The original cast for The Fast & The Furious was going to be very, very different 4 months ago

The original cast for The Fast & The Furious was going to be very, very different

The movie celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Cinema history is filled with "almosts", in that there have been plenty of examples of huge actors turning down huge roles and you can't help but think about the parallel universes in which those actors' careers take off in different directions thanks to those roles.

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We're talking about the likes of Will Smith saying no to the role of Neo in The Matrix, or Harrison Ford saying no to Doctor Grant in Jurassic Park. Angelina Jolie turning down the part in Gravity that went to Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry not taking the part that Sandra Bullock had in Speed... we could go on and on and on.

Pretty much any major franchise of movies will have those "almosts", and the same goes for The Fast & The Furious, which was initially released in cinemas in June 2001.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of that first movie and the imminent release of the 10th entry in the series in cinemas this summer, we've decided to go through the Fast & Furious filmography to date.

On the very first episode of TBR Spotlight: The Fast & Furious Saga, in which Eoghan, Garry and Rory tackle the first two Fast & Furious movies, they talk [LISTEN from 06.48 below] about those "almosts" specific to the first movie.

The first movie was directed by Rob Cohen (Daylight, Stealth), co-written by David Ayer (Training Day, Suicide Squad), and based off an article on the real-life underground drag racing scene in New York at the turn of the century.

However, when it came to the central trio of characters, Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker), and Mia (Jordana Brewster) were all shopped around Hollywood, with multiple different potential variations in the roles.

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Paul Walker was the first actor to sign up for the movie, but producers reportedly initially offered that role to Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and - believe it or not - Eminem.

Brian's love-interest/Dom's sister Mia was written with Eliza Dushku in mind, but after she turned it down, it had plenty of big names auditioning for the role, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jessica Biel, Kirsten Dunst and (on the lesser end of a good match) Natalie Portman.

Meanwhile, the role of Dom was first offered to Timothy Olyphant, who turned it down because he'd just filmed Gone In 60 Seconds, before producers then offered to Colin Farrell. Around the same time, they'd also shopped it to A.C. Slater himself, Mario Lopez, while they'd also offered the smaller role of Jesse to Dustin Diamond, before realising they'd accidentally set up a mini-Saved By The Bell reunion.

The Fast & The Furious and all of the other entires in The Fast Saga are all available to watch on NOW right now, while Fast & Furious 9 is currently scheduled to arrive Irish cinemas this July.

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Clip via The Fast Saga