The Fast and Furious series started out humbly and simply enough in 2001, with street racer Dom Toretto and his crew on one side of the law and FBI agent Brian O'Conner on the other in its first movie, The Fast and the Furious. Since then, however, the franchise has just refused to die, instead accumulating a mythology of villains and heroes and assortment of other crazily unlikely circumstances.
You could put Fast and Furious' nonsense up against world wrestling, soap operas, or superhero comic books any day of the week-- and that's not just limited to what happens in front of the camera either.
Often what's going on behind the scenes with the Fast and Furious flicks is just as fun to hear about as witnessing their gleeful willingness to pile plot twists on top of plot twists and smash and bash the shiniest models of the newest cars.
It's time to explore all of this and more with the 15 Dark Fast and Furious Secrets You Had No Idea About.
The Fate and The Furious' marketing was predicated on a simple hook: family no more. Dom went rogue. It was up to Hobbs and the rest of the crew to take him down. It was The Rock vs. Vin Diesel round 2. Judging by the box office, many fans were all down for that.
However, have you ever noticed that The Rock and Vin don't share a single scene? Production on Fate was troubled, as evidenced by the Rock's Instagram post calling out his male co-star as a "candy a**." The candy a** in question was Vin Diesel.
If you re-watch Fate with this in mind, it's hilarious to see how the film strains to keep them apart. It wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world if some of that bad blood colored the story in a genuine way, though. Except perhaps for director Gary F. Gray, who probably had enough variables to contend with besides than feuding divas.
It's funny to imagine Letty and Mia having to take their driver's licence test, but they did. In fact, actors Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster had little experience behind the wheel before the first movie.
Brewster had to start learning to drive in New York City, and had to pass her test or she would've been dropped from the film due to insurance requirements-- as if taking the test isn't nerve wracking enough. On the other hand, Rodriguez found that learning to drive strictly for the series led to a speeding problem.
She said, “I got such a bad record for speeding 'cause I got my licence for Fast and Furious. After 11 points on your licence, you're like 'yo, where's that Prius at? I'm dropping this M3 somewhere.'”
Tyrese Gibson, who plays the fast-talking and smooth Roman Pearce, seems royally pissed that production on Fast 9 could be delayed in favour of fast-tracking a Hobbs spinoff.
Tyrese posted on Instagram, calling out The Rock: "If you move forward with that #Hobbs Movie you will have purposefully ignored the heart to heart moment we had in my sprinter. I don't wanna hear from you until you remember what we talked about. I'm on your timeline cause you're not responding to my text messages – #FastFamily is just that a family...We don't fly solo.”
He also added, “Bro just being honest I didn't like Baywatch."
Michelle Rodriguez, who plays Dom's main love interest Letty, has floated the idea that she'll get off the wild ride for good. Coinciding with the digital release of The Fate and the Furious, Rodriguez wrote in an Instagram post, saying: "I hope they decide to show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one. Or I might just have to say goodbye to a loved franchise. It's been a good ride & I'm grateful for the opportunity the fans and studio have provided over the years... One Love.”
This isn't the first time Rodriguez has threatened to walk. During the making of the first movie, Rodriguez expressed exasperation at Letty's arc, in which she'd cheat on Dom with Brian. “My whole point in being an actress is that I thought I got to live a dream. I don't dream of being a slut! Do you?!," she said.
For a franchise that prides itself on its familial themes as much as it does its eye-candy and action, Fast and Furious sure has dropped the ball with that element in some strange ways.
For instance, Brian and Letty, who've been there since the very beginning, don't even exchange dialogue with each other until Fast and Furious 6, which takes place over a decade after they were introduced.
It's a little less jarring when you take into account that 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift shifted away from the main cast for the most part, and that Letty was supposed to be dead for Fast and Furious and Fast Five. Still, this seems like a very strange move. One less car crash scene in favour of strengthening the family bonds surely wouldn't have gone amiss.
This is where Fast and Furious shares a unique similarity with superhero comic book material, and the Fox X-Men films in particular: the timeline is a tad wonky.
The first two movies, The Fast and The Furious and 2 Fast 2 Furious laid down the foundations for the franchise. However, the third instalment, Tokyo Drift, is actually not the third in the storyline-- it comes after Fast & Furious, Fast Five, and Fast and Furious 6.
Furious 7 features a scene that demonstrates that Tokyo Drift and Furious 7 happen concurrently, which may be something for the more eagle-eyed fan to notice.
Perhaps this bit of non-linear playfulness means that a time machine – a car time machine, if you will – can't be too far off.
It's no secret that Hollywood films aggressively ripoff each other. It's all part of keeping the machine well-oiled and running. However, some are far more obvious about their inspirations than others.
For example, one particular movie follows a young FBI agent who infiltrates a gang to find out who's behind a string of robberies. The FBI agent falls in love with the woman who's closely linked to the leader. Eventually, he bonds with the gang, and let's the leader escape.
If you guessed Point Break, you'd be right. However, if you guessed The Fast and The Furious, you would also be right. Who would've thought that, from such unimaginative beginnings, Fast and Furious would be consistently rolling to a billion dollars with each sequel over a decade later?
