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THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

About The Stars
The biggest challenge facing Cohen and company was finding the best and the brightest young actors to inhabit the roles created in the screenplay. "I think every movie that's going to be a success must have surprising elements," said Cohen. "And we've got that in our cast.

"Paul Walker, who also starred in The Skulls for me, is a teen heartthrob who has grown into manhood with a great combination of male beauty, intelligence, heart and testosterone. As for Dominic, our anti-hero, we really felt that Vin Diesel, who made such a find showing in Pitch Black and Boiler Room, was the guy. I believe Vin will fill the void left by action stars who are getting a little long in the tooth for extreme physical action.

"Jordana Brewster is in an unusual situation for a young actress," the director continued, "because she's just finished her freshman year at Yale University and normally you don't have actresses who are moonlighting from the Ivy League! She has a kind of astounding almost unknowable beauty, and she's a very fine actress. Rick Yune, who had an impressive debut in Snow Falling on Cedars, has a very visual, charismatic screen presence.

"While we were casting," Cohen continued, "an agent wanted me to see a yet-to-be-released film called Girlfight, starring a brand-new actress named Michelle Rodriguez. We didn't really have a part for her then, but we created one and expanded it when we learned just how talented she is. When Girlfight was released, the rest of the world found out what we had already discovered. We also have such fine young actors as matt Schulze, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong and the hip-hop star Ja Rule. It's a very special cast, and I hope one of our greatest special effects."

The young cast returned Cohen's faith with their own enthusiasm. When Walker was in Toronto filming The Skulls, he told Cohen and Moritz he's always wanted to play an undercover cop. "At one time or another, every boy fantasizes about being a cop - and a race car drivers," said Walker. "After we finished The Skulls, Rob and Neal told me about this project, before there was a script. I loved working with them and said 'Count me in!'"

Walker has been a bona fide car aficionado from early youth. "When I was growing up, my dad had all the car magazines at home, and I studied the stats...the horsepower, cargo room, torgue, the whole bit," he recalled. He raced his own Nissan Skyline - the Ferrari of Japanese sport cars, according to connoisseurs - at a NIRA sponsored race in Palmdale this spring.

Diesel also has a passion for cars and leapt at the chance to play Dominic Toretto. "Cars and the idea of speed have always fascinated me," he said. "I had a GSX-R that we'd drive at incredible speeds on the Belkt Parkway and every direction out of Manhattan when I was in college. I was younger and more foolish then - and in love with the liberty that speed can give you. But now," he admitted, "I'm an SUV kind of guy."

Jordana Brewster couldn't have cared less about cars before The Fast and the Furious. She didn't even know how to drive, but the story, character and director drew her to the project. "I really liked Rob and his vision for the film, and was excited about the opportunity of working with actors like Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez. The script was also cutting edge.

"Growing up in New York, I had never driven before, and had to get my license to be in the movie," said Brewster. "To prepare for the movie, I had to go to Driver's Ed in New York and get a car in L.A. I'm glad now that they forced me because otherwise I probably would have been a non-driver by are 40!"

Rick Yune, cast by Cohen as the cool and dangerous Johnny Tran, found the project intoxicating. "The Fa

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