11 items from 2013
Although he didn't come aboard the franchise until the third entry, 2006's The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift , director Justin Lin's impact on the film series is nothing short of incredible, expanding the scope and mythology of the franchise into the kind of action ensemble fans are anxious to experience again with Fast & Furious 6 (which, as you'll learn by reading on, isn't actually the film's title). In 2002, Lin made his feature film debut with Better Luck Tomorrow , an independent drama that examined the lives of Asian-American high school students. That film, which also featured Sung Kang's first leading role, has now retroactively become a Fast & Furious prequel of sorts. As he explains below, Lin decided to make Kang's Tokyo Drift character, Han, a subtle »
That increasingly rare Hollywood franchise in which the heroes sport street clothes instead of spandex, Universal’s “Fast and Furious” shifts into sixth gear with few evident signs of engine wear. Mounted on an even larger scale than 2011’s epic (and massively profitable) “Fast Five,” this series swan song for helmer Justin Lin (on board since 2006’s “Tokyo Drift”) ups its own ante on balletic vehicular mayhem and international intrigue, while mending some loose narrative ends and unfurling others. Faithful fans and passersby alike should be more than pleased by this superior piece of classical action craftsmanship, which looks to meet or exceed its predecessor’s nitrous-boosted $626 million global take.
Arriving three months after the misbegotten “A Good Day to Die Hard,” “Fast & Furious 6” (or merely “Furious 6,” as its official title card reads) offers an object lesson in how to keep a leggy saga alive and relevant without losing sight »
- Scott Foundas
When it comes to Universal’s “The Fast and the Furious” franchise, the cars have been as much of a star attraction as the actors behind the wheel.
That comes with the territory when your films are based around the culture of street racing.
But instead of the typical Hollywood car chase line up of foreign luxury or exotic sports cars, the “Fast” films have put the spotlight on American muscle cars of the 1960s and ’70s.
Dodge in particular has benefitted from the series’ success and is again prominently featured in “Fast & Furious 6″, which races into theaters on May 24.
The automaker has appeared in the franchise since its 2001 debut and has used the series to hype its redesigned Charger and Challenger nameplates. Vin Diesel’s glossy black 1969 Charger, nicknamed “the Judge,” serves as the series’ signature hero car, »
- Marc Graser
Justin Lin’s feature debut as a solo helmer, “Better Luck Tomorrow,” hit Sundance in 2002. Its subject matter wasn’t too unfamiliar: a group of high-achieving Asian-American high school kids who lead parallel lives of crime.
But like many films at the festival, it drew some jeers as well as cheers. One famous jeer-and-cheer exchange involved the late, great film critic Roger Ebert.
After the film’s third screening, an audience member stood up, praised Lin & Co.’s filmmaking, but asked, “Why, with the talent up there … would you make a film so empty and amoral for Asian-Americans. . .” and asked the filmmakers why they don’t “really look inside and see what matters to you and the writers.”
Oh no he didn’t! Those remarks ignited a heated discussion between the filmmakers onstage and others in »
- Carole Horst
Hardly a low-budget actioner in 2001, when it was made for around $38 million, “The Fast and the Furious” sequels now cost Universal Pictures north of $125 million for. The sixth installment opens May 24, with a seventh to follow in 2014, and U is aiming to spin off Dwayne Johnson’s character into his own franchise.
With Justin Lin in the director’s chair, the “Fast” franchise has thrived by steering away from the first three films’ narrow focus on street racing and urban car culture in the U.S., which appealed to a limited audience, and reframing the series as stories about a close-knit team that pulls off daring heists around the world.
“At Justin’s core and what makes him a really special filmmaker, he’s always a champion of the underdogs,” says Troy Craig Poon, president of Lin’s production company, »
- Marc Graser
Imagine that you are 42 years old, your last three films earned over $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office, you have transformed a sagging franchise into a robust film series, and you are a native Mandarin speaker at a time when Hollywood is hungry to plant a flag in the Chinese market.
In short, it’s a great moment to be Justin Lin.
Yet the unassuming man who sits on a sofa in his editing suite on the Universal Studios lot on a recent afternoon might easily be mistaken for the UCLA grad student he once was rather than one of the movie industry’s prime directors. Fresh-faced and attired in a Nike golf shirt, he politely excuses the acrid aroma of fermented soybeans emanating from the take-out container on his lap.
