Behind The Scenes Facts About The Fast And The Furious Movie Franchise

Since 2001, movie screens have seen the best car racing films can provide. That’s right, The Fast and the Furious has almost been around more than two decades and with a spin-off coming starring Dwayne the Rock Johnson, it looks like the franchise can carry on for many more years to come. The series evolved into something much more than street racing as the cast becomes black ops for the government, performing tasks only they can pull off with their bevy of vehicular skills. Here are the secrets, facts, and notes that you never knew about The Fast and the Furious.

An Ode To A Fallen Friend

diesel daughter
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Not only did his fans feel the pain of Paul Walker’s untimely death, but co-star and close friend Vin Diesel felt the loss immensely. Having worked very closely with Walker for so long, the two were close both on and off the set.

In a touching gesture, Diesel named his daughter after Walker when he chose Pauline as her name. “There’s no other person that I was thinking about as I was cutting this umbilical cord,” said Diesel. “I just knew he was there.”

Vin Diesel Thinks His Kisses Are Almighty

kissy kiss
MAURIZIO GAMBARINI/AFP/Getty Images
MAURIZIO GAMBARINI/AFP/Getty Images

In the Fast and Furious 8, things took an interesting turn when Diesel’s character Dom switched sides on his good friends. He teamed up with the antagonist in Charlize Theron and things got steamy between the two when they shared a kiss. Apparently, Diesel likes to embellish his kissing prowess.

“Do I know she enjoyed it?” questioned Diesel. “A kiss cannot lie; lips don’t lie. No, they didn’t. She owned it.” Theron was a bit confused by his excitement towards the exchange. “He’s literally going around saying that I had the best time of my life … It’s insane!” she exclaimed. Maybe Diesel should humble himself a bit.

She’ll Do It Herself

gal own stunts
Jason LaVeris / Contributor
Jason LaVeris / Contributor

Actress Gal Gadot was a late addition to the Fast film franchise. That doesn’t mean she didn’t make an impact in the few movies they featured her in. She owned one of the most dramatic romantic scenes where she sacrificed her life for the team and she always excels in the action scenes.

Surprisingly, she does all her own stunts! Gadot recalled a conversation she had with director Justin Lin. “He was like ‘Ok, Gal, you’re going to have a LOT of action in this one. Do you want to have a stunt girl, or should we-’ I was like ‘NO. I want to do it by myself.'”

Slim Shady As… Brian O’Conner?

eminem
Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Sirius Satellite Radio
Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Sirius Satellite Radio

There was a rumor that the 8 Mile rapper Eminem was going to play the role of Brian O’Conner. Wow, that’s certainly a large rumor. The whole franchise would have for sure went on a different trajectory if that were to happen.

Imagine Diesel and Eminem robbing armored tanks for loads of cash, then riding back home listening to himself. Okay, that might not have happened but it’s interesting to imagine what changes the films would’ve had if Slim Shady played O’Conner.

Talking About The End

the end walker
Chris Weeks/WireImage
Chris Weeks/WireImage

As we’ve touched on already, Walker and Diesel were pretty close friends. So close that they would talk about all types of things including what happens when life ends. That’s deep stuff, but at one point Diesel and the late actor discussed how he might die.

In the conversation, he told Walker, “If I do die, let them know what kind of brother I’ve been to you.” It’s sad to see that one of them endured a poor fate after a conversation like this.

There was going to be a love triangle between three certain characters, but THIS person made it stop…

No Love Triangle For Her

rodriguez triangle
Jeff Vespa / Contributor
Jeff Vespa / Contributor

Actress Michelle Rodriguez plays a vital role in The Fast franchise. The ultimate love interest of Diesel’s character, she almost wasn’t apart of the series. Rodriguez has a history of standing up for women in Hollywood (most notably in her film Girlfight where she threatened to quit), so she let her voice be heard over the early script of the original Fast and the Furious.

Originally, there was going to be a love triangle between Dom, Brian, and Rodriguez’s character, Letty, but she didn’t allow it. She and Diesel worked together to convince the filmmakers to drop that triangle.

That’s Convenient…

no license
Florian G Seefried / Contributor
Florian G Seefried / Contributor

When you get a role in a movie that revolves around driving cars, you probably don’t have to be the best driver in the world, but you at least would have your license. Wrong. Jordana Brewster, Walker’s love interest didn’t even have a license when got cast.

Brewster had to learn how to drive in New York City, which isn’t really ideal. Have you ever tried to drive in that city? The traffic is atrocious.

She Wasn’t Impressed

rodriguez walker
Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images
Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images

People don’t always get along with their coworkers right away. Sometimes, it takes a while for them to grow on you. That’s what happened between Michelle Rodriguez and Paul Walker. At first, she wasn’t a big fan of his.

Rodriguez would call him a “Kenny Barbie Doll” at the start. After some time together, she realized he had some depth to him and wasn’t just a handsome face on a body. That’s what happens when you judge a book by its cover.

Why Would He Do This?

turn down
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Rapper Ja Rule, who recently received a lot of hate over his Fyre Festival fail, had another fail after his role in the first Furious film. The actor didn’t have an integral part in the movie, but they did want him to be in the sequels. The studio offered him half a million dollars.

Ja Rule turned this down because it wasn’t enough money for him. They ended up replacing him with Ludacris who ended up staying in the franchise. We bet Ja rule slaps himself over that.

