Justin Lin quit directing Fast X because Vin Diesel was difficult, kept changing script

It turns out that what many suspected is true: Vin Diesel is the reason that Justin Lin quit 10 days into filming of Fast X. Justin directed five of the franchise’s nine films, including the most recent movie. He was supposed to direct the final two films of the franchise, but abruptly quit due to difficulties with Vin.

Like The Rock alluded to in his past shade, Vin was apparently difficult on set in the expected ways: he showed up late and didn’t know his lines. But, as a producer Vin also had a lot of say in the script. I wrote last week: “Not saying this specific incident had anything to do with this latest news, but just last week Vin posted about issues he had with an early draft of the script so maybe something similar boiled over.” And it seems like that’s pretty much what happened.

Justin Lin quit as director of “Fast 10″ because star Vin Diesel is so difficult, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Though filming had already begun, Lin, who directed five of the “Fast & Furious” films, abruptly quit last week without explaining why and without a replacement.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. Lin’s giving up $10 or $20 million,” one veteran producer who is not involved in his film said.

“Diesel shows up late to the set. He doesn’t know his lines. And he shows up out of shape,” my source tells me.

A spokesman for Lin had no comment and a rep for Diesel did not get back to the Daily News with a comment.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson quit five years ago, after making four “Fast & Furious” movies with Diesel.

“Some conduct themselves as stand-up men and true professionals, while others don’t,” he said at that time.

“The ones that don’t are too chickens— to do anything about it anyway. Candya–es.”

Instead, Johnson starred with Jason Statham in the spinoff, “Hobbs & Shaw.”

“No one is dissing Vin Diesel on the record, but everyone knows,” said my source.

Diesel’s silent co-stars include Jason Momoa, who plays the villain, plus Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Charlize Theron and Brie Larson.

Variety reports the search for a new director could be costing Universal $600,000 to $1 million per day, as it pays to keep key crew and cast members in limbo.

[From The NY Daily News]

The Hollywood Reporter had further details on the conflict between Vin and Justin, including a timeline. The script was, in fact, the breaking point. Justin handled the writing and believed it was final going into filming, but the studio still planned to send a writer to set to polish up some dialogue. And Vin constantly had notes. Things boiled over on April 23, when a meeting where Vin had new notes turned into a “major disagreement” that “ended with a slammed door.” After that, Justin was done, saying the movie wasn’t worth his mental health, and by April 25th he’d reached a settlement with the studio to exit production. He’s likely losing a lot of money by exiting, but like he said, it’s not worth his mental health. It’s been frequently reported that Justin will remain as a producer, but Lainey Gossip pointed out that likely refers to the extensive development and pre-production work he put into the movie. Also notable: THR says that a lot of the crew worked with Justin on F9 and wondered if they should leave too, but he gave his blessing for them to stay. It’s a small point in the story, but I think that speaks to set conditions, allegiances, and Justin’s character.

The way the script writing process is described in the THR article sounds incredibly frustrating and that probably accounts for more of the conflict with Vin than him showing up late. Apparently Vin had a lot of say in the script, which was unusual, and it was constantly changing up until the last minute. “Insiders say writers would pen action sequences and Diesel would say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to them, leaving to the director the job of making them fit. Or not, if Diesel changed his mind.” Basically, he thought he could do the writers’ job better than they could. But there was also a lot of pressure from the studio with F9 failing to meet expectations due to its pandemic release. The THR story goes into way more detail, but the sense I’m getting is definitely that Vin was the main issue and breaking point for Justin, but the studio didn’t make things any easier. No one is talking from either Justin’s or Vin’s respective camps. “A Universal spokesperson told THR: ‘Any creative differences leading to Justin Lin’s exit were with the studio, not with fellow producers, cast or crew.’” Universal has found a new director: Louis Leterrier, who has the right experience from Clash of the Titans and the Transporter movies.

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21 Responses to “Justin Lin quit directing Fast X because Vin Diesel was difficult, kept changing script”

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  1. Noki says:

    For a guy that is really a one trick pony you would think he would play nice. What is he going to do after F&F is done with a terrible reputation!?

    • ThatsNotOkay says:

      What every one-trick pony does when his movie franchise ends….

