Behind Justin Lin’s ‘Fast 10’ Breaking Point

Families come in all shapes and sizes. They can be loving and nurturing, they can be boisterous and brash, they can be fickle and frustrating. The Fast and furious franchise, which revolves around the family theme, came to its last when, just days after the shooting of the latest installment, Fast 10director Justin Lin did the unthinkable: he quit.

Directors were replaced earlier in the middle of production, Bohemian Rhapsody and Solo: A Star Wars Story are recent examples. However, those were incidents where filmmakers were fired. In case of Fast 10“It was the director who had had enough. Enough of the constantly changing script, enough of the process of creating a Fast film, and enough of the management of the film’s floating star and fellow producer, Vin Diesel, multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter

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Lin was writing tasks for the film and believed there was a locked script in it. Universal and Diesel thought otherwise. An important site that had been secured was cut off due to its location in Eastern Europe, in the midst of the war in Ukraine. And the movie still hadn’t cast any of its villains. In addition, even as Lin tried to draw lines in the sand, the studio said it would send a writer to London to polish up the dialogue for some of the actors, a move that was expected but apparently unwelcome by Lin at the time. say sources.

The constantly moving target proved too much for the seasoned Lin, who had a “big disagreement” with Diesel on April 23. The four-person meeting had begun when Diesel had new notes. It ended with a slammed door. “Justin finally had enough and said, ‘This movie isn’t worth my sanity,'” said a source. Both Lin and Diesel declined to comment on this story.

A spokesperson for Universal said: THR: “All the creative differences that led to Justin Lin’s departure were with the studio, not fellow producers, cast or crew.”

In the heat of battle, Lin said he was done with the movie. The studio took him seriously. And by April 25, a settlement was reached for Lin to leave production. He would remain involved as a producer. A large part of the crew had been working on F9 with Lin and before a spell, he wondered what their next steps should be, but Lin, according to insiders, gave his blessing that they should stay. Either way, the muscle car had lost its driver while driving down the highway.

On April 26, three days after the blast, Lin announced his departure on the… Fast social media channels. “With Universal’s support, I have made the difficult decision to step back as director of Fast X,” he wrote, also thanking his cast and crew for their support, and proudly expressing that he helped build “the most diverse franchise in movie history.”

Lin’s departure was months in the making, offering a glimpse into the kind of pressure cooker environment that the film series, now nearly 21 years old, has become. It also illustrates the stakes placed on his studio, Universal Pictures, its main star and producer, Diesel, and any director caught in the sturm und Drang of making a mega-blockbuster.

Lin, more than any director, knew what he was getting into Fast 10† He directed five Fast movies, starting with the third episode, Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift† He led the series from a simple and modestly budgeted car-oriented action movie to a global stunt-starting global box office juggernaut, especially with 2011’s fast fivethat brought in Dwayne Johnson and set the new course: big names, bigger set pieces.

Lin came from 2021 F9: The Fast Saga, who was unlucky enough to be released during the pandemic. While a worldwide gross profit of $726 million is nothing to lose your engine oil on, it was the lowest result since fast five† Pressure was applied to make the 10th episode a barn burner and the director, with a short pause, put the key in the ignition and immediately started on the next.

The pressure on Universal to de Fast franchise is huge. It is the largest franchise in the studio’s history, with a cinema gross of nearly $6 billion. But 20 years later, the movies have become extraordinarily expensive.

tell sources THR That Fast 10′s budget reached more than $300 million, and that is without any marketing and publicity expenditure. More than a hundred million of that is for above-average costs, which have skyrocketed over the years and see the studio juggle nine and ten figure salaries for actors such as Charlize Theron, whose roles have only grown, latest entrants Jason Momoa and Brie Larson, and veterans Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson. All those numbers pale in comparison to the fees coming for Diesel. (Universal declined to comment.)

Diesel had become his own personality to be reckoned with at this point in history Fast franchisee. He had long since become the dominant force and was not afraid to tense his ample muscles. His clash with Dwayne Johnson led to the former superstar wrestler leaving the franchise — even rejecting the public. And the writing process for the films was unorthodox to say the least. Insiders say that writers would write action scenes and Diesel would say “yes” or “no” to them, leaving the director the job of making them fit. Or not, if Diesel has changed his mind. “The whole process is a mosaic that never stops moving,” says an insider who has seen the making of several up close Fast movies.

Fast has seen its share of unfortunate, if not tragic, setbacks. In 2013, Paul Walker, who starred in the films with Diesel, died in a car accident during a production hiatus. The film put production on hold for months as the studio, producers and director James Wan tackled the entire filming as they devised ways to honor Walker and move on without him.

While it clearly wasn’t that bad, Lin’s departure was certainly a very unwelcome development. Fast 10 revolved around shooting second unit photography as the studio and Diesel scrambled to find a replacement director. The process cost the studio more than a million dollars a day to keep crew and locations on standby.

And finding a director for the franchise wouldn’t be easy. “You need someone who can play ball with the studio, Vin and the actors,” notes an agency partner. “You may be able to count on two hands filmmakers who can handle this challenge. Most filmmakers will submit this under ‘Life is too short’.’

Obvious candidates, those who previously provided episodes, were not available. But the production tried. F. Gary Gray (Fast 7) in the process of shooting a Kevin Hart movie for Netflix. Wan is in post production on Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom† David Leitch is going to shoot a autumn man feature, with Ryan Gosling, this summer. Even if it pulled him off that project, the studio risked losing Gosling to another project, or worse, angering the actor, who may not want to push his schedule.

On the bright side, as one source points out, it could be a great opportunity: “If you can land this 747 and avoid a crash, you’d be a hero.”

The hoped-for hero was found in Louis Leterrier, a firm hand experienced with great visual effects after he finished the remake of Clash of the Titans and the well-regarded but short-lived Netflix series, Dark Crystal: Age of Resistanceand action chases thanks to the Jason Statham starring carrier movies. Leterrier, according to an insider, had always been in contention directing appearances for the Fast films because of his experience and interest. Now he got his chance.

His deal is expected to close this week with the project out of the pit and back on the road shortly after.

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