Who Plays Young Vin Diesel and John Cena in the 'F9' Flashbacks?

No digital de-aging going on here in fleshing out the brothers' rivalry.

Giles Keyte/Universal
Giles Keyte/Universal
Giles Keyte/Universal

The speed-obsessed Fast and Furious franchise, which now includes 10 movies with the recent release of the long-delayed F9, has always glorified NOS-guzzling cars, purring engines, and physics-defying acts of vehicular destruction. As Vin Diesel’s gearhead-turned-super-spy Dominic Toretto says in the first film, “I live my life a quarter mile at a time.” But F9, in between its ridiculous stunts and its wild character resurrections, also spends a lot of time looking in the rearview mirror.

Specifically, F9 is the first Fast and Furious film to go all-in on flashbacks, opening with a scene from young Dom’s life that’s connected to his backstory as established way back in the beginning of the series. In interviews, director Justin Lin, returning to the series after departing with Fast and Furious 6, has talked about attempting to “solidify some of the mythology.” What does that mean exactly? At least in F9, that means exploring the origin of Dom’s ongoing family drama.

To do that, F9 decided not to go the Irishman digital de-aging route, which a number of Marvel movies have also used, and instead, Lin cast young actors to play young Dom and his (previously unmentioned) brother Jakob, played by John Cena in the present-day scenes. Being asked to play the “young” version of a global action superstar, particularly one as distinct as the bald-headed, gravel-voiced Diesel, can be an intimidating task. For every River Phoenix in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, there are countless forgettable ones. So, let’s take a closer look at the actors cast to fill the broad-shouldered T-shirts of the Toretto brothers.

Photo by Rich Fury/WireImage
Photo by Rich Fury/WireImage
Photo by Rich Fury/WireImage

Who plays young Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) in F9?

Young Dominic Toretto is played by New Zealand-born actor Vinnie Bennett, who had a small role in 2017’s Ghost in the Shell and has also appeared in a number of New Zealand television series (The Gulf, Good Grief, The Bad Seed).The 28-year-old actor doesn’t exactly sound like or physically resemble the Dom we met back in 2001’s The Fast and the Furious. (Diesel was in his early 30s when that film was shot.) But, in the F9 flashbacks that sketch out Dom’s past, Bennett brings a Toretto-like intensity to the role, selling the anguish and pain of his father’s death in a racing accident.

In a red carpet interview, Bennett explained that he didn’t really get a chance to spend time with the cast because most of his scenes were shot separately towards the end of the production. The actor who plays “Younger Dom” at age 10 in another flashback/quasi-dream sequence probably got more face-time with the cast. Why is that? Ten-year-old Dom is played by Diesel’s 10-year-old son, Vincent Sinclair. On the Tonight Show, proud papa Diesel told Jimmy Fallon that casting his son was director Justin Lin’s idea. If you’re a Dom completist, it’s also worth noting that Furious 7 also included a “Young Dom,” but the role was played by child actor Alex McGee.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Who plays young Jakob Toretto (John Cena) in F9?

Young Jakob is played by English actor Finn Cole, who you might recognize from his roles on the BBC’s historical drama Peaky Blinders and TNT’s family crime drama Animal Kingdom. Does he look like square-jawed muscle man John Cena? Not exactly, but, again, not many people look like John Cena. As the less-important-to-the-plot Toretto brother, he doesn’t make as much of an impression as Bennett, but he helps make sense of Jakob and Dom’s convoluted backstory.

Jakob will likely get folded into the main crew, a requirement of many villains in the series, and we could potentially see more of Cole as the franchise attempts to untangle its increasingly byzantine plot. In an interview with Vulture, Diesel noted that the movies will continue to explore Dom’s lineage. “I think there is an inevitable moment when you are going to meet my father’s mother,” he explained. Luckily, Dom remembers everything about his father, so there should be plenty of stories to tell.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Dan Jackson is a senior staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. He’s on Twitter @danielvjackson.


Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.


Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.


BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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