10 Secrets From The Set Of The Fast And The Furious Franchise

Vin Diesel first roared onto the big screen as Dominic Toretto in 2001, when The Fast And The Furious captivated car fans (and action movie lovers) with crazy chase scenes, street racers, and flat-out amazing cars. Since then, the Fast and the Furious franchise has expanded to eight films, wandered to the streets of Tokyo, and taken fans on an epic journey (that doesn’t seem to have any plans of ending soon). A ninth installment in the franchise is on the way for 2020, now, as well as a spin-off featuring the Rock’s character Hobbs.

There’s so much to love about this franchise - the incredible actors, the amazing stunt work, the cool cars (of course)… even behind the scenes, The Fast and the Furious is known for incredible stories and the connection between stars Diesel and the late Paul Walker. However, it’s not all smiles and rainbows on the set of this massive franchise; there have been plenty of feuds, insults, and surprising moments behind the scenes that the cast probably don’t want fans to think about… and while some of these are rumors that haven’t been substantiated, others have been confirmed by the cast members involved. How many of these secrets did you already know?

10. Vin Diesel Is Actually A Huge Geek!

For such a man’s man and an action hero (especially an incredibly buff one), you might be surprised to know that Vin Diesel himself is a total nerd!

The actor is a huge fan of Dungeons and Dragons, to the point that he’s introduced a little of that mythology to Fast and Furious itself.

Writer Chris Morgan is also a D&D player, and has said that when working on the movies, they took a very long-campaign approach to the creation of this universe: ‘when we get together to talk story, the way we break it down is he tends to throw around words like ‘saga’ and ‘mythology’ because it is. It’s like, we’re not doing a one-off, here’s one James Bond film, unconnected to every other film’.

9. Diesel Can Be A Diva

There’s no denying that Vin Diesel is a huge star - but he’s also reportedly a little bit of a diva at times. As well as his on-set beef with the Rock, Diesel also managed to anger his PR reps to the point that they ditched the star. When working on the first Fast and the Furious, Diesel’s diva behavior came out at a press junket, when he attempted to call in ‘sick’, and then ended up showing up four hours late (seemingly completely recovered). More recently, on Fast and Furious 7, Diesel allegedly kept everyone waiting for hours, or even days, while he hung out in his trailer, and his diva antics and partying held up production on another action flick: xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage.

8. Luke Hobbs Was Written For Another Actor

Maybe all that behind the scenes drama between the Rock and the other stars of the Fast and the Furious could have been avoided, if the part had gone to the actor it was originally written for!

In an interview on the set of Fast 5, Vin Diesel revealed that although the part went to the Rock, the writers had someone else in mind: Tommy Lee Jones or Josh Brolin.

‘The role was initially written for a Tommy Lee Jones/Josh Brolin… But at the same time, the studio was wanting to find somebody who would be formidable enough to, I guess, increase the legend of Dom and whatever.’ It would certainly have created a very different franchise had Brolin taken the part, and we don’t know exactly why the Rock was the one who ended up joining the cast.

7. Denzel Washington Turned Down A Part

There are some major names in action movies that appear in the Fast and the Furious franchise; from Vin Diesel and the Rock to Jason Statham. With the reputation that the franchise has, and the money behind it, it’s not surprising that many other major names would leap at the chance to appear in the next Fast film… except Denzel Washington. The Oscar-winning actor was reportedly approached for a part in Fast and Furious 7, which would then lead to a larger part in the next film in the franchise, but turned it down. The role itself is unspecified, so there’s no way of knowing exactly who Washington would have played, but it’s something that fans will be sad they never got to see.

6. Paul Walker Wasn't The First Choice To Play Brian

It’s impossible to imagine the Fast and the Furious without Paul Walker - and his off-screen friendship with Vin Diesel is the stuff of Hollywood legends. However, Walker wasn’t the first choice to play Brian O’Conner. It turns out that there were various other big names considered before Walker was brought on board, including Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and even rapper Eminem! Somehow, we can’t imagine Eminem playing a devoted police officer, even one who is undercover… although he would fit right in with some of the other street racing scenes! While Wahlberg and Bale are also both interesting choices for the lead role, it seems obvious in hindsight that only Walker could make the Fast and the Furious as much of a classic as it is now.

5. Diesel Refused To Return For The Sequel

Although Vin Diesel was the star of The Fast and The Furious, he didn’t actually return to the franchise until the fourth film (except for a brief cameo in Tokyo Drift).

He even turned down the princely sum of $25 million for the sequel - because he hated movie sequels.

Diesel was so happy with how the first film turned out that he didn’t want to ruin it with a second-rate follow up (although thankfully, that didn’t happen). He explains: "Sequels had gotten such a bad name and I had started to think of that first Fast and Furious as a classic, like a Rebel Without a Cause. If we sequel-ized it the way studios were doing at the time, just slapping a story together, I’d ruin the chance of that first one becoming a classic."

4. And Only Agreed To Tokyo Drift On One Condition

Diesel’s dislike of sequels and desire not to cheapen the first film by making more didn’t stop him cameoing in the third film, Tokyo Drift, but the star only agreed to this one for something that money couldn’t buy: the rights to a different movie project. Diesel wasn’t paid cash for his appearance in Tokyo Drift, and instead worked out a deal with the studio that would give him the rights to Riddick, his character in the film Pitch Black. Diesel loved the world and the character, and went on to produce and star in two more films in that universe (The Chronicles of Riddick and Riddick), with a fourth reportedly on the way (The Chronicles Of Riddick: Furia).

3. A Character Ages A Decade In A Single Scene

It’s not surprising that there are some continuity errors in a franchise this massive - it’s a little surprising that there aren’t more issues like this within the world! However, one of the most egregious issues with the franchise is a scene in which one character seems to age a decade in only a few moments, thanks to the interesting continuity. Lucas Black, who stars in Tokyo Drift as Sean, appears in Furious 7 as well - in scenes that are supposed to be in the same time period as Tokyo Drift (as the movies connect). However, because Tokyo Drift was released in 2006, and Furious 7 wasn’t released until 2015, the actor has clearly aged between the old footage and the new… and the film just kind of skims over that with no possible explanation!

2. The Films Aren't In Chronological Order

If you’ve been watching the films in release order, and feeling that something just doesn’t line up, you’d be correct. The Fast and the Furious films have a slightly strange chronology, with the third film released (Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift) actually taking place after Furious 6. Fans have even noticed that Tokyo Drift and Furious 7 appear to take place at the same time - a rarity for any big franchise. To confuse things further, the post-credit scene for Furious 6 also takes place at the same time as Furious 7 and Tokyo Drift. Thankfully, though, the rest is chronological, with no other major loops in time.

1. Brewsters Part Was Written For Someone Else

It wasn’t just Hobbs and even O’Conner who were roles written for different actors than the one who eventually brought them to life. Jordana Brewster wasn’t the first choice for her role of Mia, either.

It’s rumored that Mia was originally intended for Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Eliza Dushku, but she evidently wasn’t interested.

Other actresses who auditioned for the role before Brewster was brought in include Bijou Phillips, Jessica Biel, Kirsten Dunst, Natalie Portman, and (another Buffy alum) Sarah Michelle Gellar. The production team haven’t revealed why they eventually went with Brewster for the role of Mia, but five films later, she’s clearly turned out to be the perfect choice.