Vin Diesel reveals why he wanted to do The Fast and the Furious, and then why he almost didn't
Nine movies in (and counting), it's hard to imagine the world of Fast & Furious without Vin Diesel. But the man now forever known as Dominic Toretto came very close to deciding never to don that famous necklace.
Appearing on the debut episode of EW's BINGE: The Fast Saga, which can be viewed above, Diesel sat down for an extensive conversation about 2001's The Fast and the Furious, a.k.a. the film that started it all. While producer Neal H. Mortiz previously said Timothy Olyphant was who the studio originally wanted as Dom, Diesel reveals that when the project finally came his way he quickly went from all-in to maybe all-out.
"No one would ever think that," he tells hosts Derek Lawrence and Chanelle Berlin johnson. "Universal ended up being involved in the release of Pitch Black, the only other movie I had done of that size, and so they said, 'We got this movie that's about illegal street car racing, and we want you to play this character, who's a tough guy, outlaw, with a heart and a code.' Then they describe that scene you see in the first movie, where the camera goes through my eye and down my arm and into the engine, and that's the only thing they described. And I said, 'Yes, I'm in!' The next day I'm supposed to go the premiere in Australia for Pitch Black, and I read the script and I go…" He pauses and sighs. "I'm conflicted here, because this script is not what I thought it would be."
Thankfully, Universal had an ace up their sleeve in David Ayer, a young screenwriter who also wrote another 2001 gritty street drama, Training Day, for which Denzel Washington would win an Oscar for his portrayal of crooked LAPD detective Alonzo Harris. Before he started on his rewrite, Ayer met with Diesel to get his insight on the characters and script.
"The irony is, I felt like I had gotten what the character wanted to be in the first script, but I felt there were things conflicting with this truth — and that's where David came in," shares Diesel. "I remember him saying, 'The Dom character is so complex, I've never seen anything like it since Alonzo.' I appreciated that he was able to see the complexities of the character... And some other characters needed some fine-tuning as well, like the Letty character. I'm just so lucky they were open to it all and that they really wanted me to feel great and confident about it. That's not the normal Hollywood story — but my Hollywood story has never been the normal Hollywood story."
In the BINGE conversation, Diesel also discussed everything from why he's grateful for the franchise's more "humble" beginnings to passing on 2 Fast 2 Furious to the immediate bond he felt with late costar Paul Walker.
"We went to Mexico for MTV Spring Break, and on our way home, we just wanted to go back commercial, Paul and I," Diesel recalls of promoting The Fast and the Furious. "And I'll never forget this: We're sitting on the floor of this airport, bags to the side, legs stretched out, thousands of people walking by, walking over us. Now he had already had some films out, so he was a little more familiar with what was to come, and he said, 'Vin, take all of this in. Take in the fact that all these people are just walking by us.' I said, 'Why,' and he said, 'Because when this movie comes out, our anonymity will be gone.' It was so telling, and it was so surreal, how he knew."
And with F9 set for release June 25, Diesel can't help but to think back to his post-premiere routine with Walker. "It would just be me and him, everybody would always give us our moment, and he'd always say, 'Vin, the best one's still in the can," shares Diesel with a laugh "I'd be like, 'You didn't hear them, Paul?! They're going crazy! What do you mean the best one's still in the can?!'"
Listen below, watch the full interview above, or subscribe to EW's BINGE: The Fast Saga via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also subscribe to EW's YouTube page to catch all the video interviews, and stay tuned to EW.com for even more Fast coverage — including next Friday's chat with Ludacris about 2 Fast 2 Furious.
FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
VIN DIESEL: We're sitting on the floor of this airport. Bags inside, legs stretched out. Thousands of people walking by, walking over us, walking over our legs. Now, he'd already had some films out. He was a little more familiar with what was to come. And he said, "You know Vin, take all this in. Take in the fact that all these people are just walking by us." And I said, "Why?" And he said, "Because when this movie comes out, our anonymity will be gone."
DEREK LAWRENCE: Ask any podcaster, any real podcaster. It doesn't matter if you record in person, or over video chat, podcasting is podcasting. Welcome to EW's BINGE: The Fast Saga. Full transcripts of which are available on ew.com. I'm Derek Lawrence AKA the guy who went as Dominic Toretto for two straight Halloweens. And as that icon once said, "The most important thing in life will always be the people in this Zoom, right here, right now." And for me, that's the Dom to my Brian, the Letty to my Mia, the Roman to my Tej, the Gisele to my Han, Chanelle Berlin Johnson. Chanel, are you ready to relive Fast and Furious, one film at a time?
CHANELLE BERLIN JOHNSON: Oh, I'm so ready. I feel like, for both of us probably, we've been waiting our whole lives for an excuse to do something like this. And now it's here and I'm ready to dive in and talk about each movie in-depth with all the players.
LAWRENCE: This is like a dream come true. I feel like people can tell we're just beaming with excitement to finally start this. Now, people might be asking, "Why are we doing this? What's the occasion?" Well, first off, you must not know us very well if you asked that question because I said-
JOHNSON: Any day.
LAWRENCE: Yes, absolutely. If we were still in the office, we'd be having these conversations every day. We're having them over Slack. So this is just two friends getting to talk Fast, with the Fast Family. Now I mean, you mentioned this is like we've been waiting a long time, maybe our whole lives. But definitely, like me, I first came up with this idea for hopefully that EW could do this like four years ago. And we were finally ready to roll last March. We were literally one day away from recording our first interview, in the office. These were going to be in person, I was so hyped. And then well, I think you could figure out why that didn't happen. But we are obsessed with these movies as we probably just display now, and we'll be on full display throughout this whole series. But more importantly, we're celebrating 20 years of Fast and Furious this June as well as the release of the highly anticipated and space-bound, F9. It's happening, that means a lot of things are happening. F9's happening, we've been waiting. We were still in the office when that trailer dropped, that first trailer. And I still remember my reaction to it. They had a big premiere for it at the Super Bowl in Miami when we could still go to events and I was watching the live stream. I had my headphones in. I'm seeing there, first John Cena. They reveal John Cena as playing Jakob Toretto, Dom's brother. I think I laughed. I literally laughed so hard. I was just like, "Oh my god, did they really do that? It's awesome." And then they did the big jump like the Indiana Jones style, like Island to Island, whatever we want to call that. And I think I jumped out of my seat a little bit. And I was like, "Oh man, that was a roller coaster. They could just give us four minutes. Wow." And then-
JOHNSON: You realized, "Oh my god."
LAWRENCE: Han's alive. And I literally, I think I screamed out loud. And I said, "I don't really know I'm just locked in on this." So that finally ends, I put down my headphones. I look around, the whole office is staring at me. They don't know what was just going on. And I see Ella justice for Han around the office. Look, I mean, unfortunately, in the office we didn't sit next to each other. So you were probably doing the same thing way on the other side, right?
