Justin Lin Bails on Fast and Furious Franchise – Here Are 5 Directors Who Could Replace Him

By April 4, 2013
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It’s a sad day for fans of muscle cars, crazy chases, elaborate international heists, sweaty dudes fighting each other, and ridiculous action sequences, because The Hollywood Reporter just dropped the bomb that director Justin Lin will not be coming back to direct Fast and Furious 7. Lin – who has helmed the four most recent entries in the franchise (The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious, Fast Five and the upcoming Fast & Furious 6) – is still in post-production on Fast & Furious 6, but Universal wants another sequel to hit theaters in the summer of 2014, which would give him less than a year to work on it from start to finish.

I’m a huge fan of what Lin has done with the series over the past few years so I’m sad to see him go, but I appreciate the fact that he doesn’t want to compromise his artistic integrity in order to meet a pre-established release date. (If only he had just a little more juice in the industry, he could convince the studio to bump the date back to give him more time to finish. Oh well.) But as usual, money talks and the studio is moving ahead with Fast Seven; rumor has it a replacement director could be named as soon as next week. With that in mind, allow us to offer up five suggestions of who could take the franchise and run with it now that Lin has hit the brakes.

Joe Carnahan

Carnahan has proven himself a competent action director over the years with films like The A-Team, The Grey, and Smokin’ Aces, and he’d be a great fit for the kind of high-energy propulsion of the Fast and Furious movies. He’s a director with a very specific vision and someone who isn’t afraid to stand up to the powers that be, much like Dom Toretto and his gang of outlaws when they get behind the wheel. Carnahan’s slick work on a BMW short film called Ticker a few years back is also a good test reel for the kind of action we could see if he takes over for Lin.

John Woo

The master of Hong Kong action cinema, Woo remains an influence for many action directors working in the industry today. So why not get the man himself to direct the next Fast flick? He clearly knows how to jump into the middle of an ongoing franchise (see: Mission: Impossible 2), and the beauty with which he often composes his shots seems perfectly suited to the wild locations and crazy stunts of this franchise. Coincidentally, Woo also directed a short film in the same BMW series as Carnahan called Hostage, which is pretty excellent, so we know he knows his way around a chase sequence.

Christopher Nolan

Sure, this one is stretching a bit. Nolan is off doing his own original projects now that he’s wrapped up his own take on the Batman series. But can you imagine how insane it would be if he stepped in to take over here? Think about how cool Nolan could make Paul Walker and Vin Diesel look. And I feel like Dwayne Johnson working with Nolan is an inevitability, so we might as well speed the process along. (Also, I can see the trailer for a Nolan-directed Fast Seven in my head, and it’s blowing my freakin’ mind. BRAHHHM.)

Kathryn Bigelow

I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed, but the original The Fast and The Furious is a beat-by-beat rip-off of Bigelow’s action masterpiece Point Break. Trade Keanu for Paul Walker, Swayze for Vin Diesel, and surfing for the underground racing circuit, and boom – you’ve got yourself a remake. Following up her in depth look at the hunt for Bin Laden with Zero Dark Thirty (which was all but shut out at the Oscars), maybe it’s time for Bigelow to return to her roots. And it’d be totally cool  with me if she wanted to recreate that skydiving scene in the new Fast movie.

Neveldine/Taylor

Who says Marvel is the only studio that gets to do crossovers? Let’s have the guys behind the Crank films get Jason Statham’s Chev Chelios character mixed in with Brian, Dom, and the gang for a Crank 3/Fast Seven crossover. Let’s face it: both franchises are heading toward doing something bonkers like that anyway. Neveldine/Taylor have such a balls-out, gritty directing style that would totally change the look of this film series, but maybe that would be good for it after having the same kind of visual sense for four movies in a row.

Who would you like to see take over the directing duties on the Fast and Furious franchise?

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at ScreenRant.com, FirstShowing.net, MySpace.com, GeekTyrant.com, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.