Insider sources claim a major disagreement with Vin Diesel led to director Justin Lin exiting Fast X to preserve his mental health.
New insider information has shined more light on how Vin Diesel’s behavior led director Justin Lin to walk away from Fast X.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke to multiple industry insiders and those on the ground with the production of the latest fast film. All involved made it clear that Diesel’s behavior as a star and producer on the film proved too much for Lin. While the conflict was brewing for months, things finally reached a breaking point after a meeting on April 23, where Diesel presented new notes on the script, ended with a slammed door. “Justin finally had enough and said, ‘This movie is not worth my mental health,’” a source said.
According to the report, Lin believed the script was finalized as the team headed into production on the film. He was then met with a major location change, a writer flying out to London to polish the dialogue, and then a “major disagreement” with Diesel in the aforementioned meeting.
On April 26, Lin announced his exit from Fast X on social media. “With the support of Universal, I have made the difficult decision to step back as director of Fast X, while remaining with the project as a producer,” Lin said in his statement. “I will forever be grateful to the amazing cast, crew and studio for their support, and for welcoming me into the Fast family.”
By May 2, however, word emerged that Diesel’s on-set behavior led to Lin’s exit, with the star reportedly arriving late to set and not knowing his lines. According to THR’s sources, Lin had enough following the meeting and Universal took him at his word. Two days later, a deal for Lin’s exit was finalized and the director publicly announced it the following day. And while all signs point to Diesel being the cause of Lin leaving, Universal maintains the director’s issue was with the studio.
“Any creative differences leading to Justin Lin’s exit were with the studio, not with fellow producers, cast or crew,” Universal said in a statement. But insiders paint a different picture, one of Diesel being an increasingly difficult person to work with not only as the star of the franchise but its key producer, shaping major creative decisions and constantly changing his mind on action set pieces. “The whole process is a mosaic that never stops moving,” an insider said.
Lin has successfully worked on prior installments in the franchise, including 2021’s F9. And walking away from the upcoming movie, which is meant as part one of a two-part finale for the main series, means losing out on an estimated $10-15 million payday. Now, another director has the opportunity to step behind the camera, but industry insiders say the prospect isn’t that appealing.
“You need someone who can play ball with the studio, Vin and the actors,” an agency partner said. “You can maybe count on two hands filmmakers that can take on this challenge. Most filmmakers will file this under “Life’s too short.’”
Universal is scrambling to find a replacement, with the loss of Lin reportedly costing the paused production a million dollars a day. The studio attempted to bring back former directors like F. Gary Gray and James Wan, but both are in the midst of making other films. Currently, The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans director Louis Letterier is poised to replace Lin, with a deal in the works for him to take over ASAP. With any luck, he’ll be able to get things back on track.
Fast X is scheduled to hit theaters May 19, 2023.