JOHNSON: Yes, absolutely. It's just surprise after surprise. And that first trailer, which is amazing that they can still do that for us. Even this deep into it, who could have anticipated Han coming back the way he did? I'm so excited.
LAWRENCE: Yeah. And so we've teased it a little bit here, but it goes without saying that we don't have friends, Chanelle. We have family. We have the actual Fast & Furious family. Starting with this debut episode we'll be going through each Fast film with one of its stars. Or a behind the scenes star, in the case of director Justin Lin. And when I say stars, I mean these stars. The competition is going to be so furious with how stacked this lineup is. We've got Michelle Rodriguez, Sung Kang, Ludacris, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese, Lucas Black, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jakob Toretto AKA John Cena. But today to talk about the one that started it all, it's Toretto, Chanelle. It's always been Toretto. Yes, Vin Diesel is here to go deep on 2001's the Fast and the Furious. Still a classic no matter how different it is from what we've come to know Fast to be now. But before we dive into our chat with Vin, who was great. He gave us a lot of time, a lot of incredible information that I had never heard before. But what should people know about that first movie?
JOHNSON: Yeah, well, hopefully, everybody listening to this has watched all of the movies or are just as obsessed as us. But if you need a little refresher because you haven't seen it in a while, of course, you'll see the gang come together sort of the origin story for all of it now. Well, we have Brian, of course, new to town undercover cop. Well, not new to town. Undercover cop. And he's trying to investigate what's going on with this crew, these steps, and gets caught up in the fast world and falls in love with them essentially. It's truly a love story. Obviously, there's the main with Mia, but it's about the whole crew and everything they do together. He just dives right in, and of course, as you know at the end even sort of forsakes his life as a cop, because he is all about the family now. Just like us, that's how we all feel at the end of the movie. I can't wait to get into it and talk about it with Vin and see or revisit all of the stuff that we loved about it and learn things we didn't know before.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, you're really right about that first film, Brian really was, he was the audience Avatar. As he was entering this world, we were entering this world that we didn't know anything about. I mean, he also felt like my personal Avatar. I remember, this go on to speaks to how obsessed I am with his movies. When EW bunch of our coworkers moved out from New York to LA a couple of years ago. And as a bonding thing. I found out a lot of them had never seen a Fast and Furious film, which was like a personal upfront to me. And so I invited a bunch of people over, we were like, "All right, we're going to binge these." We did the first one, and I remember realizing that Paul Walker's character he was going by the name Brian Spilner. And his fake ID says he's from Tucson, Arizona. And I was like, "Wait, I'm from Tucson, Arizona. I used to live in Tucson, Arizona." And then I was like, "I have blue eyes. Brian has blue eyes." I was like, "Am I Brian?" That's how deep I got sucked into it. But enough about me and my comparison of myself to Brian. Do make sure though to stay tuned after we're done with Vin because Chanelle and I will be hopping back on to have a bit more fun with Fast One and hand out some awards. I mean, we all know Fast deserves some award's love. We're here to do that. But I've learned it's not how you talk about your interview, it's how you conduct your interview. Let's get into it. Here's Fast's patriarch, Vin Diesel.
PIZZA GUY: "What the hell's going on around here?"
LEON: "Street's closed pizza boy, find another way home."
PIZZA GUY: "Goddamn street racers."
LAWRENCE: As any podcaster, any real podcaster, it doesn't matter if you talk to Vin Diesel for a minute or an hour, winning's winning. And we're the true victors today because we're joined by Dominic Toretto himself, the one and only Vin Diesel. Vin, welcome to binge of fast and Furious.
DIESEL: Pleasure to be here. Pleasure to be here.
LAWRENCE: We had to start with you for the first film. I mean, this is truly a classic 20 years of Fast, I can't believe that, so we're really excited to start with you on this first film.
DIESEL: I got 20 years ago from the very weekend that the first Fast and Furious opened. So many wonderful, wonderful, wonderful memories surrounding that time. That time in my life when this movie was finally coming out. I remember it was supposed to come out in March and I had gotten a call saying that they wanted to move it to June. And I was like, "I've been waiting for this movie to come out in March." And they said, "No Vin, that's a good thing that they're moving into the summer." Of course, that was it.
LAWRENCE: I love the symmetry now. Like you said, obviously, we would love to see F9 last year, but the fact that it's going to essentially be 20 years on the dot, that feels meant to be.
DIESEL: It does feel meant to be. And not only feels meant to be, again, similar situation last year, I thought it was going to come out in May, I was excited, I told all the fans, and we had to push it a year. But who would have thought. Last year it would have been a blockbuster release because it's F9. This year, it's a call back to that theatrical experience. The theatrical experience we have all missed, and we don't realize how much we've missed. We've been entertained and watching movies on our couch. And we forgot that explosive electric feeling of being in a theater as an audience, as one, as a community engaged in this spectacle. You never know how much you miss something until it's gone. And so, I'm really proud that Universal is willing to be that Blockbuster that comes in and says, "Let's get back to the movies together."
LAWRENCE: We need it. We need it.
DIESEL: We need it, we really do.
LAWRENCE: On of all these interviews, we start by quoting a great man's words, "I live my life a quarter mile at a time, nothing else matters." For those 10 seconds or less, I'm free. This is a challenge, but how would you sum up this first Fast film in 10 seconds.
DIESEL: I live my life a quarter mile at a time.
LAWRENCE: That is truly perfect. I can't think of a better way to do it.
DIESEL: I remember actually, the studio had I think a few years back, commented on that scene and said, "If that scene was a tricky scene then." And he said some actors might not have been able to pull that off. And if it didn't work, the whole franchise never would have worked. It was that moment that cemented the Fast and Furious into pop culture and then making it the world's up.
JOHNSON: Yeah, it's like the moment where you get the heart not for the first time, but where it really sinks in. And it's perfect.
DIESEL: It's so true. And what's so exciting about F9, is we revisit that moment from a different perspective.
JOHNSON: Oh, that's exciting.
LAWRENCE: That's a tease, that's A-plus tease right there. Oh my gosh. I mean, I don't want to jump in, but that scene I had written down to ask you about that scene. Because I'll admit it, so I had a fast watch party a couple years ago. A few people that I knew hadn't seen them. I'm like, "We're changing this, we're watching Fast one and going through them all. And that scene came on, and first obviously, Paul's incredible kicking it off with his, "I almost had you." And then you walk around the car. I literally said to everyone, I was like, "This is movie star stuff right here" I was like, "This right here." When you see a scene like that on paper, are you just salivating, is like knowing the potential of what you can do with something like that?
