It was only yesterday that a reported shortlist had Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray as a frontrunner to helm Furious 8. The Incredible Hulk‘s Louis Leterrier, You’re Next‘s Adam Wingard, and The Signal‘s William Eubank were also among the top candidates for the job.
Vin Diesel consults with Universal on their decision but ultimately, he is not the one who gets to hire or fire. Despite that, he and producer Neal Mortiz have been in talks with the four choices, and it seems that they have settled on Gray. More on the story below.
The confirmation comes from THR, with Diesel posting a photo of himself and Gray sitting in front of Fast and Furious images on Facebook. The report says Gray has told the studio he’s ready to initiate negotiations for a deal. Again, no word yet on if this will just be one pic or the entire trilogy, but one would have to assume given that Gray has already worked with Diesel on A Man Apart and delivered Universal a hit movie that it would be the final three. We won’t know for sure until it is confirmed. But here is the photo that was posted on Diesel’s Facebook page.
What makes Gray a good (but also safe) pick is that not only was he behind this year’s sleeper hit Straight Outta Compton, but he also directed the action drama The Negotiator, the cult comedy Friday, and the action comedy The Italian Job. So he knows his way around the different genres having already taken on drama, action, and comedy.
With Universal unable to get Wan to sign on to direct Furious 8, and couldn’t lure Justin Lin to direct the final films, it was evident that the studio needed to find someone to helm their successful franchise. Rumors floated around that Diesel could be in the running to direct the film, but the actor quickly dispelled them saying that he wasn’t interested in the job. The pick also goes a bit against the recent trend of studios choosing smaller lesser known directors to helm big budget projects. Wan was known more for his horror than anything else, and wasn’t exactly a household name.
But now that a director has been chosen, it looks like the studio can start filming soon to make its April 14, 2017 release. We’ll keep you posted on any new developments.
[Source: THR | Vin Diesel]