The fast cars, insanely athletic actors and actresses, and reality-defying stunts all make up the Fast & Furious series. The franchise itself was outrageously expensive to produce and went through hundreds of cars (totaling most of them) in order to provide content that was entertaining, breathtakingly awesome, and seemingly real. That's what makes it one of the greatest movie franchises to grace our generation. With all of this fame comes a price, though; attention to detail becomes unnegotiable and every second of filming counts. The writers and directors of this franchise knew that as soon as the first movie was a hit, the rest would soon follow harsh criticism and scrutiny were they not up to par with the first installation.
Of those details, the location is of the utmost importance. Not only will the right location provide fluidity and continuity, but it also sets the scene and pulls the viewer in. Choosing the wrong location or, even worse, choosing a flawed location, would result in the first critique by viewers everywhere. Luckily, this is one of the many things that Fast & Furious directors got right when filming this series. For the most part, they chose real locations and made use of actual fans to shoot certain scenes, make them much more believable. They also shot important scenes on-location in order to go the extra mile and really push filming to the edge. We've got 20 behind-the-scenes facts the go with one of the coolest movie franchises ever created and trust us, some of this might surprise you.
20 Dominic's Home Was A Real House In L.A.
Dominic Toretto, played by Vin Diesel, had a home set in a common-looking area of California. His house looked pretty legit in the movie and for good reason -- it was a real house. This house, along with the neighbors', were real houses that were used as a home base for the main characters of the movie. Featuring a white picket fence, plain white shingles, and a tan roof, the house is still standing today. It's in Echo Park near downtown but doesn't try to find it -- People do actually live there! You'll also be looking for the wrong landmark since the shifty garage in the back was never part of the actual house.
19 Bob's Market Was Used As "Toretto's Market & Diner"
In addition to Toretto's house being an actual landmark, the market was, too. During this scene, both Dominic and his sister, Mia, meet Brian, played by the late Paul Walker. It's an inspired scene over a tuna sandwich and a memorable one, at that. The diner does actually exist and though it's obviously not called "Toretto's", it is called Bob's Market. The store is exactly how it's displayed in the movie and has a very mom and pop feel to it. Funny enough, the market isn't too far of a stroll from Toretto's on-set house, either -- We'd imagine filming in these locations was rather convenient.
18 "The Racer's Edge" Is A Real Auto Parts Store In Hollywood
As for Brian Spilner's (Paul Walker) place of work, the auto parts store is yet another local business. Luckily, all of these buildings were readily available, so the directors didn't need to go to huge lengths to achieve realism. The store is on Orange Drive in Hollywood and while it does exist, it's certainly not as flashy in real life as it is in the movie. There's no car sitting atop the building and there's no signage to indicate it's an auto store. From the outside, it just looks like a regular 'ol warehouse for car parts which just goes to show how movie magic works.
17 Little Saigon Is Responsible For The Gang Scenes
Anyone who has seen the movie will remember the exchange between the Asian motorcycle gang. This all happened in a legitimate area of California known as Little Saigon. The great thing about shooting a film in Orange County is that you have access to all of these locations that add diversity to your script and this was one of them. There, you can find landmarks specific to Little Saigon as well as an Asian-inspired archway that has since been repainted and returned to its original, sign-less form. It's a notable scene that feels authentic due to its surroundings.
16 The First Scene In The Movie Is Shot In Front Of Dodger Stadium
When the series first opens, you might have noticed that Brian is standing in front of a well-known landmark. During this opening scene, he's testing out a green Eclipse and if you hadn't noticed it then, you will now. The location in question is none other than Dodger Stadium, which is conveniently located in downtown L.A. While the stadium itself wasn't used, it was the parking lot that got all the attention. Anyone who has been to a baseball game knows how massive the parking situation is but to a street racer, this means fair-game in the off-season. The actors and stunt doubles had plenty of work to work with at this location.