When he first embarked on the “Fast & Furious” franchise, there were days when Lin had trouble getting past the »
- Scott Foundas
Perfect Storm has been building quietly, but look for it to break loudly in the weeks and months to come.
Justin Lin’s production company, formed in January 2012 as a joint venture with Bruno Wu’s Seven Stars Film Studio, has opened offices in Los Angeles, New York, Beijing and Shanghai.
It initially focused on film and TV, but has acquired a range of intellectual property for various media. Its prexy, Troy Craig Poon, says, “We’re evolving into a larger entertainment and media company.”
The first fruits of that evolution were streaming VOD channels in Asia. Then, last week, Danielle Woodrow was tapped to lead Perfect Storm’s Television division, which already has a first-look deal with Sony TV. In the coming weeks it will announce its development slate — those announcements savvily timed to coincide with the buzz for Fast 6, »
- David S. Cohen
First Vin Diesel got his moment in the spotlight. Then it was Paul Walker's turn. And today, the latest in the line of Fast & Furious 6 character posters has arrived online, this time delivering fans with a two-for-one special with Sung Kang and Gal Gadot getting center stage with a very cool-looking orange sports car (courtesy of Kang's Twitter feed). This will be Gadot's third time around in the franchise, having played Gisele Harabo since 2009's Fast & Furious, but the new sequel will actually be Kang's fourth time in a Fast & Furious movie, and fifth time playing Han, having first played the character in Justin Lin's 2002 film Better Luck Tomorrow. Now I find myself wondering how deep into the roster of stars these character posters are going to go. Does this mean that we can soon expect to see one featuring Dwayne Johnson and Gina Carano (perhaps standing next »
"Better Luck Tomorrow" premiered at Sundance 2002, four years before Ebert lost his voice to cancer. And the YouTube title sells it short: "Roger Ebert yelling at Sundance." But, as the clip shows at about 30 seconds in, what a voice it was. "Better Luck Tomorrow" was the solo feature-directing debut of Justin Lin, who went on to launch the "Fast & Furious" franchise. It's the story of overachieving Asian high schoolers who dabble in some seriously criminal activities. Shot at the film's third screening, a viewer takes Lin and his team to task at the Q&A: "Why, with the talent yup there and yourself, make a film so empty and amoral for Asian Americans and for Americans?" As the filmmakers struggle to find the words to form a response, Ebert stands up and leaps into the fray. "What I find very offensive and condescending about your statement is nobody would say »
- Dana Harris
Though Fast & Furious 6 doesn’t come out until next month, we’ve known for some time that Universal plans on moving forward with a seventh installment in the franchise. Fast Five director Justin Lin initially mulled over the idea of shooting Fast 6 and 7 back-to-back, but instead opted to shoot the Europe-set Fast & Furious 6 separately. Last week franchise star Vin Diesel suggested that filming on Fast & Furious 7 was set to get underway as early as this summer, and since that kind of schedule would necessitate a very quick turnaround from the cast and crew, most surmised that Lin would be returning as the director. However, today word comes that Lin has decided not to direct Fast & Furious 7 after all, which would have marked his fifth film in the series. Hit the jump for much more. Per THR, Lin informed studio execs late last night that he will not be returning »
- Adam Chitwood
Suits wraps up its second season by putting on a tuxedo.
Will Arnett has joined a comedy pilot from Raising Hope creator Greg Garcia, a move that makes Up All Night look even more doomed. The show focuses on a recent divorcee who realizes his own parents' marriage is pretty troubled.
America's Got Talent has found someone who can fill Sharon Osbourne's seat, adding Mel B (also known as Scary Spice) to the judges' table. Agt is not the former Spice Girl's first talent show job. She was a judge on the Australian X-Factor. EW also reports that NBC's summer staple might add a fourth judge to the table.
Mark Blucas has joined the cast of the drama pilot Killer Women as a DEA agent who solves crimes with Tricia Helfer's Texas Ranger. Wonder what this could mean for his Necessary Roughness gig?
What will the next »
11 items from 2013
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