If you don’t follow Fast & Furious star/producer Vin Diesel on Facebook, then you may not be aware of the brouhaha around the $4 billion franchise that has been developing over the last few weeks. A short while back, reports started surfacing of production troubles on the 8th Fast & Furious film claiming that Diesel was was the reason why Universal have not tapped a director to take over from James Wan for the much anticipated sequel to the record-breaking Furious 7. And according to these reports, no replacements could be found because Diesel was apparently proving himself very difficult to work with. Hell, there were even some rumours that he was actually trying to claim the director’s chair himself.
However, in a recent Facebook post, Diesel clarified the situation, revealing that he was indeed the hold-up, but not in the way it was being portrayed in the news.
The fans of the Fast & Furious SAGA are the best fans in the world… Since I became the Producer in 2008, you have been with me every step of the way… literally giving me feedback that proved invaluable. Thank you.
My producing partner Neal would love for me to just sign off on a director, but this is too special a franchise, so these matters have to be very carefully handled. To be clear, NO ONE has been offered to helm Fast 8 yet… let alone seen a script.
Universal has been so good to me and so trusting of the vision… they have been like family… I promised the studio I would deliver one last Trilogy to end the saga.
I will announce the directors on my next post…
Well, Diesel wasn’t kidding around as he updated his cover photo yesterday afternoon with this pic of himself sitting next to none other than director F. Gary Gray!
Gray has been around the block for a while, starting out his feature film directing career two decades ago at the young age of twenty-four with cult-favourite comedy Friday, before going on to helm seven more feature films. He even has a history with Diesel having directed him in the surprisingly solid A Man Apart, and has also capably proven his acting directing skills in such flicks as The Negotiator and Law Abiding Citizen.
However the biggest feather in his cap is undoubtedly the box-office record-breaking, critically acclaimed Straight Outta Compton which has Gray currently riding high on a major wave of popularity. And of course there was the fact that he’s already directed a crazy car chase heist movie in The Italian Job, though I doubt Diesel’s Dom Toretto will be giving up his beloved muscle cars for a Mini Cooper anytime soon.
Deadline and THR have since confirmed Gray’s pick, reporting that the director met with Diesel and the rest of the producers on Monday and is currently in negotiations. Gray is said to have beaten out the likes of Louis Letterier (The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk, Now You See Me) and Adam Wingard (The Guest, You’re Next). While I would have loved to see what Wingard could have brought to the franchise, especially after the throwback action movie brilliance of The Guest, I can’t really complain about Gray.
I’m pretty happy that all of this got sorted out timeously and we ended up with a solid choice. Now if only Diesel and co could make up their mind as to whether the movie is going to be Furious 8, as previously reported, or Fast 8 as Diesel refers to it. Maybe, with this being the first film in the final trilogy (in a 10-film franchise – wrap your head around that!), we’re actually going to end up with Fast 8, And 9 and Furious 10.
Last Updated: October 7, 2015