Justin Lin announces ‘decision to step back’ from directing Fast X days after filming commenced

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Justin Lin said on Tuesday that he will not direct Fast X, the tenth installment in the Fast & Furious film series, just days after production commenced on the action film.

The 50-year-old filmmaker issued a statement on the Instagram account of the upcoming movie, which he penned the script for alongside Dan Mazeau.

‘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 said. ‘Over 10 years and five films, we have been able to shoot the best actors, the best stunts, and the best damn car chases.

The latest: Justin Lin, 50, said on Tuesday that he will not direct Fast X, the tenth installment in the Fast & Furious film series, just days after production commenced on the action film. He was snapped last June in LA at the F9 premiere 

‘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.’

Production on the film’s main unit – which began April 20 – has been put on hold amid Universal’s search for a new director, insiders told Variety, as the second unit is continuing to work on the movie.

Lin last June spoke with Variety about finishing off the film franchise with the tenth and eleventh films, recalling how he ‘used to sit around’ and talk with Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker about the creative direction the film franchise would take at its conclusion.

‘I thought it was just an exercise, I never thought we were able to ever realize it – so it was very much in theory,’ he said. ‘Then when I came back Vin pulled me aside and said, “We’re doing it.” So, in a way it felt like F9 is about celebrating 20 years of this journey, but also just pointing it into this last chapter that we’ve been talking about for years.’

The filmmaker issued a statement regarding his status on the Instagram account of the upcoming movie

The filmmaker issued a statement regarding his status on the Instagram account of the upcoming movie 

Lin was seen on the set of F9 working alongside director of photography Stephen F. Windon

Lin was seen on the set of F9 working alongside director of photography Stephen F. Windon

Lin had been in the director’s chair for five of the films: 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, 2009’s Fast & Furious, 2011’s Fast Five, 2013’s Fast & Furious 6 and last year’s F9.

Fast X features mainstays such as Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Ludacris, Jordana Brewster, Charlize Theron and Nathalie Emmanuel. Notable additions to the cast include Jason Momoa, Brie Larson, Daniela Melchior and Michael Rooker. Musical superstar Cardi B, who made a brief appearance in F9, is also slated to appear in the movie.

Notably absent from the cast is Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who has played Luke Hobbs in multiple films in the franchise.

Diesel attempted to recruit Johnson to appear in the film by taking to social media last November in hopes of persuading him to reprise his role of Hobbs.

‘My little brother Dwayne… the time has come,’ Diesel said. ‘As you know, my children refer to you as Uncle Dwayne in my house. There is not a holiday that goes by that they and you don’t send well wishes… but the time has come. Legacy awaits.’

The long-running film franchise is centered around Vin Diesel, who plays the role of Dominic Toretto

The long-running film franchise is centered around Vin Diesel, who plays the role of Dominic Toretto

Diesel and Dwayne Johnson (pictured in 2011's Fast & Furious 5) have had a long-running rift stemming from their work on the films

Diesel and Dwayne Johnson (pictured in 2011’s Fast & Furious 5) have had a long-running rift stemming from their work on the films 

Diesel said he ‘was going to fulfill [his] promise’ to the late Walker, adding, ‘I say this out of love… but you must show up, do not leave the franchise idle you have a very important role to play. Hobbs can’t be played by no other. I hope that you rise to the occasion and fulfill your destiny.’

Johnson, speaking with CNN in December, reiterated ‘there was no chance [he] would return’ and said that he was ‘very surprised’ after Diesel went public with his plea after they had ‘came to a clear understanding’ months before that he wasn’t going to come back to the film franchise.

‘Vin’s recent public post was an example of his manipulation,’ Johnson said, adding he ‘didn’t like that he brought up his children in the post, as well as Paul Walker’s death,’ adding, ‘Leave them out of it.’

The rift between Johnson and Diesel went public in 2016 when Johnson wrote on Instagram, ‘Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don’t. The ones that don’t are too chicken s*** to do anything about it anyway. Candy a**es.’

Diesel told Men’s Health last year that he ‘could give a lot of tough love’ while working with Johnson on the action films: ‘Not Felliniesque, but I would do anything I’d have to do in order to get performances in anything I’m producing.’

In response, Johnson told Vanity Fair, ‘One part of me feels like there’s no way I would dignify any of that bull**** with an answer. I’ve been around the block a lot of times. Unlike [Diesel], I did not come from the world of theater. And, you know, I came up differently and was raised differently.’

Johnson said he ‘came from a completely different culture and environment’ and ventures ‘into every project giving it [his] all.

‘And if I feel that there’s some things that need to be squared away and handled and taken care of, then I do it. And it’s just that simple. So when I read that, just like everybody else, I laughed. I laughed hard. We all laughed. And somewhere I’m sure Fellini is laughing too.’

The film is slated to arrive in theaters May 19, 2023.



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