Hollywood studios place a premium on box-office success when vetting directors, which could be why F. Gary Gray, the director of Straight Outta Compton, is being eyed to direct Furious 8. According to Variety, Universal has whittled down the shortlist to Gray, Now You See Me’s Louis LeTerrier, and Will Eubank, director of The Signal.
Given the importance of the Fast & Furious franchise, it’s not surprising that Universal is racing to find a director to keep the series moving on schedule. Upon learning that Furious 7 director James Wan would be unavailable, the studio pursued Justin Lin, the director who transformed the franchise from a simple tale of “underground street-racing knuckleheads” into a simple tale of “a knucklehead strike force no longer subject to the laws of physics.” Unfortunately, Universal tracked Lin down only to find a vacant garage and a scrawled note announcing he had departed Earth to seek out new life and new civilizations.
Presumably panicking at this point, Universal went back to Wan, offering the director a sum of money that is usually transported by muscle cars dragging a vault. But seemingly impervious to money, Wan was still unswayed. Universal now finds itself in the uncomfortable position of trying to evaluate a new batch of fresh-faced recruits before pre-production begins in October, much like Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto must reluctantly toss a set of keys to Paul Walker’s replacement before peeling out to their next heist/act of vengeance. Diesel recently used Facebook to assuage fans that producers were taking every precaution in selecting a director who might get a three-movie deal out of the gig.
Meanwhile, negotiations are closed, but presumably the three directors have been rounded up and are currently being lectured by Dom about the importance of preserving family and franchises. The rest of Dom’s crew can then size up each candidate’s proficiency in street racing, supercharging exhaust manifolds, computer hacking, Krav Maga, and giving Tyrese Gibson choice punchlines.