Longtime “Fast” franchise helmed Lin abruptly announced his exit from the 10th film, “Fast X,” last week, mere days into the start of production. While he insisted the exit was amicable, a new report out of The Hollywood Reporter tells a different story. Allegedly, a “major disagreement” with lead star Diesel led Lin to throw in the towel on April 23.
According to THR sources, Lin, Diesel, and two executives met to discuss Diesel’s new notes for the script. Universal Pictures had also sent a writer to London, where “Fast X” is shooting, to “polish dialogue” on set.
“Justin finally had enough and said, ‘This movie is not worth my mental health,'” one insider told THR.
Insiders say that, per an “unorthodox” writing process, Vin Diesel allegedly gets to veto action scenes from writers, leaving the director to figure out how they best fit together.
“The whole process is a mosaic that never stops moving,” a source who has been close to the making of several “Fast” movies said.
A Universal spokesperson told THR that “any creative differences leading to Justin Lin’s exit were with the studio, not with fellow producers, cast or crew.”
IndieWire has reached out to Universal for comment.
On April 25, two days after the director’s exit, Lin and Universal had reportedly reached a settlement to keep him on as a producer. Per THR, returning crew members loyal to the director stayed on the “Fast X” production after Lin “gave his blessing.” Production was reported to be losing upwards of $1 million a day amid the search for a new director, with Diesel allegedly being tasked to find Lin’s replacement.
“Transporter” and “Lupin” director Louis Leterrier was announced on Monday as the new “Fast X” director. According to an insider, Leterrier had been previously in conversations to direct a “Fast” movie due to his “experience and interest” prior to now helming the 10th film.
This isn’t the first allegation of a difficult work environment with Diesel. Dwayne Johnson and Diesel famously butted heads during “The Fate of the Furious” in 2016. While Johnson’s character Luke Hobbs landed the spin-off “Hobbs and Shaw,” Johnson shut down Diesel’s social media invitation to co-star in “Fast X.”
As THR reported, Diesel had “become his own personality to be reckoned with” and the “dominant force” on set.
“Fast and Furious” is the largest franchise in Universal Pictures’ history, with films grossing close to $6 billion theatrically. Sources told THR that the budget for “Fast X” was over $300 million without marketing or publicity spending. That includes major money reportedly coming Vin Diesel’s way, as well as big paychecks for Charlize Theron, newcomers Jason Momoa and Brie Larson, and “Fast” veterans Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, and Tyrese Gibson.
“Over $100 million of that is for above-the-line costs, which have ballooned over the years and see the studio juggling high seven- and eight-figure salaries for actors,” THR reported. “All those figures pale in comparison to the fees coming Diesel’s way.”
The film is set to be released on May 19, 2023.