Ten Things You Didn’t Know About The Fast And Furious Franchise

When it came out 15 years ago, on June 22, 2001, “The Fast and the Furious” seemed like just a 1950s exploitation movie with a bigger budget.

Little did anyone imagine that the drag-race drama would turn into an enormous franchise that has earned $3.9 billion to date and spawned six sequels, with at least three more on the way.

As popular as the first “Fast” was — it earned $145 million in North America and a total of $207 million worldwide — there’s plenty you may not know about how the film came to be. Here are a few tidbits of behind-the-scenes trivia, doled out a quarter-mile at a time.

1. It all started with an article.


In 1998, reporter Ken Li began writing a series of articles about 30-year-old Dominican street racer Rafael Estevez, first in the New York Daily News, then in Vibe magazine.

Director Rob Cohen claimed he was inspired to make the film by reading one of those articles, entitled “Racer X” (for which Universal bought the film rights and adapted into the “Fast” screenplay), as well as by attending an actual illegal street race.