DIESEL: I was. I was so excited by that scene. And it was in some ways the biggest scene that we had in the movie because there were the most people around. And the people that were in the scene were real, illegal, streetcar racers. And they were feeding with such authentic energy, that it made so much easier for Paul and I to delve into the scene and really rip it apart. We were lucky. We were lucky. We had started before production, prepping for that scene. One of the things that we did as actors in preparation for that scene was, we did go to illegal street car races.
Now I grew up in New York City. And in New York City in Manhattan, you won't see a lot of helicopters. And you definitely won't see helicopters disperse anything, like any kind of illegal street car racing. That's not going to happen. But Paul grew up in LA and was accustomed to helicopter breaking up illegal street car races. And I wasn't. I remember when the helicopters came, I'm like, "Well, which way do you run?" And I had to start a joke of Paul and I running over this bridge. Now we haven't even filmed the movie yet, so we're really putting ourselves out there. One of the illegal street car racers, all great people that ended up performing this legal form of these races saying, "Get in, get in." And very similar to the scene of Brian saying, "Get in," to Dom when he's running in East LA. Yeah, all those memories. The memories of going into Cuba to better prepare for the character because he owned a Cuban bodega. That was the time when I had all the time in the world, to prepare like crazy for every single role. But yeah, that all will always stay with me. So that scene that you mentioned, where I go, "You almost had me," there was a lot that led up to that. And again, it was the crowd there that was so electric, so appropriately authentic, that added to that.
DOM: "What are you smiling about?"
BRIAN: "Dude, I almost had you."
DOM: "You almost had me? You never had me. You never had your car. Granny shiftin' not double clutchin' like you should. You're lucky that hundred shot of NOS didn't blow the welds on the intake! Almost had me? Now me and the mad scientist got to rip apart the block and replace the piston rings you fried. Ask any racer, any real racer, it don't matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning's winning."
LAWRENCE: Take us back to Fast coming into your life and your initial reaction. I know it took a little bit of convincing. You were like, all in. And then you were like, "uh-uh, I don't know about this." Take me back through that process.
DIESEL: Yeah, no one would ever think that. You have to understand, if I've come into this industry, if I'm acting since I'm seven-years-old and I can't get a role and I can't break. And I then go to independent film and become a director, and a writer, and a producer, and do a short film. And then do a feature film and go to Khan, with the short and then sun dance with the future. I'm very precious about trying to do the best work possible at all costs. When I was given the script, because Universal, I know this sounds crazy, but Universal ended up releasing or being involved in the release of Pitch Black, and that was the only other movie I had done of that size.
And so they said, "We got this movie, that's about illegal street car racing, and we want you to play this character, Dom, who's a tough guy, outlawed with a heart and a code. Okay." And then they describe that scene that you see in the first movie, where the camera go through my eyes down my arm and into the engine. And that's the only thing they described. And I said, "Yes, I'm in." And then the next day I'm supposed to go to the premiere in Australia I believe, for Pitch Black. And I read the script, and I go, "Hmm, Shhh."
JOHNSON: Maybe not.
DIESEL: And my father, who is such an important person in my life is such a purist about art, that I got that from him. And so, we grew up in an artist's house in New York City, where if you made more than $10,000 a year you were kicked out of the building. We were like, "We're real artists." And so I'm conflicted here, because this is not what I thought it would be. They hired David Ayer. That day, they asked him to come in, and we do a page-by-page critique/rewrite. And David Ayer goes off and writes this great script, and the rest is history.
JOHNSON: When do you feel like you really got Dom? Was it during that process of going through the rewrites with David Ayer, or was it later? When do you feel like you really were like, "Okay, this is it."
DIESEL: Great question. Great, great question. I felt like I had gotten what the character wanted to be in the first script. But I felt that there were things conflicting with his truth. And that's where David Ayer came in. I remember him saying, "The Dom character is so complex, I've never seen anything like it since Alfonzo." When Denzel played Alfonzo before that. I appreciated that he was able to see the complexities of the character and to start… I'm sure he didn't imagine we'd be 12 years later releasing Fast Nine and exploring more of this Dom character. I'm sure he didn't. But yeah, so I got the world, and what the world was about, but the character just needed some fine tuning. And some other characters needed some fine tuning as well like the lady character, across the board.
I'm just so lucky that they were open to it all. And that they really wanted me to feel great about it and confident about it. And that's not the normal Hollywood story. But my Hollywood story has never been the normal Hollywood Story. Being an actor in the '80s and the '90s, as a multicultural actor, there weren't a whole lot of opportunities, which is why I ended up doing my own films like Multi-Facial. I don't know if you've ever seen Multi-Facial, but the idea that I went down that road, and then this industry that I had been begging to be a part of for two decades, more than two decades, finally comes and says, "We're not going to ask you to audition. We're going to write a role for you in Saving Private Ryan." Nothing about my journey was typical, I guess. And I'm grateful for that because it's allowed me to be that much more invested in the films that I've been lucky enough to be a part of.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, I mean, it just really shows from the beginning, and you guys have always been great about everyone's listening to everyone, right? And any concerns, you're hearing it out, and shows that can lead to success.
DIESEL: That's my mantra. We had done an interview yesterday, and that they asked, "Do you still take notes from the studio?" And I take notes from my stand-in, I take notes from the driver, I take notes from the nurse, I take notes from any human that will spend a second to think about this massive issue of driving. I take notes from my five-year-old kid. I'll take notes from anybody. I'm not precious.
LAWRENCE: I'll sync up later with you for my ideas for wrapping up the series. We'll talk later. So you're fully on board and Paul was already signed on, he had worked with Neal and Rob on The Skulls. That mean, this movie doesn't work if that dynamic isn't right, it just doesn't.
DIESEL: So true.
LAWRENCE: So what was it like? Was that chemistry just instant there with Paul? Obviously, you guys are off going to street races. So clearly, you got along pretty good from the beginning.
DIESEL: We got along clearly, from the beginning. I first met him at Dodger Stadium, we were testing out our cars. Part of the process of Fast is we've always auditioned our cars. The cars have really been such a significant part and representation of our characters, that there is a process of casting, right? Of casting the exact vehicle for the state of mind that the character is in, or the journey that the character is going through. Like when you go back to that time, we're just coming out of the East Coast, West Coast beef. If you can remember where you were 1999, this is not common for a New Yorker and a West Coast to find common ground. Which in some ways lends itself to each character journey in the relationship, and the objective of finding that brotherhood.
No one would ever associate that. But it was still popular that there was a divide. We were still getting over the deaths of Tupac and Biggie. And it was still very much present in our lives. When I came on it was me and my New York crew and him in his West Coast crew. And to see that brotherhood form added something special to the movie.
JOHNSON: Had you been familiar with Paul's work before this movie at all? Had you seen him in other stuff? Or the first time you met him was the first time you saw him?
