THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS
About The Production
Rob Cohen, one of today's most versatile and adventurous directors - Dragon:
The Bruce Lee Story, HBO's The Rat Pack, The Skulls, Dragonheart, Daylight -
digs in and tells a story like it is, and the import car street racing scene
offered a story he couldn't resist.
"It's primal. It's precise. It's a world unto itself with rituals,
language, rites of passage, heroes, villains and intense, gear-grinding
drama," said Cohen, who witness the power and allure of this unique
subculture at several late-nigh races on the industrial outskirts of Los
Angeles. "It's a hobby and a lifestyle, dazzlingly multi-cultural, which
has stretched from L.A. to the entire world via magazines, websites, slang and
the innate human desire to test the limits." A character-driven action
movie, The Fast and the Furious puts audiences in the drivers' seats of cars
that look both familiar and completely extraordinary. In the new parlance, they
are "Rice Rockets," alluding to their Asian roots - sub-compact
imports mostly from Japan, occasionally from Germany, which are reassembled and
souped up with artistic precision by devoted owners, who spend tens of thousands
of dollars customizing the engines and detailing the bodies before taking them
to the streets for midnight competitions that are sometimes outside the
boundaries of the law.
"There's been so much written and spoken about the place of the
automobile in the development of American culture," Cohen observed.
"The car is a symbol of freedom and mobility. There's a point in life when
you're totally dependent on your parents to move around. And then at 16, you
finally get your license. From then on, you're free. And you never forget that
the car gave you that freedom. "What we're doing with The Fast and the
Furious, in a sense, is taking the western and re-creating it in a contemporary
urban milieu," Cohen continued. "Our film deals with some of the most
important themes of classic westerns - loyalty, betrayal, freedom. But instead
of horses, we've got horsepower."
Cohen developed The Fast and the Furious with Neal H. Moritz, a producer with
a built-in barometer for the interests of young audiences, as demonstrated by
such films as Cruel Intensions and I Know What You Did Las Summer. Joining them
was Doug Claybourne, who began his career with Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse
Now and more recently handled the challenging logistics for The Mask of
After agreeing to shoot the movie in Los Angeles, the heart of the street racing
scene and American car culture, the filmmakers plunged into their street
"The races give the kids something real to do with their time," said
Claybourne, who checked out several midnight matches. "They really invest
in their cars, which can keep them away from less savory aspects of street
culture. All of their energy is put into their cars."
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