Even if you don’t love cars, this is one of the most iconic film series in Hollywood history. But if you DO love cars, then this collection of films means something else entirely. They’ve got every ride a car-lover could dream of: classic muscle cars, speedy and sleek sports cars, monstrous pickup trucks, semi’s…I mean you name it! It’s packed with action and it’s also packed with near little Easter eggs you may have never noticed. That’s what these 35 facts are for…enjoy!
35. Vin Diesel agreed to Cameo in Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift, but under One Condition
Studio execs thought it would be a good idea to cameo Vin’s character in Tokyo Drift. He agreed under one condition, He would get exclusive rights to the Riddick film series. So, instead of ponying up an acting fee, Universal gave full Riddick rights to Vin Deisel’s production company, Race One. It was a smart move on Vin’s part. He starred in the first Fast and Furious movie, but walked away from the next two. Universal thought his cameo would send a clear signal to fans, Dominic was back. As for Riddick, that’s another story. Ironically, Universal took an equity position in the film after it ran into difficulty. Ultimately, this allowed Vin to resurrect the franchise (after he personally fronted millions for the third film when bond completion issues threatened the project).
34. Fast & Furious 6 was Originally planned to be Two Movies
Studio execs had so much content for F&F6 they wanted to make it into two movies. There was so much content and they wanted to do the story justice. Ironically, much of this stemmed from the two sequels that were once considered desperate attempts to keep the franchise alive because Vin Diesel turned down the role of Dominic for those films. What happened as a result was a sort of Marvel Cinematic Universe development. These two films eventually served as stand alone character development stories. When Diesel did return for number 4, those stories made an impact by making the entire franchise larger. For this reason, Fast and Furious 6 was almost split into two separate films rather than one full length feature.
33. The Real Drift King made a Cameo in Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift
Ken was the guy who turned drift racing into a sport. Before that, drifting was merely an illegal past time. He has been featured on Top Gear and is well known on the drift racing circuit. He also serves as technical anime show, “Initial D.” So, it makes complete sense that producers reached out to him when they started making Tokyo Drift. He served as a stunt man and stunt coordinator. However, that wasn’t good enough. The movie wouldn’t be complete without a cameo appearance. In the film, he is the blue fisherman making comments on Sean’s drifting. Epic.
32. The Bank Vault from Fast Five had a Car Inside
There were two problems with the bank vault chase scene. First, the cars weren’t strong enough to tow the vault at breakneck speed. Second, even if the cars were strong enough, the chains weren’t. They would snap like bad thread. So producers and crew came up with an idea… put a vehicle inside the vault. The whole idea was to lend a bit of authenticity to an otherwise unrealistic scene. Fast 5 production crew outfitted a steel cage around a truck so the vault could drive itself. And sure, CGI would work, but if you know anything about the Fast and Furious franchise, they frown on that, always opting for as much live action as possible so the films are a great bare-knuckle ride.
31. Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift was a Big-Budget Movie that used Indie Techniques for certain Shots
So here’s the thing about 2 Fast 2 Furious. Most of the movie was shot on location in Tokyo, and the thing about Tokyo is they do not grant filming permits. So, many of the shots involved a minimal crew to avoid detection, until production was detected… and subsequently shut down by police. For instance, lead actor Lucas Black is wandering around a highly populated area at one point (Shibuya Crossing) with only a couple of crew members filming the scene until police halted production. The crew tricked the police by letting them think the production manager was the director so the director would not get thrown in jail and have production stopped. Talk about taking one for the team!
30. Dwayne Johnson Asked to be in the Fast and Furious Series
29. The Fast and Furious Series has been shot in Notable Locations
28. Ja Rule was Almost Brought Back
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Seems like Ja Rule had a case of too big for his britches when it came to the Fast and Furious movies. Though we now know him from the infamous Fyre Festival documentary on Netflix, there was a time he could have been even bigger through the Fast and Furious franchise. However, even after being offered $500,000 to reprise his role, he turned it down and Ludacris was brought on instead. Director John Singleton later caught up with a Ja Rule after the fact and told him to answer his phone the next time he called him. Ja Rule apologized and snickered saying he would definitely answer the next time.
