‘Fast X’ Director Says He Rewrote Third Act on the Plane to Set: ‘I Was on Literally No Sleep’

When Louis Leterrier signed on to replace Justin Lin at the last minute, he knew his writing process would have to be... fast and furious.
"Fast X"
"Fast X"
Universal Pictures

In the “Fast and Furious” franchise, everything moves fast — even the rewrites.

The upcoming tenth film in the series, “Fast X,” underwent a famously hectic production process. Original director Justin Lin, who had directed five of the films including “F9: The Fast Saga,” left the project over creative differences after he had already started shooting. His exit was reportedly the result of disagreements with Vin Diesel and the franchise’s unique writing process that gives Diesel veto power over action scenes. Once Lin departed and “Now You See Me” director Louis Leterrier replaced him, a creative overhaul of the film was immediately set in motion.

Speaking to Variety on the red carpet of the film’s premiere, Leterrier explained he had to rewrite the entire third act of the film on his flight to the set.

“I read the script four times on the plane, and I said I had some ideas, and they said, ‘Great, because the whole third act is changing. Can you rewrite it tonight?’” Leterrier said. “I was literally on no sleep. I’d been on no sleep for days.”

Of course, it’s almost impossible to overhaul a film’s ending without making plenty of additional changes, too. Leterrier quickly realized that the third act rewrite he agreed to was going to result in an entirely new script.

“Obviously, this was not going to be set in stone,” he said. “But I was like, ‘OK, yeah, I’ve got some ideas,’ and started writing. And obviously, since the third act was changing, I needed to change the first act. And when you rewrite the third act, and the first act, the second act has to go. So basically I had to on the fly rebuild the airplane.”

That said, the director said he realized that all of the chaos was worth it when he had the surreal experience of meeting Diesel on set.

“You see this mountain of a man, bald head, muscles,” he said. “You hear the voice and he turns to you, looks you straight in the soul, and says, ‘Welcome to the family, brother.’”

“Fast X” is set to open Friday, May 19, only in theaters.

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