Shortly after steering Universal’s Fast and Furious franchise to an entirely new level of box office stardom, director James Wan parted ways with the Toretto crew to revisit his horror roots with The Conjuring 2. That film just entered production – after a real-life exorcist visited and blessed the set, no less – but it’s a different story when it comes to Universal’s Furious 8.
At least, that’s according to a piece published today by The Hollywood Reporter, suggesting that the next installment in the studio’s lucrative series is spinning its wheels as the search for a director lingers on. The release of the film is still more than a year-and-a-half away, though with Chris Morgan nearing completion on the sequel’s script, Universal is on borrowed time to fill the director’s chair.
Following the tragic death of series stalwart Paul Walker, Furious 7 proved to be an arduous shoot for James Wan and everyone involved for more reasons than one, as it meant the creative team changing gears mid-shoot to accommodate the abrupt change of circumstances. As a result, while Wan had been in contention to direct both Furious 8 and Furious 9, the studio had no qualms with letting the horror maestro take an indefinite hiatus from the Fast and Furious series.
But according to THR, searching for a director isn’t the only issue left facing Universal, as sources claim Vin Diesel has proven to be more of a hindrance as the franchise has worn on.
“Sources say Diesel proved extraordinarily difficult. As a producer, he is said to have questioned even small details on elaborate action sequences, often holding up the complex production. He also was known to summon filmmakers to repeated late-night script sessions to make him comfortable with his character and dialogue.”
It’s important to note that neither Diesel nor Wan have released an official statement in response of today’s claims; moreover, it seems a little bizarre that the actor would be staging late-night script sessions to discuss his own dialogue, considering Diesel’s reticent, gruff turn as Dominic Toretto.
Producer Neal Moritz rubbished talk of on-set tension, however, stating that “obviously if there was any issue, we wouldn’t be making the eighth [film] with [Diesel] right now.”
Currently, Universal has pegged Furious 8 for a release on April 14, 2017. But what of these reports? Indeed, could it spawn a scenario where Vin Diesel takes the reins as director? Stay tuned for more.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter