At the beginning of The Fast and the Furious, Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) tests out his racing skills while driving his iconic neon green Mitsubishi Eclipse in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium during the first Fast and Furious race. Brian returns there with the rest of the “familia” in Furious 7. In one of the movie’s most picturesque scenes, the gang stands against a guardrail overlooking the Downtown L.A. skyline and discusses how to take down Jakande (Djimon Hounsou) on their own turf. That guardrail can be found in the southern portion of the stadium’s parking lot.
The clapboard corner market owned by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) in The Fast and the Furious, where “no one likes the tuna,” is actually Bob’s Market in Echo Park. The small bodega was constructed by George F. Colterison in 1913 and was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #215 in June 1979. Both the interior and the exterior of Bob’s were used in the filming of The Fast and the Furious, though the interior was dressed heavily for the shoot and is largely unrecognizable from its onscreen appearance. Unlike the movie, Bob’s does not serve food or offer counter seating in real life. The market has been featured several times on screen, in such features as L.A. Confidential, The Salton Sea, and Nightcrawler, as well as in episodes of The Mentalist and Mob City.
In the franchise’s first installment, Brian challenges Dominic to a race at a street rally that’s held in the parking lot of Downtown L.A.’s Alameda Square, located on the edge of the Arts District. A large parking structure is currently being built in that lot, but the warehouses that are visible in the background of the scene remain unchanged. The street race itself takes place a good distance away from the parking lot, on Prairie Avenue, between 118th and 120th Streets, in Hawthorne. Brian loses the race – and his Eclipse – to Dom in front of 11862 South Prairie Ave., but he comes out of it smiling because, “Dude, I almost had you.”
Toretto's House,the Echo Park home of Dominic and his sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster) appears in several of the Fast and Furious movies. Both the interior and the exterior of the two-story structure were utilized in the films, most notably in the first installment. For the shoot, director Rob Cohen had the owner paint the 1906 dwelling white so that the gang’s bright cars would stand out against it. In real life, the house is a four-unit, multi-family dwelling. The residence’s detached garage, where Dom keeps his 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, was demolished at some point after the filming of The Fast and the Furious and had to be rebuilt for Fast & Furious (2009). Though the Toretto's house meets its untimely demise in Furious 7 when it’s blown up by Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), in real life it is still standing and looks much the same as it did onscreen.
Dom's auto repair, the auto shop where Brian and the gang repair Dom’s ten-second car in The Fast and the Furious, is a former 1906 substation that once provided electricity to the Yellow Car transit line. After the city sold the property in the late 1950s, the space went through subsequent stints as a signal manufacturing plant, a welding shop and a furniture workshop. Listed as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #404, the Huron Substation is now used as a special event, wedding and filming space. The 32-by-46-foot interior, with its 45-foot ceilings, exposed brickwork and arched windows was transformed into Dom’s auto shop for The Fast and the Furious 2001 shoot.
After smoking a Ferrari in a street race, Dom and Brian head to Neptune’s Net Fast and Furious restaurant, which is really a landmark Malibu restaurant that was originally established in 1958. On the patio of the seaside eatery, Brian tells Dom that he wants in on Dom’s illegal activities. Neptune’s Net serves fresh seafood, which patrons choose from the restaurant’s many tanks and the chefs then steam on the premises. The eatery is popular with both movie crews (it's appeared in Point Break, People Like Us and The Hills) and celebrities (Michelle Pfeiffer, Bono, Gene Hackman and Cher have all been spotted there).
One of the most unique and memorable locations in The Fast and the Furious unfortunately no longer exists. The circular-shaped, Mid-Century Modern home that served as the LAPD/FBI undercover headquarters in the movie was demolished shortly after filming took place. Though Sgt. Tanner (Ted Levine) states in the film that Eddie Fisher had the residence built for Elizabeth Taylor in the 1950s, in actuality the house was constructed in 1963 by architect David Fowler and bears no Taylor-Fisher connection. Today, a 49,300-square-foot home (currently, the second largest residence in L.A.) stands on the site.
In The Fast and the Furious, Mia declares that she doesn’t typically date her brother’s friends. But after serving Brian countless tunas on white (no crust!), she finally agrees to go out with him. The two share a romantic first date at Cha Cha Cha restaurant, one of Silver Lake’s most historic eateries. The family-owned and -operated site, which serves contemporary Caribbean fare, was originally established in 1986. At the colorfully decorated restaurant, Mia tells Brian how Dominic’s team came together.
Before being sent to Japan to live with his father as punishment for illegal street racing in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) attends Oro Valley High School in Arizona. In reality, filming took place at Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School. The race that gets Sean busted was not filmed anywhere near the school, though. That scene was shot about 80 miles outside of Los Angeles at a housing community in Victorville that was under development at the time. Cabrillo High School also regularly masked as William McKinley High School during the first season of the television series Glee.
Though largely set in Japan, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was shot almost entirely in Los Angeles. Twinkie (Bow Wow) introduces Sean to Tokyo’s drift racing scene at what is actually the parking garage at Hawthorne Plaza Shopping Center in Hawthorne. The garage features several circular ramps that were perfect for shooting the drift sequences. Hawthorne Plaza originally opened in 1977, but was shuttered in 1999 and subsequently gutted. It has sat abandoned ever since, though plans are currently in the works to turn it into a high-end outlet mall. The property has been used countless times on screen, including films such as Minority Report, Evolution, Gone Girl and The Green Hornet, as well as in the television series Teen Wolf.