27. John Singleton had Three Specific Inspirations for 2 Fast 2 Furious
John Singleton is known as a visionary director. However, the source of his inspiration can be sporadic and comical at times. For example, his inspiration for 2 Fast 2 Furious (the sequel to The Fast and the Furious) came from three different ideas. First, he wanted to base the tone and aesthetics of the movie squarely on Japanese anime. We would say that’s a success. He was also looking for a somewhat updated version of the old 1960s Speed Racer cartoon to be an element. Again, we say home run. Finally, remember the old PlayStation video game Gran Turismo? Yeah, that was the third inspiration for 2 Fast 2 Furious.
26. The Series was Originally Titled “Redline”
So here’s the rub, The Fast and Furious was almost a one-word movie title, Redline. That’s right, for the majority of production during the first feature film, Redline was used as the title. However, eventually producers decided to go with The Fast and Furious. Yet, even that had a few challenges since Pop cinema great Roger Corman owned rights to the 1955 movie he produced under the same name. In order to seal the deal universal offered up stock footage to Corman and the reboot of fast and furious was born.
25. 2 Fast 2 Furious is Technically the Third Movie in Chronological Order
This one is actually the third movie in the series, albeit on a technicality. The six minute short Turbocharged Prelude (made in 2003) bridges events between the first and second Furious movies. The short involves O’Conner evading police after The Fast and Furious ends. He runs all the way across the country to Miami, Florida, winning illegal street races to fund his trip along the way. This actually makes the second movie in the major film series the third movie overall. Weird, but true.
24. Over 300 Vehicles were used in Fate of the Furious
Of course, cars come to mind anytime you think of The Fast and Furious. They are in every single movie and chosen to purposefully wow every onlooker. The stories get you hooked emotionally, but it’s the really incredible car sequences that keep fans filling theater seats. Therefore, it’s not surprising the franchise has used a ton of cars during the series. However, producers took this over the top when they filmed Fate of the Furious. Turns out more than 300 cars were used, from feature character driven cars to those seen in the background. Just think what the price tag would be for that?
23. The Actual Actors Drove in those Dangerous Scenes… Kind Of
If you’ve seen the movie Baby Driver then you’re probably familiar with the “Mic Rig.” It’s essentially a rig attached to the car whereby a professional driver can operate the vehicle while cameras film the actor as if they are the real driver. This was a great move because cars are zipping around at 80 to 100 mph. So while the actors weren’t really in control of the vehicle, they were dodging and drafting around the set at breakneck speeds. It’s one of the best ways to present realism and authenticity without putting an actor’s life in danger.
22. Not All the Cast Members Could Drive
You might think it’s a given that anyone cast in the Fast and Furious franchise has a drivers license, but that’s not been the case. If fact, two major characters played by Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster weren’t old enough to legally sit behind the wheel when they were cast as Lady and Mia. Maybe that’s a testament to their acting roles and makes them even more impressive. And yes, in case you’re wondering, both are licensed drivers now, although they do appear to be much more law-abiding than their on screen characters.
21. Real Street Racers were used for Most of the Race Scenes
So it turns out there’s a reason the initial street racing scene in Fast and Furious looks so realistic. It probably has something to do with the fact that director Rob Cohen rounded up 200 hundred illegal street racers to man the highly modified cars used for the dramatic opener. Cohen visited several illegal street races to prep for the movie. He even has a small cameo part as the pizza delivery guy winding through the maze of cars during the first scene. Using real street racers lends credibility and authenticity to the film.
20. Han’s Full Name is a Star Wars Reference
Look long and hard in the Fast and Furious franchise and you will find several Easter eggs. One happens to be associated with Han’s name. His full name is Han Seoul-Oh, an obvious reference to the intergalactic Harrison Ford smuggler from Star Wars we’ve all come to love and know. This is but one way the producers give head nods to films they admire or have worked on in the past.
