Vin Diesel Says He and Paul Walker Dodged the Cops in Real-Life Street Race

Forever linked as brothers through the Fast and the Furious franchise, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker had many adventures on and off camera together.

As part of the ensemble cast that kicked off 20 years’ worth of films, they spent time together learning all about underground drag racing firsthand. Walker and Diesel even had a real-life encounter that involved evading the police.

Paul Walker and Vin Diesel attend the premiere of 'Fast & Furious 6' at Empire Leicester Square on May 7, 2013 in London, England
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel attend the premiere of ‘Fast & Furious 6’ at Empire Leicester Square on May 7, 2013 in London, England | Dave M. Benett/WireImage/Getty Images

Paul Walker was used to street racing before ‘Fast and Furious’

When Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and the rest of the Fast and Furious crew promoted the very first film, Walker sat for an interview with MTV in 2001. He explained how he had a longtime love for cars and grew up around auto enthusiasts.

His grandfather once worked at Ford and used to race the factory models for the company. Walker liked speed, and he wasn’t a stranger to the street racing scene.

“When I was in high school, we would go to the races every now and then,” he told MTV. “They were all over the San Fernando Valley. I was born and raised in the Valley. It’s basically what you see in the movie. You go, a couple guys race, cops swarm in, you run to your car, and you race out of there as fast as you can. I was pretty familiar with it.”

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Vin Diesel and Paul Walker ran from the cops

During a new interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Binge podcast, Diesel spoke about filming the first Fast and Furious movie. He explained that the scene with the police breaking up a street race gathering included people who actually lived that life. He said being around them made it easier for him and Walker to dive into their parts.

But their preparation for the movie included an incident that mirrored what viewers saw on screen. A similar police chase happened in real life. Diesel said before production began, he and Walker attended a few illegal street car races.

“I grew up in New York City. And in New York City — in Manhattan — you won’t see a lot of helicopters, and you definitely won’t see any helicopters disperse anything like illegal street car racing,” he said.

“But Paul grew up in L.A. and was accustomed to that, and I wasn’t. So, I remember when the helicopters came, I’m like, ‘Well, which way do you run?’” Diesel explained that he and Walker hadn’t begun filming yet and were taking a risk being in that environment. He really thought they’d have to run across a bridge.

“One of the illegal street car racers — all great people that ended up forming this legal form of these races — said, ‘Get in! Get in!’ Very similar to the scene of Brian saying, ‘get in’ to Dom when he’s running in East L.A.,” Diesel recalled.

Fortunately, they didn’t get caught. In the extended version of the interview, Diesel remembered other fun moments with Walker and the rest of the Fast and Furious crew and urged fans to support Fast 9. F9 will arrive in movie theaters on June 25, 2021.