The Fast and Furious franchise is one of the biggest action franchises of all time, and a gift that keeps on giving to fans. By 2021, there will have been nine films in the main franchise, and at least one spinoff, Hobbs & Shaw (with more on the way). In addition to the amazing stuntwork and insane driving skills seen throughout the films, and even despite a few plot holes, the movies are exceptional, thanks to the large cast that brings the series' characters to life.
If you're a huge fan of the franchise, you probably know a lot about the major players in the films - but how much do you really know about Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Jason Statham, Gal Gadot, Charlize Theron, and the other talented actors and actresses who have shown up in the movies over the years?
This list highlights some of the more fascinating things you didn't know about the Fast and Furious cast members.
When Paul Walker first walked into Paragon Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2004, he became immediately hooked on the sport. He was taught by Ricardo Franjinha, and the two worked together around Walker's frantic film schedule. He also attended group classes, which is unusual for a celebrity, but he was dedicated, and also flew Franjinha out to train him on set. Walker earned his brown belt in 2012, but a conversation he had with Franjinha years earlier eerily predicted his attainment of the coveted black belt. Franjinha recalled:
Paul was like many white belts; he wanted to know about becoming a black belt. I told him that at Paragon we don't give away black belts. I said that I didn't care who he was, I was not giving him a "celebrity black belt." He loved that! He said that he knew that he was starting late (he was 31), but... "I will get my black belt, even if I need to get it in my coffin."
When Walker perished, Franjinha did what he swore he would never do, and gave a black belt to Walker's father at his memorial. Franjinha explained:
I said, "Mr. Walker, I want to give you one thing that I know Paul would be proud to have. He has been training long with me, almost 10 years." I asked him if he wanted to put it in the tree at the crash site because I had seen someone put up a brown belt there. Or, if he wanted, he could put it in the coffin. But he said, "No way, I'm going to take his home, I want to keep this because I know how much this means to him." Paul's a Paragon black belt now.815Cool new fact?
- Video: YouTube
Jason Statham was a diving professional long before switching careers to acting. In the 1990 Commonwealth Games, he competed for Britain's national diving team. Statham took part in the 1m, 3m, and 10m events.
Statham finished eighth in the 1m springboard, 11th in the 3m springboard, and 10th in the 10m round. Eventually, he put his diving career behind him and took up acting, though he tried his hand at being a sports model along the way.7510Cool new fact?
Vin Diesel's Sister Makes Sure He Never Loses A Fight
Vin Diesel has a younger sister, Samantha Vincent, who is a film producer, and the two have worked together on the Fast and Furious franchise and other projects. Because of how his contract is worded, one job his sister has is to watch his takes to verify that he never loses a fight, or at the very least, gives as good as he gets. The contract stipulation was revealed by The Wall Street Journal, which reported the following: "According to producers and crew members on the films, Mr. Diesel, 52, has his younger sister, a producer on the films, police the number of punches he takes."
While Diesel has the family connection keeping his tough-guy appearance in full view of the audience, he's not the only actor in the franchise to have such a stipulation in his contract. Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson also have similar clauses in their contracts, so any time they get beaten up on screen, someone is standing by to make sure they're at 51% while their opponent is stuck at 49%.9725Cool new fact?
Before he was cast to play Han (actually, "Han Seoul-Oh") in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Sung Kang was completely unaware of the popular drifting culture that existed in Japan. Despite this, he researched the drifting culture in preparation for his part and managed to perfect his skills from the driver's seat.
While filming the movie, he was reminded of something from his childhood that related to the film. When he was a child, he spent time watching his elderly neighbor restore vintage cars and found that he, too, had a love for vintage automobiles. He mentioned this when asked by Automobile magazine about whether or not he was always a car guy:
When I was a kid, I had a neighbor, Mr. Huntzinger, and he was a retired Army vet. He and his wife never had kids. I would see his garage open; he was restoring this old 1963 Impala, white with red interior. We were different generations, didn't talk much, but he would let me sit in the corner and watch him and ask questions about the restoration process. It planted a seed, and as I grew older, it was serendipity that I worked on F&F.8722Cool new fact?