It may be hard to believe that the “Fast and Furious” movie saga is a 20-year-old franchise, and in that time, you’re sure to have missed a few things. The original film, “The Fast and the Furious,” launched in 2001 and quickly rose to fame, establishing the franchise’s success. With the latest entry, F9, under wraps last year, the saga shows no signs of slowing down, with another entry slated for 2023. Today, we’ll cover five things you didn’t know about the films.
1. Brian and Letty spend nearly six films not speaking to one another.
Many people may have missed during all of the racing, heists, and other excitement that two of the film franchise’s main characters never interacted until “Fast and Furious 6.” The characters Letty, played by Michelle Rodriguez, and Brian, played by Paul Walker, never speak directly to each other until the sixth film. When the two finally talk, Brian approaches Letty near the end of the sixth movie to apologize. Letty responds, “I may not remember anything, but I do know one thing. Nobody makes me do anything I don’t want.” While it could be easily missed, it’s still surprising that the crew never had these two directly interact until that point.
2. The Drift King himself was in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.”
This lesser-known fact about the “Fast and Furious” film franchise is a double whammy. First, the drift stunts in the third installment were all real. No computer-generated imagery was used. Instead, the crew hired professional drivers to handle the drifting stunts, including the Drift King himself, Keiichi Tsuchiya. Secondly, Tsuchiya’s performances were not limited to the stunts. However, Tsuchiya didn’t play one of the other drivers. Instead, he appears on-screen as the fisherman who mocks the character, Sean, for trying to learn how to drift. Although, it was Tsuchiya driving during most of the scenes in which Sean was learning.
3. Paul Walker wasn’t the only Brian O’Connor contender.
It might be challenging to imagine anyone other than Paul Walker playing the iconic role of cop-turned-racer Brian O’Connor. However, he almost wasn’t the winner of the part. Eminem, Christian Bale, and Mark Wahlberg were all strong contenders for the role. Nevertheless, Paul Walker got the role for his exceptional acting skills and another surprising factor: He reminded the director of Steve McQueen from the 1968 film, Bullitt.
4. Social media brought The Rock into the franchise.
With the booming success of the Hobbs and Shaw spinoff of the franchise, many fans would be shocked to learn that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wasn’t intended to be in the movie. Vin Diesel used his Facebook profile to ask fans for their suggestions on what to do with the story, and one popular proposal was to create a role for the wrestler-turned-actor. Afterward, some people claim that Johnson approached Universal Studios himself to ask to be a part of the series. The position was initially written for a character reminiscent of Tommy Lee Jones. However, The Rock was chosen, which turned out to be a hit.
5. Vin Diesel’s cameo in “Tokyo Drift” came with a different kind of price.
Universal needed Vin Diesel to make a cameo in the franchise’s third installment to signal his return for the next film, as none of the original stars appeared in “Tokyo Drift.” However, Diesel would only agree to do the cameo if Universal gave him and his production company the rights to his Riddick character from the 2000 film, Pitch Black. Universal stopped production on a third installment after the underwhelming results of “The Chronicles of Riddick,” but Diesel wanted to continue production. So, they worked out a deal that he would do the cameo in “Tokyo Drift” for free in exchange for the rights to Riddick.
It’s no surprise that you may not have known all of these fun facts about the “Fast and Furious” movies. After all, it’s easy to miss a few things in 20 years!