While directors leaving a movie before it begins filming isn’t an uncommon occurrence, it’s rare you’ll find instances where they leave in the midst of production. Arguably the biggest recent example of this was when director Justin Lin, who’d been contributing to the Fast & Furious franchise since 2006’s Tokyo Drift, left Fast X after just one week of filming. Nearly two full years after this high-profile exit from one of the biggest 2023 movie releases happened, Lin has opened up about how he feels about it.
Lin stopped by the Happy Sad Confused podcast to do a watch-along of Tokyo Drift with host Josh Horowitz. Understandably though, Horowitz inquired about Lin walking away from Fast X, which was going to be his sixth time helming a Fast & Furious movie. The filmmaker started off by saying:
Although it’s never been officially disclosed why Justin Lin walked away from Fast X, it was reported shortly thereafter that “creative differences” were the cause, specifically that Lin wasn’t getting along with franchise lead Vin Diesel. Lin’s departure happened just days after he opened up to the Dominic Toretto actor about this movie was setting up “the beginning of the epic end,” as the main Fast Saga is racing towards its conclusion. The Transporter’s Louis Leterrier ended up sitting in the Fast X director’s chair following Lin’s exit, and he’ll continue carrying out those duties for Fast & Furious 11.
Things didn’t work out for Lin on Fast X, but clearly he’s not holding any grudges, and he’s also fine with his Fast & Furious movies being the most prominent entries on his resume. And while his time with this blockbuster franchise is done, he nonetheless thinks too much attention was pointed to his exit, as well as noted that he continued to be supportive to those who kept working on the movie:
Justin Lin is still credited as a writer and producer on Fast X, but because of his departure, that means F9 remains the last movie he directed. However, he has some big movies coming up. In June 2022, it was announced that he’s directing and producing a film adaptation of the popular anime One-Punch Man, though it was clarified by February 2023 that he would make The Last Days of John Allen Chau first. Then this past December, word came in that he’ll work with Daniel Craig and Charlize Theron on a heist thriller called Two for the Money.
The point being, we can expect more great things from Justin Lin going forward, and meanwhile he’ll keep cheering on the Fast & Furious film series as it continues down this final lap. Fast X can be streamed with a Peacock subscription now, and Fast & Furious 11 races into theaters on April 4, 2025.