When Fast and Furious was released in 2001, no one could have predicted the worldwide phenomenon it would become, generating six sequels (plus two short films), grossing over $2.38 billion, and turning Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster into international stars.
Of course, with so many films and, at one point, 13 characters in a single film, the Fast & Furious franchise has a lot of backstory and mythology.
Let’s look at some of the cool and weird facts about The Fast & Furious franchise that you probably don’t know.
Fast & Furious franchise facts
- Not everyone in the cast is capable of driving a car
Despite the fact that the film is about extreme driving feats, Michelle Rodriguez, who plays Letty, and Jordana Brewster, who plays Mia, both lacked a driver’s license. Brewster told VH1 that she was worried that if she didn’t get her driver’s license, she would be dropped from the film for insurance concerns, while Rodriguez told ET that she started collecting speeding tickets soon after earning her license.
- There was an automobile in the bank vault –
Dom and Brian steal an entire bank vault by dragging it through the streets of Rio behind their cars as the robbery comes to a close. Those photos were achieved with genuine vaults, but not while they were being pulled. As the stunt coordinator explained in an interview with Vanity Fair, that was a mock-up fitted around a truck that could be driven to give the impression the cars were pulling it.
- The movie “The Fast and the Furious” (2001) was based on a magazine article
Director Rob Cohen got the concept for “The Fast and the Furious” after reading an article by Ken Li called “Racer X” in Vibe Magazine in 1998. The article went into great detail about the street racing scene in New York. After that, Cohen went to a race in Los Angeles and was inspired to make the film after viewing it. He persuaded Universal to buy the article’s rights from Li.
- For the sequel, Vin Diesel turned down a $25 million offer –
Originally, Vin Diesel and Rob Cohen, the director of “The Fast and the Furious,” were asked to return for the sequel, but Diesel declined. In a 2015 magazine feature, Diesel stated that he was dissatisfied with the script and turned down a $25 million payday for the picture. Following Cohen’s departure, filmmaker John Singleton took over, and the film eventually focuses on Brian and his childhood friend Roman Pierce, played by Tyrese Gibson.
- “Fast 5” was supposed to be the second installment of a “trilogy” –
When Diesel and Lin returned to the franchise, they were joined by screenwriter Chris Morgan. They treated “Fast & Furious,” “Fast & Furious 5”, and “Fast & Furious 6” like an “internal trilogy” within the franchise. In an interview with Screen Rant, Diesel stated that he believes there should be a long-term story plan in place for the franchise’s sequels so that the three films have some sort of arc.
- The train-jumping scene was shot twice
At the climax of the film, Brian and Dom are racing against a speeding train and are just barely beating it. Despite how life-threatening the sequence appears, the train never came close to colliding with the automobiles. This is because the segment with the cars was shot independently from the portion with the train, and the two elements were blended in post-production.
- Following Paul Walker’s death, his brothers assisted in the completion of the film –
Walker died in 2013, leaving a portion of the movie incomplete. At the end of the picture, Diesel and director James Wan included an extended tribute to Walker, with Walker’s brothers Caleb and Cody standing in for him. For key shots, such as the homage scene, the producers used special effects and old footage of Paul to digitally add his face to his brothers’ bodies. Meanwhile, in the film, Walker’s character Brian retires to live with Dom’s sister, Mia .
- “The Chronicles of Riddick” – The cost of Vin Diesel’s cameo
Vin Diesel had to persuade Justin Lin to do his cameo at the end of “Tokyo Drift,” which marked the start of his return to the franchise in Lin’s next film, “Fast & Furious.” Lin revealed in a film Q&A that he spent hours trying to get Diesel to appear. Diesel only agreed to do the cameo in exchange for the rights to his sci-fi franchise “The Chronicles of Riddick.”
- Letty was still alive, even Michelle Rodriguez didn’t know –
Letty survived “Fast & Furious” during the post-credits scene in “Fast Five,” which surprised many. However, Rodriguez was not informed that her character survived the fourth film by producer Vin Diesel. She discovered about Letty’s survival in the same way as fans did: by watching the “Fast 5” post-credits sequence.
- Cars were actually dropped from a plane by the filmmakers.
In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, the crew drives out of a cargo plane in mid-flight before parachuting to a desolate mountain road to steal a convoy. The filmmakers did, in fact, drop a bunch of cars from a plane to film the scene, as ridiculous as it may sound. To get the shot, skydivers had to chase down the cars. Because one of the cars’ parachute failed to open, the attempt was a failure.
- Submarines couldn’t have beaten a car in the race
TheWrap questioned the Mythbusters if the submarine-car pursuit in the eighth “Fast & Furious” film was even feasible, since submarines are slow, barely rising beyond 50 miles per hour while traversing ocean and transporting so much nuclear weapons. Dom’s high-performance supercars would literally blow it out of the water.
- Vin Diesel kisses Charlize Theron like “a dead fish”
Charlize Theron, who plays cyber-terrorist Cypher in the “F&F” franchise, blackmails Dom and kisses him at one point in the film to indicate how far he’s gone. He’s supposed to be hesitant, so when the two kissed, Theron merely sat there “frozen, like a dead fish,” according to “Ellen.” Diesel eventually appeared on “Ellen” and reacted angrily to the analogy.