This next actress didn’t even know this huge fact about her character…

She Didn’t Know This…

didn't know
DAVE M. BENETT/WIREIMAGE
DAVE M. BENETT/WIREIMAGE

There was a point in the franchise where Dom lost the love of his life, Letty. At least he assumed he did and so did everyone else in the movie. Apparently, Michelle Rodriguez thought her character had really died as well.

It wasn’t until she went to the theaters to watch Fast Five and realize that Letty was still alive. It was all a surprise to her. “They wanted to surprise me, I didn’t find out until I actually went to the theater and saw it myself,” she said.

The franchise asked to have one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in a film…

Almost Had Denzel

denzel
Warner Brothers/Getty Images
Warner Brothers/Getty Images

Can you imagine Denzel Washington, The Rock, and Vin Diesel on the same screen together? That would be movie madness, and before Furious 7 came out, the studio approached Washington about a small role that would eventually become bigger as the films advanced.

He was going to drive against Diesel, but Washing wasn’t interested. If you ask us, that doesn’t really fit his style of movies. Whether it was a good move or not is up to you to decide, but it would have been entertaining to watch.

No Rock, But Tommy Lee Jones

tommy lee
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Before Dwayne The Rock Johnson stepped into The Fast universe, he wasn’t even thought of. That’s right, the filmmakers had another actor in mind and his name is Tommy Lee Jones. Before the fifth film, Diesel detailed how this all came about. He says it was thanks to the fans that The Rock got the part.

Diesel said, “There was a girl named ‘Jen Kelly,’ who said, ‘I would love to see you guys work together on-screen,’ and so we have a role that was initially written for Tommy Lee Jones, but we gave it to Dwayne, and he shined in it.”

6 Was Supposed To Be The End

fast and the furious 6
Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images
Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images

When will the franchise ever come to an end? Well, it was going to stop after Fast and Furious 6. It was going to originally be two films with one donning the name of “The Fast” and the other “The Furious”.

Things didn’t turn out that way and Universal continued to pump out the over-the-top action movies. By now, it has to be one of the longest-running film franchises ever to come out. Do you think they’re just milking the cow?

The Cast Highly Supported Gadot

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Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Gal Gadot might have been eliminated from the films, but she will always have her Fast cast to support her in whatever ventures she takes on in the future. That includes the heroine Wonder Woman, whom she portrayed with much success in 2017.

Diesel and some of her other cast members had some lovely words for her. Vin Diesel: “There are no words I can say that can convey how proud I am of you… Your record-breaking weekend is nothing short of incredible.” Dwayne Johnson: “Great win for the biz. Fans loving the movie. So happy for my homegirl Gal! Awesome human.”

Ludacris Wanted To Show His Skills

luda
Jeffrey Mayer / Contributor
Jeffrey Mayer / Contributor

When you’ve been involved with movies that include mainly The Rock and Vin Diesel fighting, you might want to show audiences what you’ve got up your sleeve. The action sequences can be contagious and Ludacris caught the bug before Furious 7 when he reportedly asked the director to give him a fight scene.

He showed him footage of himself pulling off some pretty cool martial arts moves. Ask and you shall receive because Ludacris’ wish came true. His scene wasn’t that bad at all.

Redline

vin and paul cover
Universal/Getty Images
Universal/Getty Images

Branding matters when it comes to entertainment. That’s why The Fast and the Furious is such a fantastic name for a franchise revolving around cars. However, Universal almost made a mistake in selecting the name. Can you fathom what it would have been like if they called it Redline?

Redline ended up becoming the name of a car movie starring Eddie Griffin in 2007. Thank goodness that didn’t pan out because who knows what repercussions that would have had on the films.

Tokyo Or LA Drift?

the-fast-and-the-furious-tokyo-drift_e6f0f68c
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was almost like a standalone film. While it’s no secret that Universal Studios has a myriad of stages and sets to film their movies right in Hollywood, Tokyo Drift looked like it took place all in Tokyo.

As convincing as many of the scenes looked, the bulk was indeed filmed in Los Angeles. A select number of scenes took place in Japan, capturing the notable landmarks, but there was no need for them to travel outside of the U.S. to shoot the entire film.

Another Location Swap

fast-furious_2IFLwN
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

In Fast and Furious, there was a scene that had an intended location in Panama. Up to their old tricks, Universal shot the scene at Long Beach Harbor in southern California. The scene is short and sweet and it’s hard to tell the difference.

There was even a cargo ship that passed by at the right time to make the location even more believable. The only flaw to this scene is that you can spot the Queen Mary and city skyline in the far distance.

The Diesel Exchange

diesel exchange
Jun Sato/WireImage
Jun Sato/WireImage

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is a bit of an outlier among all the other films. Its release was completely out of order and came when the franchise was on life support. None of the original cast members were in it until the end when Diesel made that 20-second cameo.

In order for Universal Studios to get that appearance from him, they had to make an exchange with the actor. The studio had to give him the full rights to Riddick, a franchise Diesel sorely loves.

Vin Diesel Had To Slow His Roll

fast-furious_2c854861
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Before he landed the role of Dominic Toretto, Diesel was already driving like the fictional character. He said he used to get loads of speeding tickets when he was driving around New York City.

After he got the role, he knew then he had to slow his roll a bit. “I started playing the Dom Toretto role, and I feel like if I’m caught one mile over the speed limit, there’s going to be a national holiday,” he said.