also include Charlize Theron, who plays the franchise's first female villain named Cipher.

The director has heaped praise on the Oscar winner, saying, "Charlize is the best of the Fast villains. She brings a certain level of gravitas to any role or any character that she creates."

Cipher brings Dom onto her side, forcing him to betray his "family", and working alongside Charlize forced Vin to up his game.

"She's someone who's very committed to the craft. I think people will be riveted by seeing our characters together on screen. We needed a villain like this. She adds lots of layers."

The franchise is known for its action sequences but Vin says this time around it will be more focused on the actors, with Gray claiming the film features "Vin's best performance".

The Fate of the Furious, which is also being released as Fast & Furious 8, hits cinemas from 12 April (17).