The Fate of the Furious is the currently tearing up the box office, adding yet another big notch of success to the franchise's belt. While fans are going full-throttle on their eighth adventure with Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and all the franchise regulars we've come to know and love (Tyrese, Ludacris), it's almost impossible to imagine what the franchise would've looked like, with different actors in the major roles.
However, like with so many Hollywood projects, the Fast and Furious was originally intended to be something much different, with a much different level of star-power involved. Read on to learn more about what could've been, and see for yourself how the face of the franchise would've been remarkably different.
This poster shows off some of the original casting picks for The Fast and Furious. Those picks include: Eminem as Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker's role), Natalie Portman as Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster's role), and Justified's Timothy Olyphant in the role as Dominic Toretto.
...Michelle Rodriguez was always a sure lock for Letty Ortiz, it seems.
In addition to Eminem, actors Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg were also considered for the role of Brian O'Connor in the original Fast and the Furious.
Of the three, seeing Eminem in the role might've been the most palatable - until the moment that he started making out with Natalie Portman's Mia. That's not a visual that would be easy for anyone to handle.
Wahlberg would've been an understandable choice (and interesting foil for Vin Diesel); but seeing Bale behind the wheel would've been strange.
Vin Diesel is the face of Dom and the Fast and the Furious franchise now - so it's near impossible to imagine someone else in the role.
That said, Justified actor Timothy Olyphant went on to demonstrate that he's good at playing a shady operator, having played a fantastically menacing pimp character in the 2004 film, The Girl Next Door. He would've been solid as a charismatic villain we could root for; however, Vin Diesel brought a kind of diversity and "street cred" that earned him the long run in the role.
Natalie Portman would've been a strange addition to think of in a Fast and the Furious movie - but in the early 2000s, in the midst of her Star Wars prequel fame - it would've made sense to cast her as a leading lady opposite the likes of Mark Wahlberg. As stated, though, seeing her kissing Eminem still feels awkward.
In addition to Portman, actresses Bijou Philips, Jessica Biel and Sarah Michelle Gellar were also considered to play Mia. Biel now seems like a no-brainer for high-octane action movie; however, at the time, Gellar was a much bigger action star, thanks to Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series. In fact, even with Paul Walker in the role of Brian, Gellar would've been a fitting candidate for his onscreen love interest.
However, when Vin Diesel became Dom, the entire character dynamics changed, and Jordana Brewster racially ambiguous look helped launch the F&F franchise to the level of being the global Juggernaut it is today.
SYNOPSIS: Now that Dom and Letty are on their honeymoon and Brian and Mia have retired from the game — and the rest of the crew has been exonerated — the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life. But when a mysterious woman (Charlize Theron) seduces Dom into the world of crime he can’t seem to escape and a betrayal of those closest to him, they will face trials that will test them as never before.
From the shores of Cuba and the streets of New York City to the icy plains off the arctic Barents Sea, our elite force will crisscross the globe to stop an anarchist from unleashing chaos on the world’s stage…and to bring home the man who made them a family.
For Fast and the Furious, Vin Diesel is joined by a returning all-star cast that includes Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky and Kurt Russell. In addition to Theron, the series welcomes newcomers Scott Eastwood and Oscar winner Helen Mirren. The film is directed by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) and produced by returning producers Neal H. Moritz, Michael Fottrell and Diesel.
[H/T Twitter / @Variety]
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