Last week, Fast & Furious franchise star Vin Diesel revealed that a director will be announced soon for Fast & Furious 8. Furious 7 director James Wan has moved on to direct The Conjuring: The Enfield Poltergeist, and Justin Lin, who directed the last four Fast & Furious movies before that, is currently shooting Star Trek Beyond. Today, Variety reports that Universal Pictures has narrowed their directorial choice down to four candidates, F. Gary Gray, Adam Wingard, Louis Leterrier and William Eubank.
The report claims that none of these four filmmakers have emerged as the front runner yet, but the studio is reportedly close to making their final decision. Variety also reports that there is no truth to rumors that Vin Diesel may be in the mix to direct Fast & Furious 8 himself. The actor did reveal over the weekend that he wants Rob Cohen, who directed the very first The Fast and the Furious movie back in 2001, to return for Fast & Furious 8, but it isn't known if that will happen since he isn't on this short list.
Production on Fast & Furious 8 isn't expected to begin until next spring, but preparations will reportedly start in late October, so the studio hopes to lock down a filmmaker by then. Vin Diesel's statement from this weekend revealed that "the writer" will be delivering the script in a few weeks, but it still isn't known who this writer is. 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, so it isn't known if he has had time to writer Fast & Furious 8 as well.
Vin Diesel revealed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! this March that Furious 7 starts a new trilogy, and that Fast & Furious 8 will be set in New York City. The actor/producer also teased that Kurt Russell's character, Mr. Nobody, will 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. 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 is coming off of Universal's smash-hit biopic Straight Outta Compton, which has made $168 million domestic from a $28 million budget. He is also reportedly in contention to direct Marvel's Black Panther. He directed Vin Diesel in the 2003 action thriller A Man Apart. Adam Wingard directed last year's critically-acclaimed thriller The Guest, and he is expected to film Death Note next spring, which could provide a scheduling conflict for Fast & Furious 8. Louis Leterrier's next film Grimsby hits theaters next March, starring Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong. William Eubank is the least-known of the filmmakers on this list, with just two feature credits to his name, 2011's Love and last year's The Signal, which starred Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke and Laurence Fishburne.