29 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About the 'Fast & Furious' Films
By Stacy Lambe
When The Fast and the
Furious was released in 2001, no one could anticipate the worldwide
phenomenon it would eventually become, spawning six sequels (plus two short
films), grossing over $2.38 billion, and making international stars out of Paul
Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster.
Of course, with that many films and, at one point, 13
characters in just one film, there’s a lot of backstory and mythology
surrounding the Fast & Furious
So ahead of the debut of Furious
7, take a look back at all the fun facts surrounding the making of the
movie, including who originally wanted out of the first film, the actor who asked
for a role in the franchise after it became a big hit, and the Easter egg that
connects the worlds of Fast & Furious
1. The film series was inspired by a 1998
May Vibe article on street
racing, “Racer X,” which chronicled the story of Rafael “Racer X” Estevez and
illegal street-racing in New York.
2. The plot of The
Fast and the Furious is considered to be an unofficial
remake of Pointe Break starring
Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves.
3. The Fast & Furious
franchise exists in the same universe as Herbie:
Fully Loaded thanks to an Easter egg shot of Dom’s
rolled-over Charger in a junkyard scene from the Lindsay Lohan film.
4. Fast & Furious, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6 were designed as an internal
5. Starting with Fast
Five, Universal Studios and longtime screenwriter Chris Morgan transformed
the franchise into a heist
series rather than films about racing in order to keep making sequels.
6. The sixth and seventh sequels were originally supposed to
and filmed simultaneously while also addressing Eva Mendes cameo as Monica
Fuentes at the end of Fast Five.
7. Diesel’s love for Dungeons
& Dragons led to director Justin Lin to incorporate more of a mythology into the
8. Han Seoul-Oh’s death in the third film means that Furious 7 is a direct
sequel to The Fast and the Furious:
Tokyo Drift and four through six are prequels. The story order goes:
The Fast and the
Furious – June 22, 2001 2 Fast 2 Furious – June 6, 2003 Fast & Furious – April 3, 2009 Fast Five – April 20, 2011 Fast & Furious 6 – May 24, 2013 The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
– June 16, 2006 Furious 7 – April 3, 2015
9. Christian Bale, Eminem, and Mark Wahlberg were all
considered before Walker was cast as the franchise’s main protagonist, Brian O’Conner.
10. Rodriguez almost quit
the first film because her character, Letty Ortiz, was supposed to cheat on
Dom with Brian.
11. It has been rumored that Bijou
Phillips, Jessica Biel, Kirsten Dunst, Natalie Portman, and Sarah Michelle
Gellar auditioned for the role of Mia, which was reportedly written for Eliza
Dushku. The part went to Brewster.
12. Both Brewster and Rodriguez didn’t know how
to drive prior to joining the first film. Both actresses had to get their
licenses in order to join the cast.
13. Tej Parker, who was introduced in 2 Fast 2 Furious, was supposed to be played
by Redman. Ludacris replaced the rapper after scheduling conflicts forced him
to pull out.
14. While Han Seoul-Oh (played by Sung Kang) makes his first
appearance in The Fast and the Furious:
Tokyo Drift, the character actually originated
in the Asian American indie-drama, Better
15. Diesel only agreed to make a cameo at the end of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in
exchange for ownership
rights of the Chronicles of Riddick
16. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson approached Universal, asking
to be a part of the Fast & Furious
franchise. He joined as Luke Hobbs in Fast
21. Denzel Washington turned down an unspecified, “big
part” in Furious 7.
22. Dame Helen Mirren wants to be a “mad
driver” in the Fast & Furious
23. A number of cameos have been made by rappers and singers,
including Ja Rule (The Fast and the Furious), Bow Wow (Tokyo Drift), Don Omar and Tego Calderon (Fast & Furious, Fast Five) Rita Ora (Fast & Furious 6), and Iggy Azalea (Furious 7).
24. 2 Fast 2 Furious
was directed by John Singleton, the Oscar-nominated director behind Boyz n the Hood and, most recently, an
episode of Empire.
25. The Skyline GT-R
featured in 2 Fast 2 Furious was
actually Walker’s own car.
26. Lin -- director of Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five,
and Fast & Furious 6 -- says that Robert
Altman, who has directed a number of ensemble features, inspired the sixth
film, which featured 13 characters.
27. Rio de Janeiro’s car chase scenes in Fast Five were actually shot in Puerto
28. The scene with Dom smashing
his car through the nose of a cargo aircraft was originally conceived for Fast & Furious but didn’t make it
into the movie until Fast & Furious 6.
estimates that the runway in the film had to be 28.829 miles long in order to accommodate
the whole scene. (The longest real-life runway is 7.5 miles long.)
As for the fact that Mirren wants to join the franchise, Diesel has a few ideas of who she could play: