Louis Leterrier (“The Incredible Hulk,” the first two “Transporter” films) is set to take over the director’s chair on “Fast X” from Justin Lin, Variety has learned. The decision comes less than a week after Lin’s surprise departure from the helm of the 10th installment in the main “Fast and Furious” movie franchise.
Leterrier, who beat out numerous candidates for the job, per sources, is Universal picture’s first choice, and schedules are still being hammered out. He comes to the franchise with a wide array of experience in the action realm. He expanded his directing career in 2005 with two modestly budgeted action showcases for Jet Li (“Unleashed”) and Jason Statham (“Transporter 2”), and he transitioned into studio tentpoles with 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk,” 2010’s “Clash of the Titans” and 2013’s “Now You See Me.” After a box office stumble with the 2016 Sacha Baron Cohen vehicle “The Brothers Grimsby,” the French filmmaker turned to television with two hit Netflix series: 2019’s “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” and 2021’s “Lupin.” (His next feature, the French-language action film “The Takedown,” will debut on the streamer on May 6.)
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Leterrier will need to be nimble. He’s inheriting a production with just about every creative element already established by Lin, who was already a week into production when he announced his departure on April 26. Even in Lin’s absence, cameras have still been rolling: With stars like Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron and newcomer Jason Momoa already on set, Universal paused production on the main unit while the second unit continued filming in the U.K.
Dan Mazeau wrote the screenplay with Lin. Producers include Diesel, Neal Moritz, Lin, Jeff Kirschenbaum and Samantha Vincent.
Holding the main production in limbo during the director search, meanwhile, has cost Universal upwards of $600,000 to $1 million a day, according to sources from different studios with experience replacing directors midstream. On top of the financial pressures, Theron, Momoa and Brie Larson are major players in other established franchises — longer delays could have wreaked further havoc on an already complex shooting calendar.
Then there’s the wrinkle that “Fast X” was originally envisioned as the first of a two-part conclusion to the “Fast & Furious” saga. Filmmakers behind the final chapter have “contemplated” splitting the feature into two parts, a source close to the shoot said, though the production schedule at present would only accommodate the first film in a potential final pair.
Angelique Jackson contributed to this report.
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