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‘Fast and Furious 8’ Will Be Directed by F. Gary Gray

Vin Diesel Fast and Furious 8
Universal Pictures

UPDATE: Vin Diesel posted one of his infamous Facebook updates late last night. Diesel, who promised to announce the director of Fast and Furious 8 first, posted a photo of himself sitting with director F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton), both looking happy. The photo was presented without comment, but it certainly seems like confirmation that Gray is going to be the guy to get the job. The other candidates to get the job — Louis Leterrier and Adam Wingard — met with Diesel, but did not get their own Facebook post.

UPDATE #2: The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that F. Gary Grey has entered “exclusive talks” to direct Fast and Furious 8.

With James Wan not returning to direct the next installment in the Fast and Furious franchise, Furious 8 is in desperate need of someone to sit behind the camera before Vin Diesel decides to just do the job himself. But it looks like Universal has narrowed their options down to just a few directors, each of them interesting choices in their own right.

THR reports that Universal has whittled their director shortlist down to three names: F. Gary Gray, the director behind summer breakout Straight Outta Compton; Louis Leterrier, the director of The Incredible Hulk, The Transporter and surprise hit Now You See Me; and You’re Next and The Guest director Adam Wingard, which might be the most exciting option on the list.

Gray has the benefit of having worked with Diesel in the past on the 2003 film A Man Apart, while Leterrier has the shiny blockbuster action-chops, but Wingard has yet to direct a huge blockbuster — not only would his hiring service the pre-existing studio narrative of selecting indie filmmakers for big budget films, but it would give the very talented director a chance to prove himself creatively on a much larger canvas. Wingard hasn’t had the chance to work on such a large scale, but he has so much potential, and he really knows how to craft engaging and exciting moments, and he has the rare ability to create and sustain genuine tension.

Universal took a chance on James Wan for Furious 7, with Wan largely proving his box office value previously on horror films, but the director was able to translate those particular skills to the world of Fast and Furious, and it was a risk that seriously paid off.

The choice boils down to Diesel’s approval, and each of the three directors are meeting with Diesel and Universal executives this week to see what the big guy thinks of their options. Furious 8 is currently scheduled for an April 14, 2017 release date.

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