The Fast & Furious franchise would be nothing without its lead actors Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, but Diesel almost didn’t make the cut!
After seven Fast & Furious movies (the eighth one comes out this week), we couldn’t image a different cast playing these epic roles, but once upon a time, Diesel, who plays the head of the family, Dominic Toretto, wasn’t the first choice for the franchise.
On Wednesday, producer Neil H. Moritz revealed that Diesel almost didn’t get his shot at the role, because it was slated to go to Timothy Olyphant.
“I had been working with Paul Walker on another movie, Skulls, and I have him the script [for The Fast and the Furious]. Rob Cohen, who I had made The Rat Pack with, we gave him the script. The two of them liked the idea. And then we had to look for Dom Toretto,” Moritz told Bill Simmons on The Bill Simmons Podcast, according to EW.
The studio had one guy in mind and it wasn’t Diesel.
“The studio said, ‘If you can get Timothy Olyphant to play that role we will greenlight the movie,’” he continued. “The luckiest thing that ever happened to us is Tim Olyphant turned us down. He’s a great actor. In fact, I’m curious to see what that movie would have been.”
Olyphant is an amazing actor, but really, no Diesel? That would’ve been terrible!
Once Olyphant turned down the role, Moritz set his sights on Diesel, and the rest is history.
“I went and met him at Kate Mantilini [restaurant] and he wasn’t a star yet, but the great thing about Vin is he always believed he was a star,” Moritz revealed. “And I was going in there to think he’s coming to me to want the role and I’m the one there now having to convince him to do the role! Lucky for both of us that happened. And then we started to make the movie.”
Clearly it was luck and a lot of movie magic to make this casting work, and we are SO glad that it did.
The Fate of the Furious hits theaters on April 14, 2017.