Paul Walker had wrapped up filming on The Skulls in early 2000 when he was approached by the director Rob Cohen and producer Neal H. Moritz, asking Walker what he wanted to do next. He said his dream project would be a mash-up of Days of Thunder and Donnie Brasco. So the filmmakers brought him a Vibe article they'd found about undercover street racing in New York City. The story was pitched as a remake of Point Break set in the world of underground street racing in Los Angeles and Walker's character playing a cop who infiltrates the illegal racing world. Walker signed on immediately but the producers decided to give him a strong supporting co-star and were impressed with Vin Diesel after watching Pitch Black. The film was titled The Fast and the Furious and it exceeded box office expectations which led Universal Pictures in developing a sequel with Paul Walker again as the lead. However, they had trouble re-signing Vin Diesel for the sequel as his star power had grown and he and director Rob Cohen left the series to develop the xXx film. John Singleton was brought in as the new director, and Tyrese Gibson as Walker's new co-star and shifted the production to Miami. 2 Fast 2 Furious cost more to produce but was less financially successful than the original. For the third movie, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Paul Walker left the franchise citing politics, studio interference and regime decision. Universal then approached Vin Diesel but he was busy with the other movies. Since neither of the stars agreed to appear in the movie, Universal rebooted the franchise with new characters, a new director, Justin Lin, moving the series to Tokyo and shifting away from the racing element to the drifting subculture. While the movie was in post-production, Vin Diesel agreed to do a cameo in order for his production company to acquire rights to the Riddick character from Pitch Black. The third movie was the least financially successful of the franchise but the Vin Diesel cameo received a very positive reaction from the audience. The studio told Diesel that it planned to use his cameo as a way to relaunch the Dominic storyline. Vin Diesel had made a string of box office flops such as The Chronicles of Riddick, Find Me Guilty and the successful but critically loathed The Pacifier and wanted to reinvigorate his career through the new Fast & Furious movie. Vin Diesel, Universal and Justin Lin tracked down all the original co-stars of the first movie including Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster to convince them to return to the franchise.
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