19. The Fast and Furious Series has Gained Familiar and Unfamiliar Comparisons
Some have likened the Fast and Furious movie to West Side Story (cars taking the place of singing of course). Others have likened the original movie to the classic surfing movie Point Break as well as the popular undercover crime series Donnie Brasco. If the third act of the film seems familiar it’s because director Rob Cohen modeled the sequence on the famous San Francisco 1968 car chase scene from the popular movie Bullitt starring Steve McQueen. In fact, that’s why Cohen cast Paul Walker. He loved the movie and thought Paul had a striking resemblance to McQueen. Also, those with a knack for detail will notice the restaurant Dom and Brian visit about midway through the movie. Neptune’s Net is the same place Lori Petty‘s character, Tyler, works at in Point Break.
18. Eminem was Once Considered for a Role in the Series
You were already familiar with a few major stars considered for The Fast and the Furious. For instance, Ja Rule is one who was considered, but ultimately passed over in favor of Ludacris. However, what if the role of Brian O’Conner went to Eminem? That’s right, he was a consideration as well as Hollywood greats like Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. While that might seem silly now, it makes sense during the time of casting as you will recall all three of these were in high demand. Thankfully, they landed on Paul Walker and it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing that role.
17. The Title, “The Fast and Furious”, was Purchased from Roger Corman
Originally, The Fast and Furious was a 1955 movie made by American producer, director and actor Roger William Corman. Known as the pope of pop cinema, he was a true trailblazer for indie movies. However, there were a few interesting things about the original movie too that are as unique as the current franchise. For instance, actor John Ireland only agreed to appear in the film on the condition he could serve as director. And the beautiful costar of the film? Dorothy Malone had recently left her agent and had no work. Therefore, she agreed to her part in the movie for next to nothing. Eventually, Moritz would secure rights from Corman to produce the 2001 movie that spawned its own cinematic universe.
16. The Very Long Runway from Fast 6
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Sometimes there are movie events that simply seem to defy reality. Such is the long run we see from Fast and Furious 6. In fact, the entire scene lasts 13 minutes and is the climax of the film. If you remember, the entire crew is chasing down the cargo plane, trying to keep it from taking off. The length of this clip lead a few fans to do the math. Turns out the runway would have to be 28.86 miles long since the cars were driving at an average speed of 120 mph. To bring perspective, the longest runway in the world is a mere 3.4 miles long.
15. Continuity Errors
Of course to be a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise you have to be willing to suspend reality for unrealistic stunts and such. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t take the series seriously. Fans expect everything to “fit” which is hard for The Fast and Furious. There are a few continuity issues that super fans easily point out. One of these is the fact that Fast and Furious 6 supposedly happens after Tokyo Drift, yet the entire film looks very dated. Also, it seems like people in the film just stop caring all together about Han. Furthermore, where is Leon? He never returns from the original despite the fact Dominic is constantly focused on the importance of “family” and crew!
14. Furious 7 Retcons Tokyo Drift
So it turns out the whole reason Furious 7 was produced boils down to one thing. It Ret-Cons Tokyo Drift. This happens often in long movie sequences. Things get jumbled up, storylines get tangled and it takes one movie to untangle the mess. This one particularly addresses Han’s demise in Tokyo Drift. It places the blame on Deckard Shaw, the brother of the Fast and Furious 6 villain Owen Shaw. Not only does this help to sort the timeline, but sets the stage for a bigger franchise expansion with Dwayne Johnson starring in the movie Hobbs and Shaw.
13. What Brought Vin Diesel Back
So Vin bounced on the sequel for Fast and Furious. Ratings suffered. He only makes a cameo appearance in the third installment at the end. The idea was Dominic Toretto is back. In order to accomplish this, Universal agreed to sell Vin the rights to the Riddick series. The move paid off in a big way because the return of Vin kept the series alive. Ironically, Universal ended up fronting money for Vin to finish up the third Riddick movie after a messy bond issue messed things up. Vin invested several million himself.
12. Cars Dropped From Plane
It’s no secret that producers have done some pretty insane stunts throughout the Fast and Furious franchise. However, those over the top scenes cement the Furious movie franchise as legendary and iconic. One of those involved dropping some cars from a cargo plane only to have them parachute to a safe landing on a nameless mountain road. Of course the stunt itself is certifiably insane. However, as is common with the franchise, movie producers opted not to use CGI. These were real cars falling out of a real plane. Ironically, and somewhat expectedly, one of the cars was totally destroyed because its parachute failed to open. Makes you think twice the next time you hear, “Are you in good hands?”
