The next Fast and the Furious movie hit a major setback this week when Justin Lin, who has helmed five of the franchise’s nine installments thus far, decided to step down from helming the latest installment Fast X due to creative differences. But leaving a multi-million franchise days into production has put Universal Studios in an unenviable position of finding a replacement in time to make their planned May 19, 2023 theatrical release date.
Justin Lin’s exit from Fast X leaves insane impact on Universal Studios as the production shutdown could cost between $600,000 to $1 million per day
As Variety reports, the biggest challenge facing production is time. The second unit will reportedly continue production in the U.K., while the main unit is paused until a replacement director is hired. Until then, the production is burning through cash to keep key crew and cast members in limbo. Sources from different studios with experience replacing directors midstream estimated that it could be costing Universal upwards of $600,000 to $1 million a day. Much of the cost depends on whether production on any major set-pieces were already underway, the bigger the action beats, the pricier the delay.
There’s also the matter of the franchise’s newest stars, Jason Momoa and Brie Larson, as well as Charlize Theron, who’s returning for a third appearance as the villain Cipher. As the outlet notes, all three are dedicated to ongoing franchises that require their time and attention, so delays could necessitate some hasty, and costly, changes to accommodate their busy schedules. Just five days ago, Vin Diesel took to Instagram to share a video he took with helmer Justin Lin on the set of Fast X. They had just finished their first week of production on the film. In the 19-second clip, Diesel asks the film’s then director and co-writer how he’s feeling at the end of the first week of production. “It feels like the beginning of, uh, of an epic ending,” Lin said flatly.
Just four days later, the 50-year-old filmmaker announced that he would no longer direct the movie. “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,” Lin wrote in a statement announcing his exit. “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.”
The specific reason for Lin’s shocking exit has not been announced, nor has a replacement for Lin as director, though individuals with knowledge of the situation say creative differences were in play. Lin previously directed The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6. He returned to the #family for last year’s F9 and was supposed to direct both the 10th film and the 11th, final installment of the series.
Fast X will see the return of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Michael Rooker, and Charlize Theron with newcomers including Jason Momoa, Daniela Melchior, and Brie Larson.
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