Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Fast and Furious’ Role Was Written For Tommy Lee Jones
Veteran actor and beloved curmudgeon Tommy Lee Jones has occasionally raised a few eyebrows over the course of his career with roles that defy his serious persona (Batman Forever, for example) and prove that he’s no different from any other working actor (he likes paychecks, for example). As it turns out, we were robbed of seeing Jones tackle another surprising role, but what we were given in exchange is so much better.
During a recent Facebook video post, Vin Diesel spoke (and spoke, and spoke, and spoke) about Fast and Furious and how fans have played a crucial part in the franchise — both by ensuring the continued popularity of the series and helping to creatively shape its future, apparently. In the midst of this regularly scheduled expression of gratitude for his fans, Diesel revealed something pretty interesting:
Back in the fifth film, I was asking ‘Who should I work with?’ The reason why we brought Dwayne Johnson into Fast Five was because of you. There was a girl named Jen (maybe, Jan?) Kelly who said, ‘I would love to see you guys work together on-screen.’ And so, we gave a role that was initially written for Tommy Lee Jones but we gave it to Dwayne, and he shined in it.
First of all, if Diesel is faking the Jan / Jen confusion, it’s a brilliant move on his part because it makes him seem legitimately genuine — like he actually pulled that name out of a Rolodex in his mind instead of having some intern dig it up.
Moving on to the real news here: Tommy Lee Jones could have played the Hobbs role in the Fast and Furious series, but thanks to Jen (maybe Jan?) and fans like her, Dwayne Johnson was given the part instead. That’s a great trade-off for us, as Johnson has brought his charisma and impressive physicality to a minor part and transformed Hobbs into a series mainstay.
If Jones had played the role, we would have a very different sort of Hobbs, and one that probably wouldn’t have stuck around for more than one film. We also probably wouldn’t have experienced the gloriously compelling event forever known as #Candyassgate. (Let’s be real here: Everyone is a “candyass” in the eyes of Tommy Lee Jones, who despises all people, places and things equally, with the exception of Meryl Streep.)
Jones still has a few surprises up his sleeve, as evidenced by the trailers for Mechanic: Resurrection, in which the actor (and his terrifying goatee) appears opposite Jason Statham. So that’s…something.