How Paul Walker Immersed Himself Into The Fast & Furious World

The "Fast & Furious" franchise is, without a doubt, one of the most delightfully entertaining series of films to come out within the last two decades. Gearheads and non-car enthusiasts alike can all find something to love in the movies. The first film, which roared into theaters in 2001, tells the story of Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), an undercover cop who is trying to get enough evidence to arrest Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel, baby!), the lead mastermind behind a series of car heists that have been occurring in LA. However, while undercover, Brian befriends Dom and his crew, which ultimately leads to him helping Dom evade arrest at the film's end.

The movie is a total blast — as are all the sequels — and if after you've seen it you don't suddenly have the urge to become a professional street racer, then you must not have watched the same movie that has gone on to spawn nine more films, the most recent set to come out in 2023.

Paul Walker, who passed away in 2013, effortlessly falls into his role as Brian. So much so that at times you find yourself wondering how dissimilar Walker actually was from his on-screen character, if they were dissimilar at all. Well, it turns out that Walker did, in fact, have a pretty strong connection to the world of street racing even before he set out to film "The Fast and the Furious" which helped him portray Brian in a convincing way.   

A racer on and off the screen

All of the "Fast & Furious" films revolve around the underground scene of fancy, souped-up foreign cars and the high-speed/high-stakes lifestyle of street racing. This scene would be strange, exciting, and a little intimidating for most people. But Paul Walker already felt fairly at home amongst those NOS-powered cars. 

In a 2012 interview with IGN, Walker talked about his experience with street racing. Walker said he'd "always been into cars," but his love was more for domestic than foreign cars, unlike the street racers in the film. However, when Walker attended real-life street races, he was still able to converse with the people there about their tricked-out Supras and Civics. "They appreciated the fact that I knew their cars, even though that wasn't something that I was really into," he explained. However, through his time working on the films and hanging out at street races, he gained an appreciation for both types of vehicles. "I haven't necessarily been won over, but I appreciate both sides now," he said.

But his time spent racing in the streets was more than just good fun. It also helped him prep for his role as Brian. "Basically, you're selling a world as an actor, right? I mean it's like any salesperson: if you believe in your product, you know your product, you sell it a lot better," he said. "I really think you see that onscreen. I don't care who the actor is, if he doesn't know what he's selling up there, you see right through it." Thankfully for us, Walker knew his product well, and his role as Brian in the "Fast & Furious" franchise will continue to be one of his most convincing, and one of his best.