11. Two Scripts were Written for 2 Fast 2 Furious
10. Ludacris Really Wanted a Fight Scene
So Ludacris really wanted to have a fight scene for his character. Production staff were hesitant though because they felt it didn’t fit in overall with Tej’ personality. However, Ludacris began working out with a form of martial arts known as 52 Blocks. Before Fast and Furious 7 he made a video and sent it to Vin Diesel and James Wan. And that’s how the Tej fight scene found its way into Furious 7 and gave hope to nerds everywhere.
9. Paul Walker’s Brother Finished Filming for Paul’s Character after his Death
Paul Walker’s death hit the cast and crew hard. However, production on the next film had already started and had to be finished. So, in a tribute of sorts, the production team took body doubles and mixed them in with CGI imagery of Paul. His brother even helped out too. he stepped in to voice over certain parts for Paul so the movie could be completed. That had to be rough, but the finished product was amazing!
8. There are Fast & Furious Short Films
So if you’re a hard-core fan, you still might not be aware of the short films that tighten up the Fast and Furious plot lines even further. That’s right, The Turbo Charged and Los Bandoleros are two short films with additional content. The first is a prelude to 2 Fast 2 Furious while the latter fits nicely between movies 3 and 4. Both are really fun rides (about 6-12 minutes) and worth a look if you are a super fan!
7. Tyrese and The Rock are not on the Best of Terms
It’s obvious Dwayne Johnson has had an amazing impact on the Fast and Furious series. However, not all of the cast are fans. Tyrese Gibson in particular, has repeatedly spoken about his disagreement with the Rock being part of the cast. He seems to be a bit green-eyed with jealousy though because he feels Hobbs and Shaw has overtaken the original series. In reality, production was delayed for Furious 9 so Hobbs and Shaw could be completed. Maybe Tyrese needs to just get over a few things.
6. Brian O’Conner was Originally Supposed to Escape Prison
Original plans for Paul Walker’s character Brian O’Conner were to have him break out of prison. The breakout would serve to kick start 2 Fast 2 Furious. The idea was that Paul now found himself on the wrong side of the law and the plot would develop from there. However, the idea for Brian O’Conner completely changed. Instead, he was rewritten as a reformed FBI agent of sorts who went somewhat vigilante style against the law with his own brand of truth for the rest of the franchise series
5. Paul Walker Picked his Own Cars for 2 Fast 2 Furious
It’s no secret Paul Walker is somewhat of a self-proclaimed gearhead himself. And while he may not work on cars that often, he does know his way around engines in terms of performance and speed. That’s why producers let him pick the vehicle he drives in 2 Fast 2 Furious. It says something when a movie producer will let you pick elements featured as a major portion of the film. It means they trusted Paul and his car picking skills.
4. The Film Series was Inspired by a Magazine
3. Social Media Assisted in getting The Rock on the Series
GILES KEYTE-UNIVERSAL PICTURES
With Hobbs and Shaw ready to roll out, Dwayne Johnson is firmly seated as one of the stars in the Fast and Furious series. Actually though, he owes a lot of this to social media. Turns out Vin Diesel posted on his social media page asking series fans which actor they would like to see join the franchise permanently. Since the Rock was already hugely popular he became one of the most common answers. Originally, producers wanted Men in Black star Tommy Lee Jones for the role, but due to social media demands they caved and put Dwayne in instead
2. Brian and Letty Don’t Talk until the Sixth Movie
It takes six movies before Bryan and Letty speak. If you’re familiar with the franchise then you probably already know this. In the first movie they have zero communication. Michelle opted not to return for the second movie, and neither Michelle nor Paul star in the third. Then, Letty dies in the fourth movie and doesn’t appear in the fifth. That makes Fast and Furious 6 the first time each character speaks to the other on screen
1. Dwayne Johnson watches himself Play Football