Yesterday, a report surfaced that Universal Pictures has narrowed its Fast & Furious 8 director search down to four candidates, F. Gary Gray, Adam Wingard, Louis Leterrier and William Eubank. While principal photography on Fast & Furious 8 isn't expected to begin until next spring, pre-production is slated to begin at the end of this month, and the studio was expected to make their decision very quickly. Variety reports that F. Gary Gray has been selected to take the helm, and while Universal hasn't confirmed the report, star-producer Vin Diesel posted a photo of himself and the filmmaker on his Facebook page.
This news comes less than a week after Vin Diesel himself said that he wants Rob Cohen, who directed the first movie in the franchise, 2001's The Fast and the Furious, to come back for Fast & Furious 8. The actor said that his late co-star Paul Walker always wanted him to come back to direct one more move in the lucrative franchise. Vin Diesel has previously said that this year's blockbuster Furious 7, which took in over $1.5 billion worldwide, would start a new trilogy, and that Fast & Furious 8 will be set in New York City.
Vin Diesel also said that the screenwriter, who has not been identified yet, will hopefully deliver a script within the next two weeks. Chris Morgan, who wrote The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7, is currently shepherding Universal Pictures' shared monsters universe with Alex Kurtzman. It isn't known if he is pulling double-duty by also writing the Fast & Furious 8 screenplay, or if the studio is going with a brand new writer.
Kurt Russell's Mr. Nobody from Furious 7 is said to play an important role in Fast & Furious 8. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham have also confirmed that they'll be back as Hobbs and Ian Shaw, alongside Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto. 2 Fast 2 Furious star Eva Mendes may also return as U.S. Customs agent Monica Fuentes. Other franchise stars such as Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Elsa Pataky and Lucas Black are expected to return as well.
F. Gary Gray previously directed Vin Diesel in 2003's A Man Apart, and he also directed Dwayne Johnson in 2005's Be Cool. His other directorial credits include Friday, Set It Off, The Negotiator, The Italian Job and Law Abiding Citizen. He also serves as a producer on the upcoming drama The Sea of Trees, starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe and Naomi Watts. Take a look at Vin Diesel's photo with F. Gary Gray below.