Vin Diesel Only Got The ‘Fast And Furious’ Lead Because Timothy Olyphant Said No

As The Fate of the Furious arrives in theaters to teach the globe important lessons about family and torpedo-related nuisances, a key player in the blockbuster franchise has revealed that this all could have been a Diesel-less existence.

*throws marble 2 Fast 2 Furious statue against the wall in sheer horror*

Original Film founder and steadfast Furious franchise producer Neil H. Moritz revealed this mindbending bit of trivia on The Bill Simmons Podcast. Paul Walker was always a part of the plan, but Dominic Toretto was eyed as a role for someone else.

“I had been working with Paul Walker on another movie, Skulls, and I gave him the script [for The Fast and the Furious],” Moritz said. “Rob Cohen, who I had made The Rat Pack with, we gave him the script. The two of them liked the idea. And then we had to look for Dom Toretto. The studio said, ‘If you can get Timothy Olyphant to play that role we will greenlight the movie… The luckiest thing that ever happened to us is Tim Olyphant turned us down. He’s a great actor. In fact, I’m curious to see what that movie would have been.”

Raylan f*cking Givens, dude! Are you having a hard time processing this? I know I am. It’s certainly not a knock on either guy, just a fascinating switch. Oh Timothy Olyphant is busy? Vin Diesel seems like the next man up. (Olyphant would appear in Rock Star and Head Over Heels the same year The Fast and the Furious arrived in theaters, for what it’s worth.)

Moritz was the guy that would suggest/endorsed Diesel to play the character. Sensible choice.

“I went and met him at Kate Mantilini [restaurant] and he wasn’t a star yet, but the great thing about Vin is he always believed he was a star,” recalls Moritz. “And I was going in there to think he’s coming to me to want the role and I’m the one there now having to convince him to do the role! Lucky for both of us that happened.”

The Fate of the Furious hits theaters on April 14. You may need to see it twice so you can imagine Timothy Olyphant in a bald cap as Dom.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)