After ruining Han’s (Sung Kang) Nissan Silvia S15 during his first drift race in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Sean is forced to work off the debt. He winds up spending quite a bit of time fixing cars in Han’s large garage, which is located in an industrial part of Tokyo. In real life, the garage is a warehouse on Santa Fe Avenue in Downtown L.A. The area used as the front of the garage is the Mesquit Street side of the building. The interior and the exterior of the property were used extensively in the filming, though the exterior was dressed heavily with Japanese signage for the shoot. Unfortunately, the area surrounding the garage is currently undergoing massive construction and the garage is set to be torn down in the next year.
Towards the middle of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Han shows Sean the real reason why he drifts – to meet girls – by doing donuts around two attractive women in a Nissan Skyline at a Downtown Tokyo intersection. Unbelievably and despite all aesthetic evidence to the contrary, that sequence was shot in Downtown L.A. The strip of Wilshire Boulevard between Grand Avenue and Flower Street was completely transformed using neon displays, twinkle lights and Japanese signage for the shoot. SPOILER ALERT: It’s the same spot where Han is killed near the end of the movie. In that scene, he crashes his car in the southwest portion of the intersection, with the camera looking southwest down Hope Street.
In Fast & Furious (2009), Brian reports to work each day at a large Mid-Century Modern FBI building. In reality, that building is the Hall of Administration at the former Ambassador College in Pasadena. The school was founded in 1947 by evangelical radio personality Herbert W. Armstrong. After closing in 1997, portions of the campus were purchased by Maranatha High School and Harvest Rock Church. In 2010, the remaining sections of the campus were bought by an Orange County developer who has converted the site into a large mixed-use complex, the Ambassador Mansion & Gardens. Several buildings have been torn down during the transformation and many more are set for demolition in the near future, including the Hall of Administration, which was designed by Peter J. Holdstock in 1967. The Ambassador College site has been used regularly for filming over the years, in movies like A Single Man, Inherent Vice, Glory Daze and That Thing You Do!, in episodes of The Incredible Hulk, Bones, Leverage and King of the Nerds, as well as in a popular Microsoft Surface commercial.
Letty’s (Michelle Rodriguez) funeral in Fast & Furious is held at Sunnyside Cemetery in Long Beach. Founded in 1907, the cemetery features a striking backdrop, thanks to the oil that was discovered in the area in 1921. Several oil derricks now surround the property and make for an arresting site. Dominic watches Letty’s funeral from a distance, near one of those oil derricks. With its unique aesthetic and picturesque greenery, Sunnyside has long been popular with filmmakers. Other productions shot there include 8MM, Click, Phantasm II, Joan of Arcadia and The Bridge.
Seeking revenge for Letty’s death in Fast & Furious, Dom heads to the apartment of David Park (Ron Yuan) to gather some intel. When David proves tight-lipped, Dom hangs him by his feet out of a fourth floor window. Though Dom does wind up dropping him, Brian swoops in to save him. In real life, David’s building is known as the Stratford Hotel and houses 93 apartment units. The rear side of the four-story structure was also featured in one of the opening scenes of Fast & Furious as the spot where Brian captures a suspect after a long foot chase through Downtown L.A.
In Fast & Furious, Dom and Brian have a terse meet-up at a street rally held at one of L.A.’s most-filmed locales, the Starkman Building. Located in the Arts District of Downtown L.A., the picturesque brick structure (aka the Pan Pacific Warehouse) was built in 1908 as a factory for the Nate Starkman & Son company. The building’s other onscreen stints include masking as Paddy’s Pub on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Nicholas Cage’s apartment in National Treasure.
Though the parking garage where Dom and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) go head to head at the end of Furious 7 is located in Atlanta, as are many of the movie’s final race locations, the tower that provides the signal for Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) to run the hack on the God’s Eye program is located at the top of the AT&T Switching Center in Downtown L.A. Jakande (Djimon Hounsou) blows up the tower in the movie, but in real life it still stands atop the 448-foot building.
In one of the most memorable scenes from Furious 7, the gang bids a heartfelt farewell to Brian at the eastern edge of Leo Carrillo State Park Park, one of the Fast and Furious 7 filming locations . Dom stands up to leave and tells everyone “It’s never goodbye,” while Brian plays with Mia and their young son. Brian is finally home “where he belongs… where he’s always belonged.”
After Dom leaves the beach without saying goodbye, Brian surprises him at what is supposed to be the intersection of Decker Road and Mulholland Highway in Malibu. Filming actually took place about sixty miles north, at the intersection of Templin Highway and Ridge Route Road in Castaic. In the unforgettable scene, the men’s cars are stopped on Templin Highway, facing north. After driving off, the two share a final ride along the short picturesque stretch of Templin Highway located immediately north and south of Ridge Route Road, while the melancholic, uplifting strains of Wiz Khalifa’s See You Again play in the background. That same road also masked as the Dominican Republic freeway where Dom and Letty steal gas from fuel tankers in the opening scene of Fast & Furious.
Furious 7 filmmakers employed some major CGI to create the road split where Brian parts ways with Dom for the last time. In reality, this split does not exist. Instead, Brian’s car (Paul Walker’s personal Toyota Supra was used in the scene) pulled off onto a roadside turnout on the eastern side of Templin Highway, approximately 2,000 feet south of the intersection with Ridge Route Road. Digital imaging was later heavily employed to that was make the turnout look like a fork in the highway.