Fast and Furious 8
Usual suspect Vin Diesel stars opposite newbie to the franchise Charlize Theron in upcoming sequel Fast & Furious 8 Universal Pictures

When a film franchise has been around for 16 years, there's bound to be some interesting on screen and off screen facts you didn't know. Ahead of the release of the latest instalment, Fast & Furious 8, we list some of the best facts we could find on the explosive action movies...

1) The Fast And The Furious's entire plot was originally based around a magazine published in Vibe in May 1998. Written by Ken Li, the article - titled Racer X - explored illegal street racing in Queens, New York.

2) Director Rob Cohen has a cameo in the first instalment as a Pizza Hut driver whose route is interrupted by a street race. Cohen isn't the only crew member to be spotted however, producer Neal H. Moritz can be seen too, as a mean guy in a convertible.

Mark Wahlberg
Mark Wahlberg originally auditioned for the role of Brian O'Conner Reuters

3) Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Eminem were all considered for the part of Brian O'Conner before Paul Walker was cast.

4) Michelle Rodriguez's character Letty Ortiz wasn't a significant part of the original screenplay, but due to the entire ensemble's incredible chemistry, Cohen constructed the love story between Letty and Vin Diesel's Toretto to increase her screen time.

5) Towards the end of the first film, Toretto drives off in an iconic 1970s red Chevy Chevelle Coupe. The same car is seen in numerous shots across the franchise and even though multiple cars were used, Diesel confesses he gave at least one to his infant daughter because she was born during the making of the first film.

6) Not only did Paul Walker handpick every car his character drove within the first two films, the first vehicle you see him in in 2 Fast 2 Furious, the Nissan Skyline, is a car from his personal collection. A keen street racer in real life, he also performed most of his own stunts throughout all six films.

7) Ironically, at the time they were cast in the first movie, neither Jordana Brewster nor Michelle Rodriguez had a driver's license despite them both doing a lot of driving throughout the entire franchise.

8) When filming the punch up between Toretto and Johnny Tran in the Race Wars scene of The Fast And The Furious, Vin Diesel accidentally broke the nose of the bodyguard breaking them up. He happened to be a stuntman, but that doesn't mean it didn't hurt!

9) In between the 4<sup>th and 5<sup>th film, Vin Diesel directed a relatively-unknown short called Los Bandoleros (The Outlaws in Spanish) surrounding all of the same characters within the franchise. It featured original cast members Michelle Rodriguez and Sung Kang. The 20-minute film depicts Toretto and the others breaking friend Leo Tego out of prison and then partying the night away in a local club.

10) Because of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's size, his character Hobbs is mocked three times as a different member of The Avengers in Fast & Furious 6. At different points in the film, he is referred to as 'The Hulk', 'Captain America' and 'Samoan Thor'.

The Rock
Dwayne Johnson's muscle mass was the subject of a few jokes on-and-off screen Instagram

11) During the making of Fast & Furious 7, production on the film was momentarily cancelled in December 2013 due to the tragic death of Paul Walker. The actor was almost half way through filming at the time of his death. Ultimately, body doubles and CGI was used in order for Walker to appear as if he completed the film, even after his death. Two of his body doubles were actually his brothers, Caleb and Cody Walker.

12) Director of the first movie, Rob Cohen stated that he shot even the less action-based scenes "as if it were a race, with the camera always in motion, the perspective constantly changing to create the feeling of energy".

13) Although actor Brian Tee plays DK (aka Drift King) in the movie, the real-life man with that title, Japanese racing legend Keiichi Tsuchiya, makes a brief cameo as the fisherman in the blue jacket who makes fun of Sean as he's learning to drift near the fish market.

Pitbull accepts the Best Urban Peformance award for his song "Echa Pa'lla" during the 14th Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas
Pitbull's track Oye was featured in the second movie of the franchise REUTERS/Mario

14) Michelle Rodriguez disliked her fellow cast when she first met them. Hard to believe the close knit group on-and-off screen were ever anything but that, but in an MTV News interview, Rodriguez explained that not only did she think "Jordana [Brewster] was a prissy ninny" and Paul Walker looked like a "Ken Barbie doll", she also thought her onscreen love Vin Diesel "was a d**k!" It seems pretty obvious that the actress no longer thinks that now.

15) On the commentary of 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), director John Singleton comments that one of the film's soundtrack songs was by a "local Miami rapper". That rapper turned out to be Mr. Worldwide himself, Pitbull and the song was called Oye.

16) The role of Luke Hobbs, introduced in Fast Five, was originally written for Tommy Lee Jones and was going to be a completely different kind of character with him initially being written as a gruff, older man. Plans changed however, when Vin Diesel saw a fan's comment on Facebook suggesting it would be fun to see the actor take on The Rock on the silver screen. With the seed planted, Diesel was able to convince director Justin Lin to cast Johnson instead.

17) 2 Fast 2 Furious director John Singleton originally wanted Ja Rule to reprise his role as Edwin, from the first movie, in the sequel. However, when the rapper turned down the offer, the character morphed into Tej Parker, who is still played by fellow hip hop artist Ludacris to this day.

18) Not specifically to do with Fast & Furious but funny none-the-less, one Drive viewer actually sued the Nicholas Winding-Refn movie because it "wasn't similar to Fast & Furious". She claimed that Drive had been falsely marketed to be like the action franchise and that it was such a disappointment compared to Fast & Furious that she deserved to be compensated. All she received was a refund on her cinema ticket.