Things You Didn't Know About The 'Fast and Furious' Cast
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.
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Paul Walker Once Dropped $10,000 To Buy A Military Couple Their Dream Wedding RingPhoto: Furious 7/Universal Pictures
Paul Walker's tragic and untimely demise from a car accident (not related to the films; he was in a car driven by a friend, Roger Rodas, who also perished) shocked his friends, family, and fans across the world. In the years following his passing, stories about his kindness have surfaced. According to one such story, Walker was visiting a jewelry store in 2004 when he overheard a couple talking about a wedding ring. Kyle Upham had just returned from serving in Iraq, and while looking for a ring for his wife Kristen, they found an unaffordable ring they loved.
The couple had quickly married before Kyle deployed to Iraq, and waited until he returned to buy the ring. Walker talked a little with the couple, and after Kyle and Kristen left the store without purchasing the ring, the actor paid $10,000 for it and asked to remain anonymous. Nearly a decade later, Walker perished, and after his passing, the jewelry store attendant who took the payment, Irene King, came forward with the story of Walker's generosity: "He called the manager over and said, 'The ring that those people were looking at, put it on my tab.'"
Kristen and Kyle have since spoken about the generous stranger, who turned out to be Walker. In an interview with CBS in Richmond, VA, Kristen explained that "it's still to this day the most generous thing anyone has ever done for me."
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Keiichi Tsuchiya Was Scolded For Being Too Good At Drifting
While filming stunts for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, drift legend Keiichi Tsuchiya - who was hired to make it look like the actors were experts behind the wheel - got an earful for being too good at drifting.
Tsuchiya is considered to be the world's best drifter, and he brought the sport to the mainstream through the movie, but while filming some scenes where he was supposed to make it look like he didn't know what he was doing, he was given notes to do it worse and make it sloppy. That was completely antithetical to what he knows about drifting, so it took time to get the proper takes.
Although Tsuchiya served as the stunt coordinator and a stuntman for the movie, he scored a quick cameo appearance as an unimpressed fisherman. There's also a shot of an AE86 Sprinter Trueno, the car he made famous throughout his career, in the background of the movie's garage race scene.
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.
- Photo: Riddick/Universal Pictures
Vin Diesel is a big part of the Fast and Furious franchise, but after appearing in the first film as Dominic Toretto, he declined to return for the sequel. He then made a cameo appearance in the next film, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, for one reason: He wanted the film rights to another character he played in a different series, Riddick. Diesel had to do some wheeling and dealing to make it happen.
He went to Universal Studios, the folks behind the Riddick franchise, as well as the Fast and Furious franchise, and made a deal with them. The producers of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift had tested the picture and felt Diesel's cameo might spruce things up a bit, so they reached out to him. His response: "Don't pay me for that cameo. Just give me the rights back."
The rights in question were for Riddick, and with those in hand, Diesel's production company, One Race, got the third Riddick film off the ground. About a minute of screen time gave him the rights to a franchise worth far more than what he would have earned for the cameo, making it a smart business decision.
- 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.
- Photo: That '70s Show/Fox
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson got his start in the entertainment business by following in his father's footsteps to become a professional wrestler. When Johnson made the move to become an actor, the first job he landed was on an episode of That '70s Show. The role he played was none other than Rocky Johnson, his father.
Rocky Johnson began wrestling professionally in the mid-1960s before eventually joining the WWF in 1982. He and his partner Tony Atlas became the first Black champions in the history of the federation. He retired in 1991, but spent much of his time training his son, Dwayne.
The Rock's That '70s Show acting gig came in the Season 1 episode "That Wrestling Show," in which Red takes his son and his friends to see Rocky Johnson perform. Red doesn't think of wrestling as a sport, but after seeing Rocky, he changes his mind.