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Vin Diesel Almost Didn’t Play Dom Toretto in ‘The Fast and the Furious’

Second choice. Vin Diesel has played The Fast and the Furious clan’s fearless leader for seven movies over the last 16 years. Forget the fact that his character Dom Toretto is going to turn on his family in the upcoming Fate of the Furious because, as it turns out, Diesel, 49, might’ve never been the films’ beloved protagonist in the first place.

Related: Fast and the Furious Franchise Through the Years

The franchise’s producer Neal H. Moritz revealed on The Bill Simmons Podcast Wednesday, April 12, episode that the studio eyed another A-list actor before the first Fast and the Furious started filming.

“I had been working with Paul Walker on another movie, Skulls, and I gave him the script,” Mortiz, 57, explained. “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.’”

Related: Paul Walker's Fast and the Furious Tribute Shows Actor's Best Moments

But the Santa Clarita Diet star, 48, wasn’t interested in signing on. “The luckiest thing that ever happened to us is Tim Olyphant turned us down,” Moritz continued to Simmons. “He’s a great actor. In fact, I’m curious to see what that movie would have been.”

With Olyphant out of the picture, Moritz went to Diesel (né Mark Sinclair), who was yet to make it big in Hollywood.

Related: Paul Walker's Most Remembered Film Roles

“He wasn’t a star yet, but the great thing about Vin is he always believed he was a star,” Moritz said. “And I was going in there to think he’s coming to me to want the role and I’m the one there now having to convince him to do the role. Lucky for both of us that happened. And then we started to make the movie.”

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