Vin Diesel came dangerously close to missing out on the hugely successful film franchise that made him a household name.
The 53-year-old actor revealed that he almost pulled out of the first Fast & Furious movie while performing on Weekly entertainment‘s Binge podcast, released Friday.
He admitted that he had doubts about the heist movie after reading an early version of the screenplay that was missing.
Close call: Vin Diesel, 53, shared on EW’s Binge podcast that he nearly quit 2001’s The Fast And The Furious after reading an early version of the script that fell short of his standards; seen in 2019
Diesel wasn’t even the studio’s first choice for 2001’s The Fast And The Furious, as it originally wanted Justified’s Timothy Olyphant to play Dominic Toretto.
But Universal eventually switched to Diesel, who had already made a big movie with the studio.
Universal was ultimately involved in the release of Pitch Black, the only other movie I made of that magnitude, and so they said, ‘We have this movie about illegal car racing on the street, and we want you to play this character, who is a tough guy, outlaw, with a heart and a code, ” he recalled.
Then they describe that scene you see in the first movie where the camera goes through my eye and down my arm to the motor, and that’s all they described. And I said, “Yes, I’m in!” ‘
Sold! Diesel was initially in after the studio described “that scene you see in the first movie, where the camera goes through my eye and down my arm to the engine; shown with Paul Walker in The Fast And The Furious (2001)
Disappointed: But he almost changed his mind when he read the script. “I have a conflict here because this script is not what I thought it would be”; still from The Fast And The Furious
But he started to get shaky about his dedication when he got the chance to actually read the script.
The next day I was going to go to the Pitch Black premiere in Australia, and I read the script and I’m going … [pauses and sighs]. I have a conflict here because this script is not what I thought it would be. ‘
But David Ayer, who would write the Oscar-winning movie Training Day (and later direct the critically-maligned DC Comics movie Suicide Squad), was commissioned to rewrite, and a conversation with him put Diesel at ease.
‘The irony is that I felt like I had gotten what the character wanted to be in the first script, but I felt there were things that conflicted with this truth – and that’s where David came in,’ he continued. ‘I remember him saying,’ The Dom character is so complex, I’ve never seen anything like it since Alonzo [Denzel Washington’s Oscar-winning role in Training Day]. ”
‘I appreciated that he could see the complexity of the character … And some other characters needed some refinement too, like the Letty character. I am so lucky that they were open to it and they really wanted me to feel good and confident about it.
He added that that kind of care and trust in an actor was not “the normal Hollywood story.” – but my Hollywood story has never been the normal Hollywood story. ‘
Redeemed: But a David Ayer rewrite saved the movie for him. “I appreciated that he could see the complexity of the character”; still from The Fast And The Furious
Old Friend: He added a loving anecdote about his late friend and costar Paul Walker, who flew back from Mexico before the first movie came out and insisted they go commercial; seen in March 2020
As usual, Vin added a loving anecdote about his late friend and ex-costar Paul Walker, who died in a car accident before the filming of 2015’s Furious 7 was completed.
He recalled how the two went to Mexico for MTV Spring Break leading up to the release of The Fast And The Furious, and how Paul had wanted them to advertise on the way home instead of going private.
It was only on that journey that he understood how much his life would change because of his impending fame.
And I will never forget this: we sit on the floor of this airport, bags aside, legs stretched, thousands of people walk by, walk over us. Now he had already released a few movies, so he was a little more familiar with what was to come, and he said, “Vin, take this all in. Keep in mind that all these people are just walking past us.”
“I said,” Why, “and he said,” Because when this movie comes out, our anonymity will disappear. ” It was so telling, and it was so unreal how he knew it. ‘
Seeing the Future: Walker told Diesel to watch all the people at the airport passing by. “Because when this movie comes out, our anonymity is gone,” he said presciently; still from The Fast And The Furious