      Take it to TV!

    • Same says:

      While they certainly aren’t Oscar bait — Vin Diesel is the face of the FF franchise obviously, the Chronicles of Riddick and Xander Cage, he has an extensive IMDB.

      Is he a great A list thespian? No more so than my cat, but he is hardly a one trick pony and has a pretty solid career spanning decades.

      and Groot…

      • But it does not matter if he has an extensive IMDB if he is getting HARDER to work with (And he’s never been easy-I know from people he’s a complete jerk). Studios don’t mess with people who mess up schedules and cost them money. He’s not going to get work if he keeps this up. You can be Marlon freaking Brando and they wont put with this behavior, and he’s no Marlon Brando. They can find a MILLION VIn Diesels-Hell, I bet his body double is more charming and in better shape then he is.

      • Steph says:

        The thing is, Vin doesn’t get work, he creates it. Like, he isn’t going out on auditions, he’s creating the projects himself. He actually has a lot of leverage to work with. I’m glad Justin stood up to him though.

      • @steph

        I get that he is producing his own stuff but no one will finance it if he acts this way and gets a reputation for costing more money then he’s bringing in It’s just not worth the money for the studios or private investors to deal with a pain in the ass, and they won’t. His movies are going to get smaller and smaller, less distribution, all of it, if he keeps this up. Some people get so high on their own ego they don’t see that Hollywood does not necessarily need them as much as they need it, and act accordingly to keep the work coming.

      • Same says:

        Um — I just commented that he is far from a one trick pony . To the other point , yes, he has created his career and vehicles to promote himself and really doesn’t seem all that dependent on traditional Hollywood.

        I doubt he has a lot to worry about being labeled difficult —- it isn’t like he’s a woman

    • Margot says:

      Right?! You would think he would try to ingratiate himself, but maybe I am coming at this from an old fashioned and feminine perspective.

  2. Jay says:

    Just thinking about how terrible you have to be as a male actor to get the “difficult” label – it’s probably so much worse than we know.

    Sounds like Lin was justified in quitting. He might be giving up a lot in terms of his director salary, but he’s made millions already and still gets a cut as producer.

    There’s no way Vin gets cut, right?


    • FeministYeah says:

      Oh god, you’re absolutely right, I completely forgot! If it takes decades for the Bales or the Wahlbergs to even get the faintest whispers of truth narrated about’em… This roll-on deodorant must be the absolute fucking worst.

      • Mrs.Krabapple says:

        Or Paul Walker hooking up with a 16-year old (when he was 33), which wasn’t even the first time he dated a girl of 16, and the age of consent in California is 18. I know he’s dead, and he’s very popular, but that doesn’t erase what he did. Except, it’s Hollywood, so . . . I guess it IS ok?

  3. Eurydice says:

    What strikes me is that Lin was able to get through 5 other movies with Vin Diesel – this last straw must have been a lot bigger than usual.

    • Rapunzel says:

      Exactly my thought. I’m guessing as the end of the franchise is near, Lin wanted to maybe kill off a character and Vin went on a rampage to protect his “family”🤮

      I loathe what the F&F franchise has become since Paul Walker died.

      • Josephine says:

        The movies make tons of money and the cast is very diverse. I can’t think of a long-running franchise that is as diverse. I have no doubt that Vin Diesel is really hard to work with and they are not my kind of movie, but somehow the franchise is still going, and I can appreciate that fact.

  4. TheOriginalMia says:

    Vin talked about how this script left Mia (Jordana Brewster) out. Vin is protective of his familia, so I can see conflict over a script that excluded her. And like them or not, these films have made ridiculous amounts of money due to Vin’s (and Paul’s) vision and commitment. Justin & Vin will all be fine.

  5. SpankyB says:

    I’m here for Justin’s adorable son in his casual suit. That kid is going to be a slayer.

  6. FeministYeah says:

    I truly wonder what is it about his behavior that finally got people talking xD
    Can’t stand these idiotic movies, and it makes me sad for the state of global consciousness that they’re so goddamn popular.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      Yes, I know. Do people actually find them entertaining? Why am I asking that!! We have millions of people who think that the coronavirus is simply a “cold” and they stormed the Capital!! Silly me!!