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Vin Diesel wasn’t the first choice for Dom Toretto in Fast and Furious

Vin Diesel has long been one of the main players in the Fast and Furious cast, but he wasn't even the first one offered Dom in the Fast and Furious movies.

Vin Diesel in Fast X

Truly, Vin Diesel is the face of Fast and Furious. You watch the Fast and Furious movies in order, he’s the one you come to understand as the lynchpin, the force that keeps everything together. Surprisingly, he very nearly wasn’t anywhere near the franchise.

Neal H Moritz, a producer on the action movies, helped shepherd the original into production. He revealed on the Bill Simmons podcast that Timothy Olyphant was who they approached first for the Fast and Furious cast, after getting Paul Walker in as Brian O’Conner.

“I had been working with Paul Walker on another movie, The Skulls, and I gave him the script,” Moritz says. “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’.”

At this point, Olyphant had starred in thriller movie Go, and started breaking out from the minor parts that defined his early career. As an up-and-comer, studios wanted to be associated with him, creating some demand.

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Olyphant himself had other plans. He rejected the part for unspecified reasons, and the star of horror movie Pitch Black got the nod instead. “The luckiest thing that ever happened to us is Tim Olyphant turned us down,” Moritz reflects. “He’s a great actor. In fact, I’m curious to see what that movie would have been.”

It’s hard not to wonder, right? Diesel stepped away after The Fast and the Furious, but decided to return in order to have creative control on the Riddick films. Since then, the science fiction movies have only gotten bigger and more explosive, making Diesel a worldwide icon (not to mention one of the highest-grossing actors in Hollywood).

Olyphant would go on to be two of the best TV series ever, Deadwood and Justified. Two of the best Westerns of the 2000s as well – we think he’s OK with not being a Toretto.

Now, go see our list of the best Fast and Furious characters.