Thanks to a dealing, Vin Diesel managed to secure the rights to the breakout character in Pitch Black, Riddick, giving a whole new meaning to an actor owning their role. The price wasn't a dollar figure amount, though. All Diesel had to do was agree to cameo in Tokyo Drift.
Desperate to at least keep the franchise on life support, Universal wanted to send the message that the street-racing corona drinking fambly man of the original would be back in a fourth sequel.
With the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to see that Diesel got the short of end the stick. Still, without that cameo, Fast and Furious might not've limped to a fourth movie in order to eventually power to a sixth one after a terrific fifth instalment.
As far as unintended last words to a loved one go, Vin Diesel's speech to Paul Walker weren't so bad.
After filming a dangerous sequence, “a semi-kamikaze stunt to save his friend” for Furious 7, Diesel made his way to Walker's trailer for a heart-to-heart. Diesel told Variety that filming such a pulse-pounding and complicatedly choreographed sequence put him in the mindset to have a serious conversation with someone close about the possibility of his death. “These action films are very dangerous, no matter what anybody tells you,” Diesel said.
Diesel told Walker: “If I ever do die, let them know what kind of brother I've been to you.” The two then hugged and went their separate ways for the last time.
Remember in the last scene of The Fate of the Furious when Dom declared to his family that his newborn son would be named Brian? It was quite touching, and was perhaps the one genuinely heartwarming moment in the whole film. Although, much like at the end of Furious 7, real life circumstances inform and give weight and emotion to the scene.
To honour Paul Walker's memory in real life, Vin Diesel named his newborn Pauline. Diesel said of the moment his daughter was born, “There's no other person I'm thinking about as I'm cutting the umbilical cord. I knew he was there and I felt like, you know, a way to keep his memory a part of my memory, a part of my world.”
Say what you will about the Fast & Furious franchise, it has attracted some seriously charismatic and talented performers over the years. One of them was, well, almost, Denzel Washington.
The offer would've seen him occupy an unspecified part in Furious 7. Evidently, Denzel felt like putting that million dollar smile and boundless charisma to other roles, which, of course, makes sense. It's hard to image any kind of world in which Denzel would play second fiddle to Vin Diesel.
We can only speculate what part he'd have played. He may have been offered the part that eventually went to Kurt Russell, as the government agent who recruited the crew to retrieve a valuable piece of software. It's all too easy to see him play a smooth-talking charm factory.
Director Justin Lin is largely credited with creatively reinvigorating the Fast & Furious franchise, which was petering out after the collective shrug of a reaction to Fast & Furious. His effort with Fast Five made the possibilities not just seem endless, but also exciting to consider.
However, film is a collaborative medium. Although Dom Toretto is the beating heart of the Fast and Furious films, Vin Diesel is one of the producers keeping Dom Toretto and the gang's wheels in motion. His input extends far and wide indeed, right down to selecting songs for the promotional soundtracks for each instalment.
"I'm not the writer, but I'm the sage visionary. There's nobody in the world that could sit down and tell you what each story is," Diesel said.
Compared to the insanely bombastic latter Fast and Furious films, The Fast and The Furious is a gritty affair. However, comparison to latter films aside, it is not as ridiculous a label for the film.
Rob Cohen, the man behind the camera, enlisted in over 200 street racers and their souped up cars for the initial street racing scenes to grant the flashy cops and robbers proceedings an air of authenticity.
After car drones flying off buildings and The Rock punching a missile in Fate of The Furious, maybe the answer for future instalments would be to dial it back by a lot and bring back some of that authenticity.
Street racing culture has surely changed in some interesting ways in the intervening decade and a half since The Fast and the Furious.
Part of The Rock's movie star appeal is his ability to rattle off a quick improvised insult and make it look effortless.
Such was the case at the end of Fast and Furious 6, when Roman makes the mistake in teasing Hobbs' about his baby-oil – “Yo, better hide that baby oil!” The Rock improvised the line, “You better hide that big-a** forehead”-- a retort so unexpectedly funny and off script that Ludacris' spit-take reaction was genuine. As was, we can assume, Tyrese's sulky expression.
The Rock's tenure as the People's Champ during the WWF Attitude Era wasn't just good for honing his muscles to the point where he could easily body-slam a fella, it also helped him develop his ability to verbally cut down others who stood in his way.
Furious 7 ended with an organic and touching tribute to Paul Walker/Brian, made all the more impressive considering Paul Walker tragically died halfway through production.
"See You Again", with Wiz Khalifa and featuring Charlie Pluth, was the touching pop song used to make that final scene even more of a tear-jerker. It was easily the most memorable scene in the flick that didn't feature cars dropping from huge airplanes or safely parachuting just in time for an action set piece.
In fact it worked so well in Furious 7 that people don't tire of hearing it, despite it being arguably overplayed.
As of July, the wistful and earnest "See You Again" dethroned PSY's wacky and absurd "Gangnam Stye", which had been sitting as YouTube's most viewed video for 5 years with 2,895,721,567 views. However, "See You Again"edged it out ever so slightly, garnering 2,900,522,980 views.
Can you think of any other secrets about Fast & Furious that we missed? Let us know in the comment section!