15 A Produce Market Staged The First Official Race
Believe it or not, the business that looms behind Dominic and Brian is actually a market in L.A. It's the L.A. Produce Market, to be exact, and it's seen from a somewhat vague distance. In the movie, this was intended to be a random party amidst a race rally, and all the viewers should have noticed was what appeared to be empty warehouses. In reality, they were in a fairly popular and crowded location in downtown L.A., just outside of this well-known produce market. Because of the angles at which this is filmed, you'd never put two and two together.
14 Prairie Avenue Was Famous For This Scene
Everyone always wants to know where the races took place since they are such a huge part of this series. Heck, without them, there'd be no "fast" and possibly no "furious". The race from the scene mentioned just before is not the same place that it was actually filmed. Rather, actors took to Prairie Avenue to film the scene in which Brian loses his car. This scene was shot roughly 15 miles away from the actual produce market. They raced roughly the length of two street lengths with some footage shot just past the second street and made it jive flawlessly. You'd never know that these two exchanges weren't actually filmed in the same location.
13 Cha Cha Cha And Neptune's Net Actually Exists
The love story between Brian and Mia is one that many have falling in love with themselves, and it's understandable. Watching them together was one of the biggest draws of each movie and their first date is no different. There's plenty of character development and with it, you need the right atmosphere. A restaurant in L.A. called Cha Cha Cha was used to film this exchange and not only is it legitimate, but it's highly popular with the locals. Additionally, the oceanfront restaurant where Dominic and Brian meet up, Neptune's Net, is also a legitimate cafe in Malibu.
12 The Railroad Tracks And The Train Were Very Real And It Was Filmed Nearby
The last race of the first movie was intense and wow'ed viewers with its quick action. While the scene itself was filmed in two parts in order to bring them together to form one cohesive scene, a real train and real tracks were used. The Terminal Way & Earle Street tracks were used in this scene and provided enough room and background setting to make the scene appear legitimate. The scene concluded in the same area, only several blocks away from where the cars actually jumped the tracks. While the scene itself wasn't completely real, the location absolutely was.
11 This Isn't The Only Movie The Vincent Thomas Bridge Was Seen In
In the scene just mentioned, you might note that the Vincent Thomas Bridge is clearly visible in the background. This was an important piece in the scene as it legitimized the location and also gave viewers a landmark to go by. As it turns out, this bridge has made appearances in a couple of other popular movies, too. Charlie's Angels as well as To Live & Die in L.A. also made use of this important landmark in some of their scenes. The bridge is crucial in connecting the mainland with Terminal Island, making it a pretty well-known spot in San Pedro.
10 The "Race Wars" Was Filmed At An Airport
Everyone remembers the Race Wars scene from the movie as it built up plenty of excitement for viewers who'd waited for a massive rally. This desert-like location was filmed in the most random of places and probably one that many would never guess. The San Bernardino International Airport saw plenty of action that day as it was used to film the entire scene. The airport was mostly being used by the fire department at the time so it was fair game for the directors. It's located roughly 60 miles outside of L.A., serving its purpose of being somewhat isolated and unregulated.
9 Most Of Tokyo Drift Was Filmed In L.A.
This might not come as a surprise but what does come as a surprise is how believable the directors made these scenes feel. Outside of a few select scenes that needed notable landmarks, much of Tokyo Drift was filmed in L.A. There was really no need to travel outside of the country for this movie, as many scenes took place indoors due to backdoor deals or on the street while a race was going on. Despite the somewhat poor reception this installment of the series got, there's no denying that it was just as action-packed and legitimate as the others.
8 You Can Catch A Glimpse Of Shibuya In One Scene Of Tokyo Drift, Though
Of the major Japanese cities that were used during filming, Shibuya was one of them. In Japan, Shibuya is essentially the Times Square of Tokyo. It's filled with crowds at any time of day and is lined with tall buildings, bright lights, and, of course, cars. The way the city is structured, however, would have made it very challenging to recreate in the states, hence the need for overseas filming. Additionally, you can catch glimpses of Foostal Court which overlooks Shibuya Square, Takeshita Dori which is part of Harajuku, and a red-light district in Shinjuku, and we all know what went down there.
