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Everybody knows that Dwayne "Franchise Viagra" Johnson has The Midas Touch; you simply throw him into your series and watch him revitalize the whole thing. He's done it plenty of times, and no series of films epitomizes that idea more than the Fast & Furious franchise, as his character Agent Luke Hobbs brought a new sense of vibrancy and energy to the proceedings in 2011's Fast 5. However, Vin Diesel recently came out and admitted that the role was originally intended for a very different actor early in Fast 5's development. He elaborated:
The reason we brought Dwayne Johnson into Fast 5 was because of you! There was a girl named Jan Kelly who said, 'I would love to see you work together on screen.' So the role that was originally written for Tommy Lee Jones, we gave it to Dwayne and he shined in it.
During a recent live Facebook Q&A session (via USA Today) Vin Diesel explained that the role of Hobbs was written with Academy Award winning actor Tommy Lee Jones in mind. But prior to the production of Fast 5, a woman named Jan Kelly suggested the idea of Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson working side by side in a movie, and as such the role of Hobbs received a few minor tweaks and found itself in the capable hands of The Rock. The character (and the actor who plays him) would go on to become a focal point in the series, so we think they made the right call in the long run.
Of course, if you've seen The Rock's performance as Luke Hobbs from the Fast & Furious franchise then you should already have a fairly thorough understanding of why Tommy Lee Jones was originally considered for the part in the first place. The character began his existence as a brilliant and brutal government agent constantly one step behind Dominic Toretto and the rest of his crew. It's a pitch perfect homage to Tommy Lee Jones' Oscar-winning performance as Samuel Gerard from The Fugitive, and the series makes very little effort to hide the tribute.
Just take a look at one particularly iconic scene from the classic 1994 thriller and you will almost instantly notice the DNA of Luke Hobbs:
Ultimately it's probably for the best that the role went to Dwayne Johnson. The Rock has a stronger pedigree for action than Tommy Lee Jones, and that's a quality that has served him well throughout his three (soon to be four) Fast & Furious movies. Besides, Jones has already played his dutiful lawman; it's time to pass the torch and let someone have a shot at this awesome archetype.
Cinema Blend will bring you more information related to the Fast & Furious franchise as more news becomes available to us. Furious 8 will hit theaters next year on April 14, 2017.