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Timothy Olyphant Was This Close to Playing Dom Toretto in the ‘Fast and Furious’ Franchise

Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Fambly. Chances are you just read that word in the gravel-voiced growl of babyfaced colossus Vin Diesel, the star of the Fast and Furious franchise that turned those two syllables into a catchphrase, and then into a way of life. In no small way, Diesel is the series, and not just because his name makes him sound like he’s already a character in one of these movies. As noble-hearted car jacker Dom Toretto, he helped shape the tone, themes, and overall outlook of all films fast and furious. But he was this close to missing it all, and going through life primarily identified as “the guy in the xXx movies I always tell my wife I was trying to Google.”

Entertainment Weekly has noted a new revelation that surfaced during Bill Simmons’ podcast this week concerning a different turn that Fast and Furious franchise could have taken. (Car pun!) Producer Neil H. Moritz let slip that Timothy Olyphant was originally slated to take the wheel as Toretto:

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… 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.

What, indeed! Imagine, if you will, a Sliding Doors-style alternate world in which Olyphant does land the role: too busy to take work on Justified, the sheriff role would have logically gone to Diesel. And what a Justified that would have been.

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