15 Facts About 'The Fast and the Furious'

by IMDb-Editors | last updated - 21 Jun 2016

Take a look in the rearview mirror at some trivia for The Fast and the Furious as the movie celebrates its 15th anniversary. — Arno Kazarian

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Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in The Fast and the Furious (2001)

The Jets and Sharks Were an Inspiration

The filmmakers pitched the project as "West Side Story with cars instead of singing," and they utilized themes and situations from both Point Break and Donnie Brasco in the script as well.

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in The Fast and the Furious (2001)

It All Started With a Vibe

"Racer X," a 1998 article in Vibe magazine about street-race fanatics who were tearing up New York City pavement in their Japanese compacts, inspired the idea to make the movie.

With a direct nod to the article, Racer X was one of the project's working titles, as were Redline and Race Wars. The title rights to this 1955 Roger Corman movie were secured so the project could legally be called The Fast and the Furious.

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in The Fast and the Furious (2001)

More on That 'Point Break' Influence

Many fans assert that the Point Break and Fast and the Furious story lines are pretty much identical.

At one point in the movie, Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) visit a restaurant called Neptune’s Net. The real-life restaurant, located along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, is the same place where Lori Petty's character, Tyler, works in Point Break.

Paul Walker in The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Leading Men and a Top Rapper Wanted to Play O'Conner

Though the character of Brian O'Conner will forever be synonymous with Paul Walker, Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Eminem were all considered for the part before Walker was cast in the role.

Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Some Serious Drivers Ed Was Required

It is well documented that neither Michelle Rodriguez nor Jordana Brewster had driver's licenses or even learner's permits before filming began, but Vin Diesel wasn't a pro driver before cameras rolled, either. Diesel attended stunt-driving school in Las Vegas while the project was in pre-production so that he could look convincing behind the wheel.

Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez in The Fast and the Furious (2001)

They Dated?

Jordana Brewster, who was dating Mark Wahlberg at the time, outlasted Natalie Portman, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kirsten Dunst, Bijou Phillips, and Jessica Biel for the role of Mia Toretto. Initially, Mia was written for Eliza Dushku, but she turned it down.

Michelle Rodriguez, who was in a romance with Vin Diesel during production, had a more direct line to her role: The opportunity to play Letty served as her second-ever audition after her breakout debut in Girlfight.

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in The Fast and the Furious (2001)

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Legacy

The green 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX that Paul Walker drives at the beginning of the film is same one used in Sex Drive. Also, this is the only movie in the franchise where O'Conner doesn't drive a Nissan Skyline as his primary vehicle, which was one of Walker's favorite cars. Nevertheless, a Skyline does make an appearance in the movie; it can be seen in the four-way race where O'Conner tries to impress Toretto and his team.

Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious (2001)

A Tale of Two Domestic Cars

Only two domestic vehicles are ever driven by the principal cast: Dom has his 1970 Charger, and Brian has his Ford Lightning truck. More domestic vehicles would begin to appear in the sequels, however, as automakers made deals with Universal Pictures.

Ted Levine in The Fast and the Furious (2001)

"It Puts the Fuel in the Gas Tank."

Who is the actor who plays the police sergeant all supportive of O'Conner throughout the movie? That's Ted Levine, perhaps best known for starring in your nightmares ever since he portrayed Jame Gumb, aka "Buffalo Bill," in The Silence of the Lambs.

Jason Scott Lee in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993)

Bruce Lee Makes an Appearance of Sorts

The movie playing on the TV in Dom's house during the party is Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, which was also directed by Rob Cohen.

Rob Cohen in The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Extra Appearance, Extra Cheese

Rob Cohen makes an appearance in the movie as a Pizza Hut delivery guy.

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

The 'Bullitt' Connection

Rob Cohen modeled the third-act chase sequence on classic scenes from Bullitt. It's been said that Cohen loves the movie so much that he cast actor Paul Walker because he thought he resembled Steve McQueen.

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

The 'Training Day' Connection

The street where Dom crashes his car near the end of the film is the same location as the first narcotics bust in Training Day. What's more, both of these movies were written by David Ayer.

Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious (2001)

The Chevy Chevelle Legacy

At the end of the movie, Dom drives off in a red 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS454 coupe. The car is seen again when Dom makes his return to the franchise in 2009's Fast & Furious.

Although multiple versions of the car exist, Diesel gifted one of the Chevelles to his infant daughter, who was born while Fast & Furious was in production.

Michelle Rodriguez in The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Horsepower at the Box Office

After a $40 million opening weekend in the U.S., the movie racked up $144,533,925 total in the States. It made $207,283,925 worldwide. In terms of franchise standings, it ranks 5th in the U.S. and 6th worldwide.

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