Vin Diesel made his career starring in action franchises such as the #xXx and Riddick series. And while he also showcased his voice acting talents by headlining 1999's The Iron Giant and voicing Groot in #TheGuardiansOfTheGalaxy, his most well-known role is the patriarch of the Toretto family in the Fast franchise. Dominic Toretto has appeared in seven Fast And The Furious films, including the recent eighth installment, #TheFateOfTheFurious, and there's no sign he's going to slow down now.
Even after walking away from the first sequel, Diesel has become synonymous with the car-loving franchise. It might not have gone that way, however, as another well-known actor turned the part down first!
Neal H. Moritz, the producer of every single Fast And The Furious film, recently spoke with Bill Simmons on The Bill Simmons Podcast. He revealed that #Justified star Timothy Olyphant was originally eyed to play Dom. Moritz recalls showing the script for the original 2001 flick to star Paul Walker and director Rob Cohen, and reveals just how serious the studio was about getting Olyphant to star:
“I had been working with Paul Walker on another movie, 'Skulls', and I gave him the script [for The Fast and the Furious]... 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.'
Prior to excelling in his role as Raylan Givens in the hit #FX series Justified in 2010, Olyphant starred in the HBO series Deadwood, and appeared in Scream 2, Go, and the Nicolas Cage film Gone In Sixty Seconds. Moritz continued by praising Olyphant's talent while admitting he still wonders how it might have worked out:
"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.”
After Olyphant passed on the part, Moritz suggested Diesel, whose supporting work stood out in Saving Private Ryan and Boiler Room. At that point, Diesel had just played the lead in the first installment of the #Riddick franchise, Pitch Black. Moritz describes his initial meeting with Diesel and from the sounds of it, Diesel managed to make an incredible impression:
“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... 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. And then we started to make the movie.”
The rest is history. And Olyphant did just fine after Justified; he currently stars as Joel Hammond alongside Drew Barrymore in the #Netflix series, Santa Clarita Diet. You can catch Diesel next on the big screen when he teams up with Charlize Theron to go against his family in The Fate Of The Furious, set for release on April 14th.
Check Out The Trailer Below:
Do you think Olyphant was justified in turning down Dom? Let me know in the comments below!