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17 things about the Fast & Furious movies …

courtesy of

1. Jordana Brewster learned to drive specifically for the franchise. 
Brewster had to get her license before production started on the first film, or else risk getting replaced due to insurance concerns. That meant Brewster not only had to learn how to drive in New York City traffic, but also had just one shot at passing the test. Thankfully, she nailed it.

2. Michelle Rodriguez became a speed demon thanks to the films.
Rodriguez also learned to drive on the set of the first The Fast and The Furious film, which she told Entertainment Tonight is most likely the cause of her terrible speeding habit: “I got such a bad record with speeding ’cause I got my license for Fast and Furious. After 11 points on your license, you’re like, ‘Yo, where’s that Prius at?’”

3. Two different scripts were written for 2 Fast 2 Furious. 
Now most famous for introducing Tyrese Gibson’s character Roman Pearce, the sequel was originally supposed to feature Dom and Brian teaming up to take down a drug kingpin. However, when it didn’t seem like Vin Diesel would be available to start filming, the script was re-written to bring in Roman and introduce a brand new duo.

4. Rodriguez discovered that Letty was alive the same way the rest of us did. 
After her character was seemingly killed in the fourth installment, Rodriguez went to see Fast Five in theaters, where she discovered that Letty was alive at the same time that the audience did. The actress explained to Yahoo!,“They wanted to surprise me.”

5. The Rock was cast in the films thanks to a Facebook comment. 
Dwayne Johnson’s character, Agent Hobbs, was originally supposed to be played by a much older actor, but when director Justin Lin and Diesel saw a Facebook comment talking about how cool it would be to see The Rock go toe-to-toe with Diesel, the two couldn’t resist. They re-worked the part and offered it immediately to the wrestler/actor.

6. Jason Statham was originally cast as the bad guy in Furious 6
The role played by Luke Evans in the sixth film was originally meant for Statham. However, once Lin realized it would make a better ending to have Statham appear at the end of the credits — and thus, tease the next film —  his role was replaced by Evans.

7. Diesel only returned to the franchise so he could make another Riddick film. 
After the actor/producer skipped out on 2 Fast 2 Furious, Universal was desperate to get him to make a cameo in Tokyo Drift. Diesel only agreed to the part in exchange for the rights to the Riddick franchise, which he received in lieu of payment. Not only did he get another installment of his passion project, that cameo also opened things up for him to return to the Fast & Furious films.

8. Rodriguez almost quit the franchise.
The actress took a stand when she found out the writers were planning a love triangle involving her character, Dom, and Brian. “I basically cried and said, I’m going to quit and, ‘Don’t sue me, please — I’m sorry, but I can’t do this in front of millions of people,’” said Rodriguez, who explained she felt it was unrealistic for her character to cheat on Dom.

9. Brian and Letty only speak to each other once in the entire series. 
Though Rodriguez and Paul Walker were incredibly close in real life, their on-screen counterparts were actually quite distant, and only spoke to one another directly for the first time in Furious 6, when Brian apologizes to Letty for getting her involved with Braga.

10. Walker hand-picked all of Brian’s cars for the films. 
The actor had been a street-racing enthusiast for years before he was cast in The Fast and the Furious, and so he personally got to choose every single car that his character drove over the course of the franchise. In fact, several of Brian’s cars — including the first one he drives in 2 Fast 2 Furious — were actually his own vehicles.

11. Brian’s signature Nissan Skyline doesn’t appear until the second film. 
Though Brian’s love of that particular car has become an important part of the franchise’s lore, Walker doesn’t actually drive a Nissan Skyline in the first film. However, in an homage to its future significance, one does appear in the background of the race where Brian attempts to join Dom’s team.

12. Walker’s real-life brothers doubled him for Furious 7. 
After Walker’s tragic death delayed filming of the most recent installment, his brothers Caleb Walker and Cody Walker offered to be body doubles for the late actor so that the movie could be completed. The pair’s sweet act of tribute meant that the entire film wouldn’t have to be reworked halfway through production.

13. The original Fast and the Furious film is an unofficial Point Break remake. 
It’s hard to imagine the street racing franchise having anything in common with the 1991 cult classic, but the plot of The Fast and the Furious is nearly identical to that of Point Break. Since then, however, the films have, of course, taken on a life of their own, shifting focus from street racing to heists.

14. The cast improvised important moments in the franchise. 
From the fight between Brian and Vince outside the grocery store in the first film to the many funny and memorable lines of dialogue, the franchise’s various directors have often encouraged the cast to improvise, thanks to their incredibly close bond.

15. Justin Lin is responsible for the franchise’s shift away from CGI. 
After racing enthusiasts complained about the amount of CGI used in the previous installments, Lin decided to shift back to practical effects in Fast Five, a decision that has carried on through the rest of the films. So all of those explosions, races, and terrifying jumps? They’re all real.

16. The release order of the films is not the actual chronological order. 
Furious 7 is actually a direct continuation of Tokyo Drift, which was released back in 2006. Based on the order of events in the series, the chronological order is actually thusThe Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Furious 6, Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Furious 7. 

17. Diesel is already campaigning for Furious 7 to win an Oscar. 
As one of the franchise stars and executive producers, Diesel is also one of its biggest champions, so it comes as no surprise that he believes that the films deserve a little award recognition. In an interview with Variety, he predicted that Furious 7 would sweep up on Oscar night: “Universal is going to have the biggest movie in history with this movie. It will probably win best picture at the Oscars, unless the Oscars don’t want to be relevant ever.”

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