The original choice for Hobbs in Fast Five would have made it a completely different film
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson made the role his own, but he wasn't the first choice for the part...
Released in 2011, 10 years ago this month and 10 years on from the first Fast & Furious movie, it really did feel like Fast Five was the turning point for the franchise.
The massively increased budget (up to $125 million from the fourth movie's budget of $85 million), the huge action set-pieces and the diversion away from the world of illegal drag racing and heading straight into an amped up action-heist movie all combined to make a much better movie than the Fast and Furious entries that had come before.
The cherry on top was the arrival of an antagonist that would be a match for Vin Diesel's Dom and Paul Walker's Bryan and the rest of their ever-expanding family. And, as we all know, that character would arrive in the hulking form of Special Agent Lucas Hobbs.
On the third episode of TBR Spotlight: The Fast & Furious Saga, in which Eoghan, Garry and Rory tackle the fifth and sixth Fast & Furious movies, they discuss [LISTEN from 13:00 below] who was originally in mind for the role of Luke Hobbs.
We know that the role was eventually filled by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, who would be so successful in the movie that he'd reappear in the sixth, seventh and eighth movies, before sharing a spin-off with Jason Statham in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
But it is difficult to imagine that being the case if the role of Hobbs had gone to who it was originally written in mind for... Tommy Lee Jones.
It makes a certain kind of sense: Dom and his fellow career criminals are on the run, so who comes to mind when you think of cinematic man-hunters?
Tommy Lee Jones has a CV littered with finding folks who are on the run: The Fugitive, U.S. Marshalls, Double Jeopardy, etc.
In a Facebook post to his fans at the time, Vin Diesel revealed the following:
"Back in the fifth film, I was asking 'Who should I work with?' The reason why we brought Dwayne Johnson into Fast Five was because of you. There was a girl named Jen Kelly who said, 'I would love to see you guys work together on-screen.' And so, we gave a role that was initially written for Tommy Lee Jones but we gave it to Dwayne, and he shined (sic) in it."
Considering that Fast Five features scenes of Vin and Dwayne literally hurling each other through concrete walls, we're not sure how Tommy Lee Jones would've fared in the action stuff, but it is definitely something to think about...
Fast Five and all of the other entries in The Fast Saga are all available to watch on NOW at the time of writing, while Fast & Furious 9 is currently scheduled to arrive Irish cinemas this June.
Clip via The Fast Saga