The Fast family doesn't always ride or die: Fast & Furious franchise filmmaker Justin Lin reportedly dropped out of directing Fast X because of "difficult" star and producer Vin Diesel. Lin, who directed five Fast films including last summer's F9, announced he "made the difficult decision to step back" from the driver's seat just days after the sequel started production on April 20. Lin co-wrote the film with screenwriter Dan Mazeau and will stay on as a producer of the 10th Fast installment, racing into theaters on May 19, 2023, from Universal Pictures.
Richard Johnson of NY Daily News reports Lin quit as director of Fast X because Diesel is "so difficult," according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
"I've never seen anything like it. Lin's giving up $10 or $20 million [as director]," a veteran producer not involved with Fast & Furious told the Daily News. According to the source, "Diesel shows up late to the set. He doesn't know his lines. And he shows up out of shape."
Lin appeared uncomfortable in a video Diesel posted to Instagram just days before the Fast Five filmmaker stepped away from Fast X.
"Week one. Just finished week one," Lin said in Diesel's selfie video. When the Dominic Toretto actor asked Lin how it feels, the director responded, "It feels like the beginning of, uh, of an epic ending." Asked if it was "fair to say this is going to be the best" Fast & Furious movie, Lin answered, "In my heart, yes."
The search for a new director, which is said to cost Universal upwards of $600,000 to $1 million per day, includes The Fate of the Furious filmmaker F. Gary Gray and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw filmmaker David Leitch, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"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 in an April 26 statement. "Over 10 years and five films, we have been able to shoot the best actors, the best stunts, and the best damn car chases. 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."
Diesel returns for the sequel alongside franchise co-stars Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Charlize Theron, and is joined by Fast newcomers Jason Momoa and Brie Larson. Fast X opens in theaters on May 19, 2023.