The Fast and the Furious is now over 20 years old. And yet, we can’t help but remain intrigued about the two-decade-old film that launched an unlikely multi-billion dollar franchise, particularly when technical advisor Craig Lieberman continues to pump out fascinating videos about the production side of things.
In his latest effort, Lieberman is talking about the cars that could have ended up in the first film. But first, we’re taken through the ground rules for the original shortlist. For instance, the cars had to be available in the US from new and also needed to be left-hand drive, since something RHD might have confused the predominantly non-car savvy audience the film was aimed at. Certain brands were ruled out from the start simply for not being considered cool enough at the time, and supercars were out.
There were practical considerations, too. There would need to be four examples of any car spending a lot of time on screen - the main hero car for all the close-ups, a ‘hero 2’ backup, and a pair of stunt cars. Car availability was key, as was price - the total budget for the cars was just $2 million.
To source the hero 1 cars, casting calls were held, with replicas built of the chosen vehicles as necessary. The examples that turned up had a big bearing on what the producers ended up going for - for instance, Lieberman suggested something like an E36 BMW 3-series or Audi S4 for Jesse, and indeed one of each turned up to the call, but they were too subtly modified to pique the interest of director Rob Cohen.
Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor was supposed to have a Mitsubishi 3000GT first before switching to an Eclipse. Since the script called for a Targa roof being ejected in a scene late on in the film, the cars were switched around. In the end, though, none of the 3000GTs at the casting call were up to scratch, which lead to the now-iconic Supra being used. Oh, and Johnny Tran’s car was down as a Ford Mustang in the original script.
Lieberman mentions a whole bunch of other cars that just missed out on a shot of automotive stardom too. Which do you think would have been a better bet than what was eventually used?
Featured Image via Barrett Jackson