DIESEL: No, I saw him in Skulls and I thought it was incredible. I had seen his work. But when I met him, that was a whole other level, because I saw an authenticity that was just right for the movie industry, just prime for something like this. He through the years has always been the one that's helped. While I'm off thinking about the story or why I'm often thinking about stunts in passing and dynamics and how to realize the impossible, he would often cover us by owning automotive shops, doing races, actually becoming a racer, a streetcar racer, and then actually running on the track. And he would do that to contribute to the legitimacy of… That's what's in some ways, so hard about when he left us, because in some ways, and I know this interview is not supposed to go that way. But he was doing a fundraiser at a garage where he was collecting cars, and yeah, bless him.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, I would do that on oral history, anybody I talked to, I didn't even have to bring up Paul. They would say nothing but beautiful things. So we miss him. And as important, as we talked about that relationship, obviously you and Michelle portraying a very different relationship with Dom and Letty. And that has just kept on going and become one of the most recognized couples in film history, I dare to say. But talking to her, she said, it was funny early on because you talked about it. You come from this professional actor realm. And she literally said to me, "I'm just this crazy girl from Jersey City on their second movie." So what was it like early on, you guys working out obviously, this now legendary chemistry between you two?
DIESEL: One of the things I was working with David Ayer was her character as well. Because she was from East Coast as well, and she represented where we were from. And as a minority, that wasn't common in cinema. If you imagine 20 years ago in the '90s that Michelle Rodriguez would be this iconic figure that represents a love in cinema like we have never seen before. You would say, "Well…" You would pick a million other actors, but there is no actor in Hollywood that could boast of a love like Michelle Rodriguez. No one has that. No one's garnered billions of people and audiences around the world that want to ride or die in the way that that unleaded character does. That's an iconic.
And something we didn't realize, but when I think about it, and I go back to the first movie, maybe subconsciously, there was that dream that that would be our world's love story, this kind of love. Non-typical Hollywood types would be the ones. And it was a contrast, deliberate contrast, between the Brian and Mia relationship. The Brian and Mia relationship was more conventional. And the relationship between Dom and Letty was not conventional. And they weren't perfect and somehow, right in the turn of the millennium, the audience started to lean into that as a representation of what relationships might be in the new millennium.
JOHNSON: That is definitely something that stuck out to me. I remember I was 14, I think, when the first movie came out. And so that blew my mind just to see both Michelle and Jordana in those roles as these leading women. And even rewatching it, it's still cool to me that yeah, ladies involved in the heists and everything like that too. As you evolved that relationship, like Michelle says that she leaves the romantic arc to you to help guide her, and then she's just down the ride. But what are those conversations like, as you're figuring out those beats for Dom and Letty?
DIESEL: I didn't read a lot of reviews, but I heard all the reviews were good. From the first one. And then someone said I forgot, where was it? New York Times or something. Someone said the only crime of Fast and Furious is we didn't get to explore enough of Dom and Letty. And maybe I've kept that in the back of my head. But after the fourth one, when her character was written out of the movie, I mean, I can remember I was already saying, "She will have to be in the movie, Letty will have to be in this mythology, in order for us, or me, or all of us to construct the next trilogy. You will need this archetype. This archetype will be needed for this mythology to progress."
And if you really think about it, you go through four, avenging Letty. That brings Dom back, right? And then when you go to five, Elsa Pataky's character is trying to fill in for Letty. And then you realize how much he misses his true soulmate. Then at the end of five, Eva Mendes comes in and goes, "Do you believe in ghosts?"
JOHNSON: Best moment.
LAWRENCE: Which I mean, if we're taking notes, I'll take Eva Mendes back. If we're just like throwing in little notes in.
DIESEL: We'll just wait for 10. Let's just say, the fact that you guys know that the studio is saying, "we can't cover all this ground that needs to be covered in just one movie." You can only imagine what is to come.
LAWRENCE: Oh, man. You get me excited just talking to you about it. Obviously, filming on a Fast One is so different from filming on an F9. Apart from the budgets or the stakes on-screen just, you guys were so under the radar on that first one. So what was it like thinking back on that, we're talking summer 2000. You guys are just running around LA, going to street races, having a good time. What was that like?
DIESEL: Amazing. I often tell this story, because after we made the movie, we went to, I don't know if you remember MTV spring break? We went to Mexico for MTV spring break. I remember, we had to like circle around, we couldn't go to the airport, the plane was about to, whatever, anyway. But on our way home, we just wanted to go back commercial because we didn't feel too comfortable, Paul and I, right?
Paul and I, I'll never forget this. We're sitting on the floor of this airport. Bags inside, legs stretched out. Thousands of people walking by, walking over us, walking over our legs. Now he'd already had some films out. He was a little more familiar with what was to come. And he said, "You know Vin, take all this in. Take in the fact that all these people are just walking by us." And I said, "Why?" And he said, "Because when this movie comes out, our anonymity will be gone." And it was so telling. And it was surreal.
JOHNSON: He knew.
DIESEL: He knew something, and I was always in the making and that's where my mind was. I'd just come from directing movies and writing movies. But he had this ability to see. Every time we'd come out of a movie, every time we'd come out of a premiere, he'd always say, it would just be me and him for whatever movie it was. Studio would be away from us. The cast and the crew and everybody would always give us our moment. And he'd always say, "Vin, the best one's still in the can." Oh, man, you didn't hear them, Paul? They're going crazy. What do you mean the best one's still in the can?!"
LAWRENCE: I can't imagine walking out of Fast Five and thinking like, "Oh man-
JOHNSON: There's more.
LAWRENCE: Man, the confidence that that takes, I love it. I love that.
DIESEL: Oh my God. It was just so funny. I'd clockwork every time. Oh, man.
LAWRENCE: Is it wild to think back, obviously, in recent movies we have everything from flying cars to a nuclear submarine? Is it wild when you sit there and think back like, "This started with hijackings of DVD players?" What's like such a 2001 thing. That's quite the origin story of DVD players.
DIESEL: It totally started in a different place and it started very humble. I guess that's something that I'm grateful for. That we were able to start from humble beginnings so that you could really connect with these characters without all the spectacle. The spectacle came as the movies needed to start one-upping themselves. And as the audience started to expect the unexpected. And they would want to, you go to see Fast and you see that in a theater for good reason. Because you know, you're going to go "Ooh." Something they don't teach in film school. They teach in every scriptwriting class, they teach you all kinds of how to draw emotion, how to create different archetypes. But nobody teaches you how to create the "Ooh" feeling. And that feeling is what Fast is.
JOHNSON: Did that first script have that moment for you? Where you were like, "Oh, my God, this is insane"?
DIESEL: That first script did have that moment. That first script when the car goes flips over, that was done practical. You can only imagine how, I mean, if it was done practical, it meant that it had to be done practical. There was no digital option. There was no CGI option. You can only imagine when I saw that I was like, "Oh my Gosh."
