Well it goes without saying that The Fast and The Furious franchise is one of the most successful film franchises of our time. Who knew that when the first Fast and Furious movie came out that it would expand into the box office hit it is today? Being a huge car fanatic and racing enthusiast, I personally grew up loving this movie franchise and idolizing Paul Walker. I was devastated when I heard about the car crash that killed him and longtime friend, Roger Rodas. I was worried that the film franchise would be done and gone forever. Well that wasn’t the case at all, and thanks to some CGI and Paul’s brothers Cody and Caleb filling in for him, the fast & furious franchise was able to continue moving forward. Lets take a look at some Fast and Furious facts. As one of the biggest fans, even I didn’t know about these movie facts.
1. Both Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster were cast even though neither of them had a valid driver’s license. Jordana had to complete driver’s education and pass the test in one take for her part in the movie for insurance purposes.
2. Michelle Rodriguez was put off initially by the cast. She didn’t think the characters would be believable, especially since she thought Paul Walker was a “Ken Barbie Doll”.
3. A movie came out in 1954 called ‘The Fast and the Furious’; it was about fast cars and racing. The 2001 movie producers bought the rights to the title but not the storyline. The story from the 2001 movie was inspired from a 1998 article in Vibe about New York City street racing.
4. During the summer of 2012 Paul Walker tore his ACL while filming The Fast And The Furious 6. Production was stopped so he could have immediate surgery.
5. There is another script to 2 Fast 2 Furious that was never used. Production was worried that Vin Diesel wouldn’t make it to the set in time for filming so they wrote an entirely new script with Roman Pearce as the main character. It was originally supposed to be Paul Walker and Vin Diesel who took down drug kingpin, Carter Verone.
6. Brian O’Conner was a street racer in real life. Before the tragic loss of Paul Walker, he was a well-known car enthusiast. He had a vast collection of some very rare cars, including the iconic Nissan Skyline GTR that was used in filming. That Skyline was designed and modified by Paul Walker for the movie. He also performed a lot of his own stunts like the slide above.
7. There is a lot of competition to be known as the ‘Drift King’ in The Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift, but not many people know that the actual man dubbed “Drift King”, Keiichi Tsuchiya makes a cameo in the movie as an angry old fisherman. He also served as a stunt coordinator and stuntman for the film. His AE86 Sprinter Trueno, that was made famous from his racing career, also has a cameo in the garage race scene.
8. Vin Diesel was behind adding Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to the movie franchise. His character was originally cast for an old leathered man, more like Tommy Lee Jones. Vin Diesel noticed a Facebook comment mentioning how cool it would be to see himself and ‘The Rock’ go head to head. After talking with the movie’s director, they rewrote the part for Johnson.
9. Even Michelle Rodriguez was as surprised as we were by the ending of Fast Five. She didn’t know that her character, “Letty” Ortiz was still alive until she saw the film in theaters.
10. In Fast and Furious 6, Brian O’Conner goes to prison using the alias “T. Bridges”. T. Bridges is actually a combination of both his co-stars real names, Tyrese Gibson and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.
11. The real Drift King makes a cameo. Although actor Brian Tee plays D.K. (a.k.a. “Drift King”) in the movie, the real-life drift king, Japanese racing legend Keiichi Tsuchiya, makes a small appearance as the fisherman in the blue jacket who makes fun of Sean as he’s learning to drift near the fish market. Tsuchiya himself performed most of the scenes of Sean learning how to drift.
12. The runway from Fast and Furious 6 is probably the longest runway in the world. Most airport runways are roughly one mile long. Well in Fast and Furious 6 during the runway scene, the crew chases down a plane as it’s trying to take off. The scene lasts 13 minutes and it is said that the plane is traveling at 115 mph the whole time. Multiple sources have done the math and found that this runway must be somewhere between 18 and 28 miles long.
13. Vin Diesel drives off in a bright red 1970 Chevelle SS 454 at the end of The Fast and the Furious. The car is brought back for the 4th Fast and Furious film during which Vin Diesel had to leave to deliver his newborn baby girl. As a present to his daughter, he has actually given her the car that was used in both movies. Talk about an awesome baby gift!
14. Mark Wahlberg, Eminem, and Christian Bale were all considered for the part of Brian O’Conner before Paul Walker was cast.
15. The red RX-7 in the first film originally had a roll cage installed. It had to be removed in order to fit Vin Diesel’s physique.
16. Fast & Furious 7 is reported to be the most expensive film in the franchises history to date. So far reports have shown that the film has cost well over $180 million.
17. Vin Diesel’s 1970 Dodge Charger is the same model of the Charger used in The Dukes of Hazard only one year newer.
18. The huge and impressive drug lord mansion in 2 Fast 2 Furious where Carter Verone lives used to be owned by Sylvester Stallone.
19. Paul Walker unexpectedly died in a tragic car accident during the filming of the last scenes of Fast 7. Writers and directors were worried which direction to take with the film franchise. They decided to hire 4 actors who had similar bodies to Walker and eventually used his twin brother, Cody Walker, to stand in for his brother to finish filming.
It breaks my heart knowing that the Fast and Furious franchise will never be the same without Paul Walker, but I am excited to see the direction that this epic saga will take. It is easy to see that his legacy will live on through these films and in the car scene alike. What are your thoughts?