Well, Universal was expected to make an announcement this week and indeed, almost seven days since the news that Justin Lin wouldn’t be directing “Fast & Furious 7,” the studio has found their man. And it’s none of the rumored Brad Furman, Harald Zwart or Jeff Wadlow.
Rather surprisingly, it’s low budget horror sensation James Wan — “Saw,” “Insidious” and this summer’s “The Conjuring” — who has landed the job. Deadline reveals that Universal has actually known Lin wouldn’t be back since Sundance, and so they’ve been considering a number of options including the aforementioned Zwart and Wadlow, along with Baltasar Kormakur (“Contraband,” the upcoming “2 Guns“). But Wan is the guy they are in negotiations with, and it’s intriguing to say the least.
It will be the first time the helmer has worked with a budget that is likely going to be nine figures (you could make about eleventy billion “Insidious” movies with that kind of cash), and surely the most major set pieces he’s ever tackled. However, franchises like these have well oiled second and third units who do action stuff in their sleep, and he’ll be stepping onto a moving train, with production on ‘Furious 7’ overlapping with post-production on ‘Furious 6’ (Universal wants the sequel for next year). And with Wan’s string of hits, he certainly has an idea as to what will thrill audiences. And really, does it matter who’s directing at this point?
Curiously, Deadline notes that while Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are expected back, Dwayne Johnson isn’t a sure thing (yet). Memo to filmmakers: you don’t want to keep Dwayne “Franchise Saver” Johnson out of your movie… No date yet for ‘Furious 7’ but you can smell the gasoline of ‘Furious 6’ on May 24th.