While Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker were speeding through the Fast and Furious franchise as Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner, they were also battling through a different fandom. In his July/August cover story, Diesel told Men’s Health that he and Walker were also partners outside the set, playing on the same team in the online multiplayer game, World of Warcraft. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker were WoW gamers.
“No one in the world knew that they were playing Dom and Brian,” Diesel says. The two would simply play to unwind after work. Chances are, if you were playing WoW in those years, you may have been battling the legendary action stars.
When Diesel and Walker were together IRL, however, anonymity was a bit more challenging. Diesel remembers one fan interaction that stuck with him.
“We were in this bodega—we walked into this bodega, and people just cannot believe that Dom and Brian are walking into a bodega,” he begins. “We were going to some birthday party or something for someone in the cast, and the—one of the guys said, ‘Brian.’ One of the guys called him Brian. And when we left, and we were in the car, he said, ‘That’s my favorite thing. It’s my favorite thing when people call me Brian.’
It’s not the reaction one might expect, assuming most actors feel a sensation between annoyance and chagrin when treated like their characters. Not for Walker.
“It always stuck with me,” Diesel goes on. “Because he was so adamant about it. To him it was a beautiful compliment. I still think about it to this day, because it just says so much, that there was so much pride in this iconic character he created. It was his creation, his superhero, and that moment represented a simpler life, I guess.”
Walker died in a car accident in 2013. He was unable to complete the project he and Diesel had started. Diesel came to treat those words outside the bodega as motivation for finishing the series strong. “It made me want to protect that even more, because that mountain looming that is Fast 10—that’s what we promised each other, that we would take this franchise and end it at Fast 10.”
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