In the middle of a recent Deadline story about why Hollywood continues to recycle franchises instead of launching new ones is a tidbit about Denzel Washington and the Fast and the Furious series. It could be the buriedest lead in journalism history:
The Fast And The Furious was almost entirely out of gas before Universal smartly brought in Chris Morgan and Justin Lin, who tinkered under the hood and and much to the surprise of everybody, restored it into Universal’s most valuable franchise outside of Jurassic Park. They smartly added energy by bringing back Vin Diesel and adding Dwayne Johnson and others. The studio is now looking for another big star to join the next film in a small role and then be a big part of the film that follows. Denzel Washington just turned down that opportunity, but they’ll undoubtedly get somebody important by the time The Conjuring helmer James Wan starts shooting the seventh film.
Denzel Washington did what now?
I'm not going to sit here and say that the Fast and the Furious films are on par with The Wire in their unflinching depictions of modern America, even if it's more or less the truth. But can you imagine the heights to which Washington's legacy would have ascended if he were surrounded by a cast that already includes MTV Movie Awards winners Vin Diesel and Paul Walker as well as The Rock, a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards recipient (in the prestigious Favorite Male Butt Kicker category, no less)? Denzel, you just turned down your crowd. Ya blew it.
Enjoy making 2 Guns 2: 2 Guns 2 Many, dummy.