LAWRENCE: We're obviously, now nine films in, two more to go. Which is like all that I mean, that's wild to think just regardless of anything. But the fact is like who would have guessed that when you obviously, opted not to return originally. And this is something we talked about. When bloodshot was coming out, we talked about your mindset of world-building. You've done it with so many different franchises, Riddick, Fast, XXX. But what was the thought process there going back? I know you originally said you asked Universal not to make a sequel, because you thought it would ruin the ability for that first one to be a classic. Which I'm thankful that it was not the case. We could report that it's still a classic nine movies later. So what was that thought process just for you originally back then after the success of the first one?
DIESEL: Well, I was a fan of classics, so Rebel Without a Cause, On the Waterfront, like older movies that were classics. And I had seen more movies get sequalized. And quite often studios would just brand the movie, so they would slap the title, and they weren't trying to Francis Ford Coppola the movie. They weren't trying to go that extra level to make sure that you were building off of the existing story and the existing characters and having those characters evolve. You just simply call it whatever the brand thing is and not evolve the story in an episodic fashion. So that's why I said, "Guys, if you do another one, you're going to jeopardize this first one being a classic."
And of course, script is always something very important to me. If I didn't feel comfortable with the script, I was crazy enough to turn down offers that… I remember turning down the offer Too Fast Too Furious. And my father who I just said, this incredible, altruistic pure artists. "You sure you want to do that, son?" I thought he was going to say, "Oh, you can't give up, I love that. It's amazing" He flipped obviously and said, "You surely want to…?" But by doing that, you send a message with your actions that you have to continue with integrity. So if I didn't opt-out of being in the second one, I never would have been able to be in a position to become the producer and to have such an incredible role in the thinking.
I remember when I did the fourth woman, the roles now had reversed. I was saying, "You know what? I see so far into this mythology, you could save a lot of money if you just film four and five together." And they almost kicked me off the Universal lot.
LAWRENCE: Like, "Calm down, man. Calm down."
DIESEL: "Get out of here. You are not getting us to get rid of Fast 4." I'm sorry.
LAWRENCE: Very important question. How many films do you think we would have gotten if the original title of Redline had stuck? Like 2 Red 2 Line doesn't really have the same ring to it. I don't know. What do you think? We'd be sitting here with Redline?
DIESEL: Yeah, that's another thing that's around that. It was called Redline. And I wanted to keep Redline because I'd been thinking Redline. And it was Neal Moritz, who called me and said, "I got the title, I got the title." And this was right before we were about to open the movie. So around that time, when I when I shared with you that they were moving the date to the summer. And I didn't understand what that meant. And I thought, "Will this movie ever come out?" Please come out. I was like, I didn't know anything about dating movies. And so at that time, there was another call from Neal Moritz where he said, "I got the title, I think it should be the Fast and the Furious." And then it just grew on me.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, at first, you're like, "Wait, so you want to push my movie a couple of months and change the title? What is going on here?"
DIESEL: Yeah, I had the big dreams when I went to Sundance. When I went to Sundance a couple of years earlier, we had heard all this about films going to Sundance and selling for all this money. And getting picked up and getting distributed, and mine didn't get distributed. There was always that fear, like, "If you push it, are you going to shelve this movie. Is anyone ever going to see it?" So that coupled with named James, you could see how you could be…
JOHNSON: Some worries there.
LAWRENCE: Vin, we'll wrap up with what we're calling the Finish Line and kind of rapid-fire questions about the film and the franchise. This idea came from me because of you being in Tokyo Drift. Like you getting dropped in, especially after they'd already filmed the movie, and then they dropped you in. So say we have a time machine and we can go back and add someone to this first Fast movie. We're not replacing anybody, but we're adding. Maybe it's someone who came in a Fast film later, or just an actor you think would have been a great fit. Who are we going in the Time Machine and putting in Fast One?
DIESEL: That has never been in the franchise? Or has been?
LAWRENCE: Either one. Whatever feels right.
DIESEL: I guess if I were to think, where we're going with the next chapter, Michael Caine? I might have found a way. You're saying if I could have redesigned the mythology or added little elements to the mythology, I could have done something with Helen Mirren and Michael Caine's character played something. I could have introduced something in the future.
JOHNSON: That would have been amazing.
LAWRENCE: Well, we're not giving up on that. We still got a few films to make that happen. Then each episode we have what we're calling Derek's Embarrassing Story of the Week. Where maybe they're not embarrassing, but it really shows my fandom. And usually, we just have one, but I have a few for this one. I'm going to let you pick which is the most embarrassing Derek story of the week here. So we'll start. Number one, I went as Dom for two straight Halloweens, not just one, two straight Halloweens, maybe, we'll see maybe they'll add in the photo and post, then people will get to see that.
DIESEL: That's amazing. That's the best.
LAWRENCE: I don't know, I don't know. Hold on, hold on.
DIESEL: All right. All right.
LAWRENCE: So last March, it was like the 30th day where the world shut down, we're in quarantine. I decided to take a drive over to the Toretto house. I had always wanted to go. I went over and I walked I checked out the Toretto house, and then I walked down the street to the Toretto shop, which I did not realize was right down the street. I did not realize that, and I walked in and bought a Corona, of course, I mean, I had to do it.
DIESEL: That's so awesome.
LAWRENCE: We got two more covered so we might still top these.
DIESEL: Okay, that was awesome.
LAWRENCE: Number three, my parents came to visit a few years ago. We're driving down the PCH, we drive past Neptune's net and I'm like, "That looks familiar." And then I immediately was like Fast One, Dom, Brian, meal there. Let's go eat.
DIESEL: So many memories.
LAWRENCE: Not only do we go eat, my stepmom happily recreates the shot of you and Paul sitting there leaning over the table. And that is one of my most prized possessions.
DIESEL: That's so awesome.
LAWRENCE: And then lastly, I'm wearing a Toretto shirt. So that's number four. What's the story there? Whether it's most embarrassing, whatever is your favorite of those four.
DIESEL: The most embarrassing is two Halloweens.
LAWRENCE: Who repeats a costume? That's fair, that's fair. At least space it out, I know, I deserve that.
DIESEL: That's awesome. By the way, Derek, they're all wonderful stories. And that's why I always enjoy talking to you about this franchise because you appreciate it. And that makes all the efforts, all the hard work, all the perilous stunts and action sequences that myself and my amazing stunt team always do. It makes it all count. And I appreciate that.
LAWRENCE: I appreciate you for allowing me to have a costume to dress up in two times in a year.
DIESEL: Why didn't I think of that?! You know how many I've gone not knowing what to wear, not knowing what to be? What was I thinking? It's right there. It's staring at me right in the mirror!
