The drama around the production of Fast X is continuing to build, and a new report claims to have insight on why director Justin Lin left the project.
Of the nine previous films in The Fast Saga, Lin served as the director on five, starting with The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in 2006. After that, Lin sat in the director’s chair for 2009’s Fast & Furious, its two follow-ups Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6, and then most recently last year’s F9: The Fast Saga. It came as no surprise that Lin was set to direct the 10th and 11th installments of the franchise, which are planned to serve as the final films of the saga.
What was shocking, however, was Lin’s decision to step away from Fast X, which may have been due to the film’s lead.
DID VIN DIESEL CAUSE JUSTIN LIN TO LEAVE FAST X?
The NY Daily News reports that a source with knowledge of the situation says the “difficult” behavior of Vin Diesel is primarily to blame for Lin choosing to not continue with Fast X. Diesel was allegedly showing up late to set without knowing his lines, and was too out of shape to play action hero Dom Toretto.
The specifics of Lin’s departure are only speculation at this point, as this is what the director had to say in a statement about leaving the film:
With the support of Universal, I have made the difficult decision to step back as director of Fast X, while remaining with the project as a producer. Over 10 years and five films, we have been able to shoot the best actors, the best stunts, and the best damn car chases. On a personal note, as the child of Asian immigrants, I am proud of helping to build the most diverse franchise in movie history. I will forever be grateful to the amazing cast, crew and studio for their support, and for welcoming me into the Fast family.
It’s a respectful parting message from Lin, but one has to wonder if the director was truly driven to the breaking point by Diesel. It wouldn’t be the first time the Fast & Furious star has clashed with someone on set, as a very public rivalry with Dwayne Johnson caused “The Rock” to step away from the main franchise after The Fate of the Furious in 2017. Johnson did receive a spinoff with Jason Statham with 2019’s Hobbs & Shaw, but Diesel was nowhere to be found throughout the film.
Regardless of the exact reasoning behind Lin leaving Fast X, the directorial change immediately put the production behind the eight ball right after principal photography began. After a few days in limbo, Louis Leterrier was announced to be taking the reigns from Lin. Leterrier’s past experience includes the first two Transporter movies and the early days MCU entry The Incredible Hulk, but a film like Fast X is on a much larger scale than anything the French director has undertaken. Add in the pressure of winding down a franchise that’s been around for more than two decades, and it’s going to be quite an uphill battle for Leterrier.
As of now, Universal is still planning to release Fast X on May 19, 2023. Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, and Jordana Brewster are set to return to The Fast Saga alongside Diesel. New additions to the cast include Jason Momoa, Brie Larson, and Daniela Melchior of The Suicide Squad, all in undisclosed roles.
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Source: NY Daily News