Neal Moritz, one of the producers responsible for brining the Fast and the Furious movie franchise to life, has revealed just how close Vin Diesel came to missing out on the part of Dominic Toretto in the original movie.
Alongside Pitch Black anti-hero Riddick and maybe possibly Xander Cage Dom represents arguably Big Vin’s signature role, a pumped up petrol head with a penchant for vests.
What most fans probably don’t realise though, is that Vin Diesel wasn’t always in the frame for the part.
Speaking on the Bill Simmons Podcast, Moritz revealed that, while Paul Walker was a shoo-in for the role of Brian having previously impressed the producer on one of his previous movies, Skulls, it was a different story for Dom.
“The studio said ‘if you can get Timothy Olyphant to play that role we will green light the movie.’ To play Dom Toretto” Moritz explained
“Luckiest thing that ever happened to us was that Tim Olyphant turned us down. But I would have been interested to see what that version of the movie would have been like.”
Olyphant was an up-and-coming star at the time, having previously appeared in films like Scream 2 and Gone In 60 Seconds.
He’s since gone on to enjoy notable success, albeit on the small screen, as Detective Raylan Givens on the critically acclaimed crime drama series Justified which finished its run back in 2015.
These days he’s starring in Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet alongside Drew Barrymore but back then, his decision to say no sparked off a series of events that would make Vin Diesel a household name.
“When he turned us down, I said to the studio there is this guy I had seen in this movie and I think he would be great,” Moritz went on to explain.
The movie in question? Pitch Black.
Anyway, Moritz set up a meeting with Diesel and was immediately smitten.
“He wasn’t a star yet, but the great thing about Vin is that he always believed he was a star,” the producer recalled.
The rest, as they say, is history.
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