Thanks to his work on the crowd-pleasing, $600 million grossing, smash hit that is Fast Five, director Justin Lin has become one of the most sought-after filmmakers out there. Besides his being up to direct Fast and Furious 6, Lin is also working behind-the-scenes on Terminator 5 and the Highlander remake - not to mention, he was recently shortlisted as a potential to helm Die Hard 5 as well.
Lin is now speaking out about all the aforementioned franchise titles, revealing which ones he's actually involved with - and updating their current status.
While it was never really in doubt that Lin was set to call the shots on Fast and Furious 6, he is all but officially locked for the job at this point. According to the man himself, he's reaping the benefits of Fast Five's unexpectedly massive success in more ways than just more job offers.
Here is what Lin told The Playlist:
“It’s been great after ‘Fast Five. I feel very honored to be included, and I’ve talked to a lot of different studios, and [while there are] some amazing franchises that I love... I’ve had to kind of walk away from a lot of stuff [because] I’m in a position that I can at least assess what I want to do with [the 'Fast and the Furious' franchise]. I feel like with a lot of these other franchises, it’s hard to be a director for hire... I think [a franchise has] to be built from the ground up, in a way. I think having a filmmaker approach to a franchise is the ultimate goal.”
It's partially for that reason that Lin says he has passed on the chance to direct the fifth Die Hard movie (plus, one can only handle directing so many gloriously over-the-top action film franchises at a time).
In an interview with Box Office Magazine, Lin also revealed that part of Fast and Furious 6 has already been (essentially) completed:
"I already have a 12-minute sequence done. I did it just as an exercise. I had it done before we were finished with Fast Five, actually. So I wanted to do that just to have it there and to be honest with you, I didn't know if I was going to do a Fast Six. I didn't know if people were going to embrace Fast Five and we were going to have an opportunity. But I felt like I really wanted to make sure that the last scene, which I had talked to Vin about countless times—I wanted to make sure that was done. So actually I boarded it, I pre-vised it, and I cut it. So it's funny, when we were in Atlanta shooting it, I already had the end sequence to Fast Six done. And that was what I wanted to work towards."
While Annapurna Films appears to be quite serious about moving forward with a fifth Terminator movie in the near future, Lin admits that it's mostly something he's "been having a lot of fun with" for now. He also revealed that Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't the only Terminator franchise veteran that he's been collaborating with on the project. To quote:
"Just even this week, I had a great meeting with Arnold and James Cameron, just sitting down unofficially. And James is so gracious because he’s not part of the project, he’s not going to be producing, but it was great of him just as a filmmaker to take time out to just talk... Just to be able to take James Cameron’s brain and for him to be so open even though he has no stakes in it, just as a human being, that’s something that I will always remember as a part of my journey as a filmmaker.”
Terminator 5 has reportedly yet to even reach the preliminary stages of pre-production. It may take a while to reach that point too, since Lin will be busy with Fast and Furious 6 over the next couple of years - and Schwarzenegger will first return to acting with The Last Stand.
However, one project that Lin won't be so heavily involved with now is the Highlander remake -as Heat Vision has learned he is now only attached to executive produce, but not direct, the project.
General feelings about Summit's Highlander re-working are still pretty hostile, though they've lightened a bit since it was announced that Iron Man co-writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway are penning the newest draft of the script -as opposed to Twilight franchise screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. Lin no longer being attached to direct should be welcome news for fans who felt that he just wasn't a proper fit for the fantasy series; depending on who is brought in to replace him, though, this turn of events might end up being viewed as either a good or bad thing.
Fast and Furious 6 is scheduled to race into theaters on May 24th, 2013.
We'll keep you posted on the status of both Terminator 5 and the Highlander remake.