Starring the legendary Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore and a whole host of various – and slightly random – celebrities, The Cannonball Run was one of the biggest box-office hits of 1981. The story of an outlaw road race from Connecticut to California also spawned two sequels and was responsible for numerous movie firsts, lasts and oddities. Here’s a look at 40 facts about the original fast and furious series.
40. The Cannonball Run should have been a completely different movie
The Cannonball Run was initially supposed to be a much more serious racing movie. Indeed, none other than Bullitt star Steve McQueen was initially touted to take the leading role. However, following the movie legend’s passing, the studio was forced to head in a different direction. Burt Reynolds came on board instead, a more comical tone was added and the rest is history.
39. It turned Burt Reynolds into Hollywood’s highest-paid actor
It’s little wonder that Burt Reynolds was attracted to his role in the movie, given the seven-figure sum he earned for no more than a month’s work. Yes, The Cannonball Run’s leading man pocketed an astonishing $5 million for his performance in the 1981 original – achieving a particular milestone in the process. His salary officially made him the highest-earning star to grace Hollywood up until that period.