With two $70 million+ opening weekends to his name, courtesy of the Fast and Furious franchise, it came as a bit of a shock when director Justin Lin opted to call it quits and pass on directing the seventh installment. Back then, Lin blamed his exit on an “an aggressively accelerated timetable” that would have forced him to get working on Fast and Furious 7 while still finishing up Fast and Furious 6; however, while talking to Lin during a Google+ Hangout in honor of part six's release, Lin insinuated that this latest installment was the apex of something all along.
Said Lin: “If you watch Fast and Furious 6, you do see that it's a culmination of something and I think it's the end of a chapter.” He added, “It's something that I felt like in '05 when I pitched it, some people might have thought I was crazy. In my wildest dreams I wanted to achieve that, and now that we have, I feel like it's time to walk away.”
When you see Fast and Furious 6, you’ll understand why folks might have looked at Lin like he had two heads for suggesting they attempt some of the feats this film actually manages to pull off. And while I’m sure Lin would be capable of going even bigger for round seven, he does make a good case for moving on:
I feel like I've done everything that I wanted to do. And I understand. I mean, to walk away from everybody is a tough thing, but I think it's the right thing to do. You know, as a filmmaker I've been developing a lot of other things in the last eight years and it's time for me to keep growing and try new things, you know? So, it's just time.
Lin also pointed out that it’s highly unusual for a filmmaker to have the opportunity to step away from a franchise at its height, let alone hand it off to another capable filmmaker. A couple of weeks ago the official announcement dropped; James Wan is the man directing Fast & Furious 7 - an unusual choice, given Wan’s resume is loaded with intimate horror films (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring).
Lin admitted that he was so emotional about moving on that he didn’t even want to be part of the selection process, but noted that the news about Wan's selection did make him “very happy.” He explained, “He 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.”
As much as I’d love to see Wan turn The Conjuring into a Warren Files franchise and make more Insidious films - which he very well could - there’s an inherent curiosity and intrigue that comes with him moving into the Fast and Furious realm. Minus the fact that the scope of the Saw franchise eventually spun out of control, Wan has been particularly successful telling big stories that still feel very intimate and grounded - qualities that don’t necessarily apply to the Fast and Furious films, and somewhat appropriately so. Considering Wan’s body of work, it’s really impossible to picture Fast and Furious 7 going bigger than the sixth – and also because the sixth film features some of the franchise’s most extensive action sequences.
Without spoiling anything, a short scene does play during the Fast 6 credits and will confirm or deny those recent rumors that sprang up courtesy of Michelle Rodriguez. The short snippet reveals the trajectory of the franchise’s narrative, so soon it’ll just be a question of how Wan will handle it. Will it be more tanks, plane crashes, a flying Vin Diesel, or will we get something that adheres to Wan’s style, something that earns its thrills by leaning more so on story than visuals.
Fast & Furious 6 opens in regular and select IMAX theaters on May 24, 2013.
Fast & Furious 7 arrives in theaters on July 11, 2014.
Keep an eye out for our full coverage of the Fast & Furious 6 Google+ Hangout coming later this week.
Source: Justin Lin
Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.
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