LAWRENCE: Wrapping up, we've talked around F9 a little bit. But what would be your maybe tease when we're finally back in theaters? Might be the most anticipated movie of all time, at least for me. I'm biased, but yes. What would be your F9 tease for all the fans out there that have been patiently waiting?
DIESEL: Ah, I've so much good stuff. I would say that the whole world has this excitement about this movie coming out. But for those that have been with a franchise, it's even more special. Because if you can remember the first movie, you are going to go before the first movie and understand the first movie even more. I'm saying that's cool stuff. I'm a D&D heads-up. That's like origin stuff. To see family members you never thought you would have seen is going to blow your mind. Do you see the point? We've been wanting to know, where was Dom before he became Dom. Who was his influences? That's going to be really rich with story and a lot of fun to see.
LAWRENCE: The first thing that came to my mind was that Fast Five scene with you and Paul on the balcony talking about your dads. No, I'd love to hear that. Maybe we'll get a little peek going back.
JOHNSON: Yeah, I was also thinking too, that there's so many callbacks and other movies. One of the things I wanted to ask you was, "What's something that you'd love to be able to bring back?" But it sounds like the best is yet to come though.
DIESEL: The best is yet to come. As Paul would say…
LAWRENCE: That's what I was going to say, "The best one's still in the can," always. You are going to do the last one, you're still going to be thinking that in the back of your head. You'll be like but Paul said, "The best one is still in the can."
DIESEL: I will always think that. There will always be. And bless him for that, bless him for adding that momentum, that motivation to always reach higher and making it something that has reverence, and significance, and reminding us all to never rest on our roles but to earn every part of it.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, no, absolutely. And I know that the second trailer will be out by the time people's hear this and I know there's a little Paul nod we get in that. So I think we're all excited to see that bit of it too. Vin, I'm glad we didn't just almost have you, we actually had you, so hopefully with all due respect, thanks for becoming a part of the bench family. We always love to talk to you.
DIESEL: Always. Thank you, guys, so much for having me. I really appreciate it. Love guys, love.
DOM: "I live my life a quarter-mile at a time. Nothing else matters. Not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bullshit. For those 10 seconds or less, I'm free."
LAWRENCE: All right, thank you so much to Vin Diesel for letting us climb in the ring with Ali. But we love these movies so much that we couldn't go without talking more about them. Considering the snobs at the Oscars and Golden Globes refuse, refuse to recognize Fast's greatness, we're bringing some justice and handing out a few awards.
JOHNSON: As Brian said in Fast one, "If I win, I take the money and the respect." To some people, that's more important. Well, he eventually won Dom's respect, we have to decide now, who won our respect? What do you say for this one, Derek?
LAWRENCE: I mean, as we've talked about these awards, I feel like there's a lot of different ways you can go. You can pick a character, could it be Brian? He earned Dom's respect, did he earn our respect? Could it be an actor in it? I think that's the direction I wanted to go in, which was Paul Walker. And we'll talk a lot about Paul Walker throughout this whole binge series. But he is so good in this first movie, him and Vin are both incredible, and we'll get further into Vin as well. But like he said at the top, he's the Avatar into this and if we're not invested in him, we're not invested in any of this.
And Paul Walker we should say, Paul Walker was definitely someone that was known. He wasn't a star, I would say, but he had definitely, he had been working a long time. But I don't know that we knew he had this in him. He had been on a soap opera, he had done movies as such as Varsity Blues, She's All That, he did The Skulls right before this, which the origin story of Fast because he was working on The Skulls with director Rob Cohen and producer Neal Moritz, and they all ended up doing Fast together. But I think this really changed the direction of his career.
Talking to everyone and spoiler alert for our interviews to come. Everyone has such incredible things to say about him, but mostly just as a person. And he wasn't really locked in on the industry. He had so many more interests outside of it. But I just feel like we had to say how incredible Paul is throughout these movies, but especially in this Fast One. We have an award coming up later that won't go to him, but easily could have. I felt like he earned that respect here. And rest in peace, obviously, we can't wait to keep talking about him throughout this series.
JOHNSON: I totally agree with that. Two things about it. One, it's a new role for him, he'd been a side character and other things and like I knew his face, but this is in a way his first real leading man kind of role. And if we don't believe him, the movie falls apart, because he has to be both charming enough to make the audience want him to be accepted by the crew. But at the same time also, apart from them enough, that we believe the depth of that betrayal and stuff as well. And he pulls off both. I want him to go on the run with Vin Diesel by the end of this movie.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, speaking to producer Neal Moritz, he said, he's like, "Paul just had this thing." He's like, "Women wanted to be with him, guys wanted to be him." And obviously, that's the thing that's he didn't make up that phrase. That's definitely been out there, you can say that about a lot of people. But I think when I heard him say that about Paul, that spot on like, he really… I remember talking to Gabrielle Union a few years ago about her experience with Paul on She's All That, and she just was like he was the most fun guy and the nicest guy and obviously a great actor as well. So, all the respect to Paul, winner of this category.
Next up, we've got, hey, this guy is in the movie. We're going to talk so much about Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, but we'd like to shout out maybe the one or the supporting players, the maybe someone hadn't really achieved star status and you look back and like, "Oh my god, they were in this?" For this one, it was Ted Levine. It was always Ted Levine, Buffalo Bill himself. And I just can't, I can't believe that he's in this movie. And it's always fun to go back and realize that he was.
JOHNSON: Yeah, absolutely. The energy is so different in this movie that, I think especially because when this movie came out the first time I saw it, I'm not thinking about it like that. It's like subsequent viewings of the movie later. It's like, "Oh, right, that is Buffalo Bill. So wild.
LAWRENCE: Definitely, on the opposite end of the spectrum of his performance in Silence of the Lambs, which is good. I don't know that that would have fit in this one.
JOHNSON: It's also kind of funny. I just realized he's not around for, but there's the line when Dom looks at the ID for Brian, and he says, "Brian Earl Spilner. You sound like a serial killer." Like it's kind of a nugget in there that's really funny considering who else is in the boat.
LAWRENCE: Wait, are you saying that Buffalo Bill somehow infiltrated the LAPD, and he was like, "You know what, this is going to be my little tip of the hat. I'm going to give this young undercover cop a serial killer name. This is how I'm going to still have that ability in the world"? I like that theory.
DOM: "Brian Earl Spilner. It sounds like a serial killer name. Is that what you are?"
BRIAN: "No, man."
LAWRENCE: Next up, Quote of the Movie. And there's so many options on this one. Here's a few nominees and then Chanelle, I'll let you pick a winner. We have Ja Rule. Shout out to Ja Rule. There's going to be some maybe non shout-outs to Ja Rule coming up. But in his brief appearance in this movie, he is fun. You got to remember Ja Rule's kind of really starting to blow up with his rap career at this time. He's got a great quote, "It's not how you stand by your car. It's how you race your car." You better learn that.
