Having amassed a dedicated fan base through horror films like Saw, Insidious, and now The Conjuring, when word got out that Justin Lin would be passing the Fast & Furious torch to James Wan, it was a shock to say the least. However, it turns out, Wan hoped to direct a big budget, studio film all along.
While talking to producer Jason Blum about his latest release, the James Wan-directed Insidious: Chapter 2, Blum offered his thoughts on Wan’s genre shift and the part he played in making it happen.
"When we first did Insidious, James said to me, ‘You know, my dream is to do a big, huge studio movie,’ on the first Insidious. And so when we were doing Insidious 2, I had conversations with my colleagues at Universal about him doing the movie and I advocated it for him, a lot, because of what I just said, because I think he really is firing on all cylinders and I think he’s a really, really talented guy."
As someone who admires Wan’s work and is very thankful for it, it’s impossible not to be thrilled that his dream is coming true. Plus, Blum has a point; Wan is incredibly talented so why wouldn't he be an optimal choice for the gig? Just before the release of Fast and Furious 6 in May, Lin even noted, "[James] comes from indie roots and he’s a filmmaker that has a point of view. And I can’t wait to see what he’s gonna be doing with this franchise."
Between his body of work and the fact that his colleagues sing his praises, hopes are high for Fast & Furious 7, but that still doesn't assuage concerns over Wan leaving the genre, even if it’s just for the time being. Look at the 2013 wide release schedule; The Conjuring is above and beyond all other horror films that have dropped thus far. And back in 2011? It was all about Insidious.
With Fast & Furious 7 due out on July 11, 2014, that means Wan likely won’t be able to get working on another horror film until then and that means we will not get a James Wan-directed release in theaters until mid-2015 at the earliest. And that’s assuming Wan doesn't continue on with the Fast & Furious franchise and/or opt to continue to explore different types of material.
Fortunately, Blum doesn't think Wan will keep clear of horror from now on and expects him to return and make even better horror films thanks to the expanded repertoire.
"I jump around. I do a lot of horror movies, but I do other kinds of movies, too. I think the horror movies that he makes next and certainly the ones that I make are better for working on other genres. So I understand that you would be sad, but I think he says he’s not gonna make another horror movie, but I’m sure that he will and it will be even better for having done Fast and Furious."
That undoubtedly would be the best possible arrangement for everyone, so hopefully Blum’s words ring true soon. In the meantime, keep an eye out for our full chat with Blum closer to the release of Insidious: Chapter 2 on Friday, September 13.
Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.