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Did You Know The Fast & Furious Franchise Got Its Name from a 1954 Roger Corman Film?
We have the king of low-budget filmmaking to partly thank for Dom & co.
What pops into your head when we say the following two words: "Fast" and "Furious"?
If you immediately thought of sexy hot rods, international heists, backyard barbecues where the Corona flows like water, and Vin Diesel growling about the importance of family, you wouldn't be wrong. But long before those terms became synonymous with Dominic Toretto and the rest of the Fast Saga pit crew (who are currently burning rubber in the franchise's latest blockbuster Fast X), they were associated with the legendary king of low-budget filmmaking, Roger Corman.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in 2021 for the 20th anniversary of the original film, longtime Fast Saga producer Neal H. Moritz revealed alternate titles like Redline, Racer X, Race Wars, and Street Wars — all of which were considered too "cheesy."
How Roger Corman Deserves Some Credit for The Fast and Furious Title
"I went to watch a documentary on Roger Corman, who I've known since I was a kid, and there was a little section on a movie he'd made called The Fast and the Furious. I thought, 'That's the title of this movie!'" the producer recalled.
The Corman-produced movie (directed by John Ireland and Edward Sampson) was released in 1954 and centers around an escaped prisoner on the run from the law who joins a competitive race from the U.S. border into Mexico. Not only was the title perfect, but the content of the film itself felt like a long-lost ancestor to the adventures of the now-iconic band of street racers from Los Angeles.
Moritz purportedly called up the head of marketing for Universal Pictures and relayed his epiphany, only to be met with total silence. "I was like, 'Oh, I guess that is the worst title he's ever heard.' Then a few hours later he calls me and goes, 'That's a great title,' and I'm like, 'I know!' So we made a deal with Roger to give him the use of some stock footage that Universal owned."
The cast, meanwhile, had already fallen in love with Redline. Moritz broke the news to them over lunch one day. "We were all like, 'What are you talking about?'" Chad Lindberg (Jesse) told EW with a laugh. "Not everybody was feeling it right away, because we just loved Redline. There was something about Redline, and we were so used to it, and now it cannot be anything but The Fast and the Furious."