JOHNSON: And it's early in the movie, too.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, it's at that first race. And it's a good scene. It's a Paul Walker, Ja Rule, it's a fun one. So there you go Ja, there's your shout-out.
EDWN: "It's yours?"
BRIAN: "Yeah, I'm standing next to it."
EDWIN: "That's funny. You know, Edwin happens to know a few things, and one of the things Edwin knows is: It's not how you stand by your car, it's how you race your car. You've got to learn that."
LAWRENCE: We have a classic. "I live my life a quarter-mile at a time." Dom, what else has to be said about that one? And then our final nominee would be both Dom and Vince. "Vince, there was a time when I didn't know you." "That was in the third grade!" It gets me every time. It gets me every time. And Vince gets a bad rap, deservedly so, I'll say it. we don't have to defend everybody in the Fast and Furious, and there's a fun little back and forth.
JOHNSON: I mean, I love the exchange between Vince and Dom, but you can't beat it, "I live my life a quarter-mile at a time." It's iconic immediately you think of the franchise and everything they've gone through. And also looking back, especially in the scene that it comes up in, it's such an origin for the Dom character. And I feel like he's actually evolved from that line. But still, it's so important to who he is.
LAWRENCE: You couldn't go any other way than that one. All right, but where are they now? This is less than reward and more of us trying to speculate on the life currently being lived by maybe a character we haven't seen in a long time. And I feel like there's an obvious one here, and it's not just some self-promotion on my part. But a few years ago, I tracked down Johnny Strong, who plays Leon in Fast One. And you may be asking, "Who is Leon? I don't remember a Leon." Well, Leon is the member of Dom's crew who loves to wear generic basketball jerseys and yell at pizza delivery guys. Sadly, Jesse dies in this movie. Thankfully, we thought Letty died, but she's back.
JOHNSON: Yeah, same with Han. So Jesse and Gisele, the only people who are still definitely dead that we know of.
LAWRENCE: Also, Vince, he returned in Fast Five to get his little moment, and then he dies as well. But Leon's the only original member of Dom's crew that we don't know what his whereabouts are. So I said, I talked to Johnny Strong a few years ago. You can go find that article in the archives on ew.com. And he was a trip to talk to, he has a lot of theories. He says they have that big final scene right before the truck jacking that goes bad. There's a little moment where Leon's like, there's a lot of hesitation. He's like, "Are you sure we should be doing this?" Like it doesn't feel right to do it without Jesse. And so in his mind, in Johnny Strong's mind, he's like, "Oh, Leon had that doubt." So once the heat became too risky, he didn't want anything more to do with the gang. I will say, speaking of Heat, my favorite part of the interview is he compared Leon to Val Kilmer in Heat, which coincidentally is quite the heat check by Johnny Strong, right?
LAWRENCE: Val Kilmer is iconic in Heat. Everything is iconic in Heat. I just love that he was this Leon character that a lot of people don't remember his name, he was comparative to Val Kilmer in Heat. But yeah, what do you think? He had his own thoughts maybe on what Leon would be up to? Well, I don't know what do we think? Did he pass away at some point? Is he still kicking around out there?
JOHNSON: I like to think he's still out there. But the thing that I can't decide is, if he's out, I don't think he wouldn't betray them either. I think it'd be cool if at some point in the films they had to go to Leon for something. Like he just has this one key thing, that friend from way back, who has this one resource, and they need to go back to him. I just think he's out there doing his thing probably living a legit life. Maybe if he was like, all right, actually stealing things. It's too hot for me.
LAWRENCE: Have you been speaking to Johnny Strong because I feel like that's what he wants. He basically was planting the seeds. He's like, "Oh, but he told me he'd only come back for the right situation." First off, he said that he would want maybe Leon to be the big bad that Dom has to go against. again, and I'm like, I don't know. man, they've been bringing in Jason Statham, The Rock, Charlize Theron, and John Cena. Sorry. I don't know if you quite got the wattage for that.
JOHNSON: What I could see though, is it seems like from the trailer for Fast 9, or for F9, sorry, that Cipher is basically the one who taps Jakob. I could see Cipher going after one after another person and be like, "Actually, I'm going to just turn all of the people you know against you."
LAWRENCE: Maybe Jakob went down and tried to Leon. I don't know. All right, well, stay tuned for F9. I can't wait to get that answer. All right, so I said at the top, no award love has ever been given to Fast. They have not even been nominated for an Oscar. These films deserve some love. I mean, I won't say that they should be winning Oscars. I mean, I will say that. Save that for that Furious Seven episode, because See You Again, that should have been the lock of all locks for Best Original Song. But each episode, we're going to decide what Oscar nomination that specific film should have had. And I feel like we're on the same page here. What do we think here for Fast One?
JOHNSON: You have to give the Best Actor nomination to Vin Diesel. You have to do it. And I think it becomes actually more apparent in retrospect because that scene where he wants to show Brian something. And it's the car that eventually becomes for everybody, the iconic car. But the thing that you can forget until you go back to watch it, I think might be the only time that Dom admits to being scared of something. And he's scared of this car and what happened to his dad.
And that scene is so emotional and sets up so much of who Dom really is. We see the way he interacts with the crew, we see how Brian earns his respect but we don't actually get to what his heart is until he lays it all out in that scene. And he does such a good job. And if that scene doesn't work, the character doesn't work, the franchise can't continue because then you don't really believe in his code, what really matters to him. But he sells it and it's perfect. And it's still golden 20 years later. So got to be Vin Diesel.
LAWRENCE: Vin just so good in this first movie. Obviously, his portrayal is just iconic throughout. But this one, and this is the way you said it, it's so different than any of the other ones. I would say obviously, it's not usually even this kind of movie. If it's lower stakes than what's to come. It's not traditionally an Oscar-type movie, I understand that. But 2002 Oscars, Denzel Washington wins Best Actor for Training Day. You can't tell me that Training Day is that much better a movie or that much different a movie than the Fast and the Furious One. Written by David Ayer, both of these.
JOHNSON: Good point. Yeah, absolutely.
LAWRENCE: So the DNA is there, the shared DNA. I mean, obviously, I'm not going to say that Denzel shouldn't have won the Oscar that year. I mean, he was incredible on Training Day. That performance still holds up. It's insane that it even took that long for him to get recognized as Best Actor. But the precedent was set that that kind of movie could get you in. And I mean, I got the nominees pulled up, so Denzel Washington Training Day, Russell Crowe nominee for A Beautiful Mind. Will Smith nominated for Olly. I mean, anybody knows I'm equally obsessed Will Smith as I am Fast and Furious, so stay tuned for the binge Will Smith podcast coming soon. We have Tom Wilkinson, In The Bedroom I'll just admit never seen it. This is the one that I take out: Sean Penn, I Am Sam. That aged terribly from the minute it happened. So I think we just retroactively slot Vim in that Sean Penn slot, and justice is served.
