Lin, a creative force behind the scenes, departed the tenth film early in production to be replaced by Louis Leterrier.
The news that Fast and Furious stalwart Justin Lin had departed the saga one week into production on the penultimate Fast film, Fast X, rocked fans of the franchise. After all, Lin was responsible for taking the franchise from its roots of street racing into heist and spy-themed action movies after taking over on the fourth installment. However, the hope was that a transition would be smooth, when replacing Lin, something which the headliner of the series confessed wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to deal with.
“It definitely wasn’t an easy time,” said the star and producer of the films, Vin Diesel, speaking to Total Film. It was reported at the time, via third-party, that a creative disagreement between Lin and Diesel was the main reason behind the director’s departure from the franchise. However, Diesel was gracious and magnanimous when discussing his feelings on Lin as a director and a man.
“There still was traces of the pandemic, and all that pressure that was put on the production,” he said. “Nothing but love for Justin, and nothing but gratitude for the work that he did to get us to that first week of filming… but sometimes you’ve got to find a way to get it done.”
Image via Universal
Louis Leterrier Was the Man for the Job
And by finding a way to get it done, the franchise moved on to Louis Leterrier, the French director who helped Jason Statham launch his career by casting him in The Transporter series, as well as working in the early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe alongside Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk. As he has previously explained, he was given extremely short notice on which to respond to the offer of taking on a mammoth task – seeing this behemoth of an action film through to completion.
I said no, I couldn’t fathom doing this. It’s just impossible. It’s just massive. Doing any movie, any TV show, anything without prep is crazy, let alone doing the biggest movie in the biggest action franchise of all time. But the opportunity was too good to pass up. So I accepted. I took a plane and landed. All this in the span of four days. It was crazy. At first, I was like, ‘OK, what did Justin do? Can I see storyboards? Can I see shot lists?’ I took it all in. And then you find your bearings, and it becomes yours. I had a short runway, but I had the best crew in the world – Justin’s crew. We were in sync from the get-go. The analogy is: when I do French shows, I’m used to driving a little Renault; and here it’s a Dodge Charger where everything is perfectly tuned. And it’s like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve never felt that power.’ It’s exciting.
Fast X is speeding into theaters on May 19th.