15 Facts About Paul Walker’s ‘Fast And Furious’ Movies
It’s been nine years since his death and yet many fans still need a minute at the mention of the late actor and star of those fast car movies, Paul Walker. And to think, his most famous character Brian O’Connor was almost played by a rapper who hates his mom. Here are some Fast and Furious trivia about Walker’s time in the fast lane.
Training In Formula One Cars
Walker and his castmates got to practice in Formula One cars to get them ready for the movie's street racing scenes. Director Rob Cohen said he could immediately tell that Walker was the perfect driver. “It was clear he had a natural talent. He had no fear. You could see he was falling in love with the whole car business.”
The Train Scene In The Fast And The Furious
While that scene plays out like the two drivers had a super close shave with an oncoming train, some filmmaking magic was used to make sure they weren’t in any real danger at all. The cars and the train were filmed separately and only combined during post-production.
The Mic Rig
To make it look like the drivers were doing some insane speeds at times, the crew built the “Mic Rig,” which was basically a high-powered truck, its back seats removed, with a chassis on the back to which the cars were attached and pulled at high speed while the crew filmed all of it. The actors sat behind the wheels of the dummy cars to make it look like they were doing the driving themselves.
Fast Five: The Train Robbery
The stunt-filled scene cost $25 million to shoot, and almost none of it was CG. Diesel and Walker’s stuntmen performed the actual leap into the water, and the plummeting car was filmed separately and then superimposed over the stunt footage.
The White House
The director had the owners paint the house of Dominic Toretto (Diesel) white because he wanted the flashy colors of the cars to pop in the shots.
How Paul Walker Got Involved In The F&F Movies
The late actor told Motor Trend back in May of 2013: “I was working on a movie called The Skulls. The studio, producer, and director asked, ‘What do you want to do next?’ I said, ‘I want to do a movie where I'm racing cars or I'm an undercover cop.’ They combined the two and that's how The Fast and the Furious came to be. It wasn't that dynamic: racing in a straight line. We didn't realize just how big it was. Now it's not just a car movie. It's a heist movie. It's an action movie. I jokingly ask, ‘Where else is there to go?’”
The Fight That Was Almost Way Different
The fight between Brian and Vince in the first movie was carefully choreographed to resemble a street scrap one would find in director Rob Cohen’s Bruce Lee films. However, when the actors started filming the scene, it didn’t feel right, and they ended up improvising and just having a regular ol’ street fight.
It Was Almost The Paul Walker-Timothy Olyphant Bromance
The studio initially wanted Olyphant to play the Dom to Walker’s Brian, telling producer Neal H. Moritz that if he got the Gone in 60 Seconds actor on board, they’d greenlight the movie. The actor passed on the role, and director Rob Cohen suggested this new guy named Vin Diesel.
Paul Walker’s Character Initially Had A Different Story In Fast & Furious
Originally, Walker’s cop character was going to start the fourth feature film locked up in prison for helping Diesel’s character escape at the end of the first movie. The film would’ve opened with Walker doing a jailbreak instead of him being a reformed F.B.I. agent.
Paul Walker Wasn’t Everyone’s First Choice To Play Brian O’Connor
The studio wanted a big name attached to the movie and, at one point, even considered casting Eminem in the role. Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale were also being considered.
The Cut Scene From Fast Five
To complete Furious 7 following Walker’s death, footage from previous movies was used to fill out the film, including a scene between Mia and Brian in the Dominican Republic that was filmed for Fast Five.
The Final Act Of Furious 7 Had To Be Rewritten
Following Walker’s death during production of Furious 7, the entire final act had to be rewritten to give his character a proper send-off. Screenwriter Chris Morgan revealed how the movie would’ve ended originally: “Well, the original ending, if I remember correctly, was our guys end up solving the problem and then kind of becoming — again, going more outlaw, it was sort of a happier ending that kind of ends with the insinuation that they were gonna go off onto this heist or this job.”
The Race Wars Scene Was A Big Event
The racing tournament required 1000 extras and 35 cars to create. The drivers raced for five days of filming, in 100-degree temperatures.
Paul Walker Wasn’t Sure If He Wanted To Do Furious 7
Walker was so used to working with Justin Lin as director that, when James Wan got slated to do Furious 7, he had his doubts. When Walker bumped into J.J. Abrams at a South by Southwest event, he asked the man’s opinion. “I said, ‘They want us to go do another Fast & Furious, but my man, Justin, isn’t coming back. I don’t know if I want to do it.’ He said, ‘F**k, don’t do it then.’ That was coming from a director. I thought that was cool. I really was like, ‘I don’t know.’ And Justin passed on a crazy amount of money.”
After talking with James Wan about the movie over the phone, Walker was convinced that he’d be a good director for the seventh film.
Paul Walker And Vin Diesel Promised Each Other They’d Make 10 Fast & Furious Movies
Diesel told Men’s Health in 2021: "We walked into this bodega, and people just cannot believe that Dom and Brian are walking into a bodega. One of the guys called him Brian. And when we left, and we were in the car, he said, 'That's my favorite thing. It's my favorite thing when people call me Brian.' To him, it was a beautiful compliment. I still think about it to this day because it just says so much that there was so much pride in this iconic character he created. It was his creation, his superhero, and that moment represented a simpler life, I guess. It made me want to protect that even more because that mountain looming that is Fast 10 — that's what we promised each other, that we would take this franchise and end it at Fast 10.”
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