JOHNSON: I think so too. I completely agree. And you make a good point about them being similar types of movies. You could sneak one in there and give him his due. Because he does a great job. And I feel like in general, Vin Diesel doesn't get enough credit for his acting. And this is a movie, especially out of any in the franchise, that I think he really deserves that recognition.
LAWRENCE: Absolutely. Which plot line went by too fast? Chanelle, what do you think?
JOHNSON: For me, it's got to be the Johnny Tran stuff, especially in retrospect. It makes a lot of sense in the context of the movie, but it also ends up being with the exception of everything that happens with Jesse and stuff at the end, a little bit of a red herring. Because it's not really about the rivalry with Johnny Tran. It's not really about anything going on with that character. So that means we don't get to know a lot about him. The only time we see the people in his life that he does care about outside of just being sort of an antagonist in the movie is in a montage where nobody speaks. I would love to dig into that a little more. Unfortunately, from the movie it seems like Johnny Tran is dead so there's no opportunity to go back and see what he's doing now. But that is a person I would be curious to learn more about.
LAWRENCE: Do we ever get definitive on that? I feel like again, it was a situation where Brian's like, "Call an ambulance." And then runs off.
JOHNSON: Exactly it's a little ambiguous.
LAWRENCE: No, you're totally right because it almost is set up like Dom's actually more the big bad of that first movie. Fortunately, that's slides Johnny Tran, over a bit. But yeah, I feel like that there was a lot of potential. Rick Yune, a really good actor whose done some good things. I feel like he could have further developed that character if given the opportunity here in the film. So not that we could do about that now, but I definitely think there was more to be done with the Johnny Tran character. Totally agree.
The We Hungry award, a little tip of the hat to Roman Pearce and Tyrese there, I just always love, we'll get into that on our too fast episode, but the way he said, "We hungry," every time gets me. I feel like there could have been a few options, I don't know if it technically counts as being hungry. But when Dom and Brian come back to the house after the race gets busted up and Dom takes Vince's beer and gives it to Brian and Brian just uses a shirt to wipe it all. It's so good. It's just the look, Vince and Brian just looking at each other. It's perfect. I mean, the tuna sandwich, right? I mean, we've got to give a shout-out to the tuna sandwich.
We haven't talked much about Jordana Brewster and the character of Mia who, obviously, as the movies go, she gets more to do in some, and less to do in other films. But she was really winning in this film I think, you get the appeal and you get why Brian will be drawn to her. And I mean, still 20 years later, as Dom asked, "What did Mia put in that sandwich?" I mean, we know it wasn't actually that good. Apparently, we've been told that. I don't know, but I wouldn't mind. I drove over during quarantine to the Toretto shop. And I was definitely bummed that there was no tuna sandwiches or anything like that.
JOHNSON: They have to.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, I bought a Corona, but there was no tuna. I would have loved to have that Corona with a tuna sandwich.
JOHNSON: But it doesn't even have to be good. According to the movie.
LAWRENCE: Exactly. We gave a shout-out to Ja Rule earlier. Ja Rule if you're listening. I mean, come on if you are, please. I mean, we'll do a special episode with you. But, the Ja Rule mistake of the week. Now for context, we have Ja Rule here in this first movie, and we'll get into this more in Too Fast. Ja Rule, I said he was popping really at this time. He had the opportunity to come back for a bigger role and Too Fast, turned it down, hence the word The Ja Rule mistake of the week. And this again, this goes back to earlier we said it could be a plot mistake or a character mistake or anything like that. But I think we both landed on Vince basically sending Mia into Brian's arms right?
JOHNSON: Yeah, absolutely. And that was the thing that he was so pressed about. And he ends up being the reason it happens, in a way.
LAWRENCE: Yeah for the context with everyone I mean obviously you've seen the film I'm sure, but for your memory, it has been a while. Mia's resistant even though you can tell she's definitely into Brian.
JOHNSON: There's some attraction there.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, but she's like, "I don't date my brother's friends," whatever. But then after the barbecue, Brian's helping Mia with the dishes as the rest of the crew is watching a movie. And Vince comes in, to microwave some popcorn. And he busts Brian's chops about helping with the dishes. I would say bust chops is more of a friendly thing. It's not even that he's just outwardly trying to make fun of him. But then that completely backfires. And Mia's like, "Oh, Vince, what was that place you wanted to go on a date to?" And then he gets all excited. And says, "I think it's cha cha cha," or something like that. And she's like, "All right, Brian, so you'll take me there?" And then Vince charges out.
So it's like, "Man, maybe you want to kept your mouth shut, played the long game." I mean, I'm sorry, Vince. I don't think you're ever getting Mia, but maybe Brian wouldn't have gotten Mia either. So just bad move. Even though we should point out, Vince was right in the end. He was right about Brian, he was right to be suspicious. So lose a point gain a point for Vince.
JOHNSON: Right, I think it's like one of those things like right, but also losing the long game. But he at least also gets to say that later on, when he comes back. He's like, "I was right, and you didn't trust me then." A little bit of justice for him as well.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, we're all about justice in this franchise, thankfully. Wrapping up lastly, as we know, Winning's winning. So Chanelle, who was the ultimate winner of Fast One?
JOHNSON: I mean, we just said that Vin Diesel had to be nominated for an Oscar. I think you can't really go with anybody else but him in this movie, both because of what it means for the franchise as a whole. And, how it kick starts this amazing legacy now for the character and for Vin Diesel as a performer. But also, just because in the movie, he's so cool and so interesting. And he alongside Mia and just the Torreto family is the reason that Brian decides to basically change his entire life. So how could it be anybody else but Vin Diesel?
LAWRENCE: I mean, it's ironic, right? He doesn't return obviously, for 2 Fast, which we'll get more into next week. But, I mean nobody has been a bigger winner out of the whole franchise, then Vin Diesel. But no, you're totally right here. I mean, if we say a guy should be nominated for an Oscar, he probably won the film. And I mean, he won our interview too. I thought he was so great to talk to. He had some incredible stories. Such a fun interview. Thank you to Vin. Thank you, listeners. That's it for this episode. And like Brian O'Connor, we hope you're we earned your respect. In the meantime, please subscribe and listen along every week, wherever you get your podcasts.
JOHNSON: Rate us, share the show with your friends. Tell us what you think. You can find us on Twitter @DerekJLawrence or me @ChanelleBerlin.
LAWRENCE: Also head to EW.com for complete coverage of The Fast Saga and full episode transcripts.
JOHNSON: This episode was hosted and produced by Derek Lawrence and Chanelle Berlin Johnson produced edited and mixed by Samee Junio, and executive produced by Carly Usdin and Shana Naomi Krochmal.
LAWRENCE: Thanks for listening. And until next time, salud mi podcast familia.