As reassuring as it would be to live in a world in which a guy like Dominic Toretto and his team of experts — who somehow went from run-of-the-mill gearheads to a team of James Bonds with zero explanation — are out there keeping us safe from looming global threats, according to Ken Li, basically nothing carried over from his magazine article to the big screen. Not even in the original or Li’s personal favorite, “Tokyo Drift.” As he told Yahoo! in 2015:
“I think for 10 seconds they considered me to write the script, but it ended when they asked what I thought the story was, and I said, ‘Did you read the story?’ What they ended up doing was an ‘American Graffiti’ meets ‘Point Break’ meets ‘West Side Story.'”
The weird part, though, is that the story “The Fast and the Furious” ended up with was in line with what Li had originally hoped his article would wind up portraying. Li got the idea to delve into the world of underground street racing when he witnessed a car being stolen. He added:
“I was trying to uncover some car theft ring, and edited that part out of the story. Oddly, they ended up taking my story, which had nothing to do with a theft ring, and then they ended up making a movie about that.”
Unfortunately for Li, while he did make “six figures” from selling the rights to Universal, he’s never really been able to further cash in on planting the seed that became a Hollywood juggernaut. But hey, at least he gets to take solace in the knowledge that, were it not for his article, we may have never gotten to see a Pontiac Fiero in space.