Since The Fast and the Furious hit theaters in 2001, fans of the franchise have flocked to Angelino Heights to gaze upon the sights like Bob’s Market and the Victorian house of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). While there is nothing wrong with visiting the locations of your favorite films and shows, Fast and the Furious fans have taken things a step too far.
Many fans of the franchise are car enthusiasts who drive tricked-out vehicles that were once the focus of the films. Nearly every night, fans of the films are spinning out, doing donuts at high speeds in front of the market and house from the film, and racing throughout the area.
The residents of these neighborhoods are not happy about this and are planning to protest the Fast X shoot on Friday, Aug. 26.
Vin Diesel as Dominic "Dom" Toretto in 'Fast X'Credit: Universal Pictures
Why are residents protesting the filming of Fast X?
These residents have been dealing with constant noise and unsafe conditions for years now, and the anger over the street racing and takeovers is becoming problematic. Traffic fatalities and pedestrian deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, jumping up 21% in the first three months of 2022 compared to 2020. Reckless driving and speeding have become an increasing problem that has greatly affected the Angelino Heights community.
The shooting permits for the Fast X shoot have not been finalized, but the bulletins were provided to the community by the FilmLA office. The bulletin informed residents that the Friday shoot will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. in front of the Toretto family house with “simulated emergency services activity, aerial photography, wetting down of street and atmospheric smoke.”
“If this film shoot is allowed to go forward in Angelino Heights, or any part of it from F10 Productions (Universal)... we will stage a huge protest and will invite many reporters and news cameras to film us protesting this film shoot all day and night,” an email from a resident to Los Angeles City Council obtained by Variety stated.
The email goes on to read that the protest will honor the 178 people who have been killed by street racers in Los Angeles, and “to shame Universal for their callous disregard for this deadly epidemic of street racing their films started and continue to promote.”
The protest is being supported by Street Racing Kills and Streets Are for Everyone, two advocacy organizations that focus on road safety education. Founders Lili Trujillo Puckett and Damian Kevitt have both been affected by dangerous driving, and are advocating for safer roads. Kevitt doesn’t have a problem with the car enthusiasts racing in a safe, contained environment, but it is a different story when racing is done on public roads and has real-life consequences.
A comparison of Bob's market in Angelino Heights and in 'The Fast and the Furious'Credit: LA Mag
The consequences of fandom
The residents of Angelino Heights have been dealing with the negative impact that the films have had on the neighborhood for years. The noise coming from the cars has become disruptive as they are present day and night. Parents are afraid to let their kids walk alone on the sidewalk for fear of a car spinning out of control.
One resident told Variety that several of the racers have hit or crashed into cars, and witnessed several of the drivers speeding away after the collision, leaving the owner to deal with the consequences of reckless driving.
Another unnamed resident told Variety that he once had a gun pointed at him by a Fast and Furious fan after he asked him to stop running his car in the middle of the day.
There are many moments of residents being harassed and assaulted by toxic fans of the franchise.
'The Fast and the Furious'Credit: Universal Pictures
What is the best move for Universal?
Universal has done the best they could with the annoyance that the community has endured over the years, providing residents with stipends and annoyance fees, which help restore any damaged property. Some residents have already been offered fees for the filming of Fast X.
Universal has also done work to promote driving safety in the years after the Fast and Furious franchise began, but the work has not been enough to combat these effects.
I think the best solution would be to build a replica of the Toretto house on an empty studio lot and film the practical street racing scenes there. Sure, it won’t be authentic to the modestly budgeted The Fast and the Furious, but I’m sure the $300 million budget could allow for a safer and less disruptive shoot to take place.
Universal could do more to educate and advocate for road safety. If they are going to make money off of the stunt work of their street-racing fantasy films, then they should put that money towards organizations that are raising awareness of the real-life consequences of dangerous driving.
Let us know what you think in the comments.