7 Fast And Furious 6 Created The Longest Runway In The World
Whereas a normal runway doesn't normally exceed one mile, the runway used in Fast and Furious 6 was unnaturally long. This was necessary in order to film the entirety of the scene as it was pretty lengthy if you remember. It's estimated that the runway built for the scene had to be over 20 feet long and would need to be at least 18 feet in order to support all of the action. This scene continued for 13 minutes which, anyone who has flown knows, is well over the amount of time that it takes to perform a proper take-off.
6 The Mansion In 2 Fast 2 Furious Is Actually Owned By An Actor
In 2 Fast 2 Furious, the scene that was filmed in that wildly impressive mansion was actually pretty legitimate. Not only was the mansion very real, but it was also owned by a very well-known actor. How the connection began is unknown but it makes for an interesting fact as far as behind-the-scenes knowledge goes... The mansion in question belonged to none other than well-known actor Sylvester Stallone. He owned it during filming, however, it belonged to Carter Verone in the movie. Not only was this the perfect setting, but it was also pretty believable, too... Way to go, Stallone.
5 Fast & Furious Opened In The Dominican Republic
Interestingly enough, Fast & Furious did shoot on location when it came to the opening scene. Before the camera follows Paul Walker as he jumps from rooftop to rooftop, the opening scene takes place in what is intended to be the Dominican Republic. As it turns out, this is actually where it was filmed. This is an impressive nod because, for something so small, the directors very easily could have filmed any beach with glistening water. Rather, they went for the real deal, even though the scene itself was so short. It was a nice contrast to the following scene, to say the least.
4 "Panama" Was Actually Long Beach Harbor In Cali In Fast & Furious
As opposed to the opening Dominican Republic scene, the scene that was intended to be filmed in Panama in Fast & Furious was actually none other than Long Beach Harbor in California. While it's only a short scene, it's relatively hard to tell the difference between what would have been Panama and Long Beach. A cargo ship came through at just the right time, making the scene even more believable, and an on-site filming wasn't really necessary to convince the viewers of where Vin Diesel was. The only flaw of this scene is that the Queen Mary, as well as the city skyline, can be spotted in the far distance.
3 Additionally, The FBI Building Used In The Movie Was Actually A College
In Fast & Furious, Paul Walker plays Brian O'Conner, who works on the side of the FBI. This, of course, does not last long, however, the directors needed a location that would be passable for an FBI building. As a result, a local building that was then known as the Hall of Administration for a local college turned out to be the perfect location. The building was owned by Ambassador College in Pasadena. When the school closed down in 1997, the rights to the building went to a local high school. It's still owned and used by Maranatha High School, making some high schoolers very lucky.
2 Much Of Fast Five Was Filmed In Puerto Rico
This might be surprising due to the fact that much of the aerial shots are actually of Rio de Janiero in Brazil. Of these shots, you see Sugarloaf Mountain, Dona Marta, and the unmistakeable statue of Christ the Redeemer. However, the actors didn't get to spend much time here as most of the action shots in this movie were filmed in Puerto Rico rather than on the Streets of Rio de Janiero. They were filmed in San Juan specifically, due to its wider streets which gave the directors and actors more room to spread out and film the scenes properly.
1 Fast Five's Robbery Was Filmed In The Mojave Desert, Not Rio
This scene was impressive, to say the least, and was also fairly dangerous to commit to. Not only that, but it cost the producer a pretty penny at 25 million dollars. This was due to the fact that they actually needed to buy a train in order to completely total it -- Makes sense, right? The scene itself, however, was less legitimate as far as scenery goes. It was filmed in the Mojave Desert since Rio lacks somewhat of a dry environment that spacious. The end of the scene, where both Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are seen falling into a river, is actually the Colorado River.
References: www.movie-locations.com, www.seeing-stars.com, www.buzznick.com, www.seeing-stars.com, www.movie-locations.com