While it wasn’t a surprise that this May’s Fast & Furious 6 opened to enormous box office and has had strong legs in the ensuing weeks given how well Fast Five did, it was surprising to learn that Justin Lin, who has helmed every FF entry since Tokyo Drift, opted not to return for Fast & Furious 7. With Furious 6 poised to bring in a hell of a lot of money, Universal put the franchise’s seventh entry on the fast track earlier this year with an eye towards rushing it out for release next summer. Exhausted from already helming Fast Five and Furious Six nearly back-to-back and worried about the fast-paced production schedule needed for 7, Lin decided to bow out of the franchise. The studio wasted no time finding a replacement, though, making an inspiring choice by tapping Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring helmer James Wan to direct the seventh pic.
While Wan is understandably knee-deep in pre-production on Fast & Furious 7 at the moment in order to start filming later this year, the director recently provided a bit of an update on the film, confirming the actor that will be playing the pic’s villain. Hit the jump for more.
Speaking with EW, Wan said that he is currently focused on creating his action sequences for Fast & Furious 7:
“I’m in the preproduction stage right now. I’m in the process of designing my action sequences, working on ideas, and fleshing out things that we want to do with the characters. That’s been really fun.”
While the filmmaker was tight-lipped about specific plot details, he did confirm that Jason Statham—who was seen in the credits of Furious Six as the brother of Luke Evans’ character, seeking revenge—will indeed star in Fast & Furious 7. He went on to describe what it feels like to step into a firmly established franchise as the “new kid”:
“Okay, this is how I’ve been describing it: It is like being invited to a Thanksgiving dinner and the whole family’s at the dinner [table], already carving the turkey. And I walk in through the door and everyone stops and looks at me. And I’m standing there awkwardly going, ‘Hi! I’m here! Oh, that’s my seat? Okay, I’ll come and join the table.’”
The other analogy that I use is that it’s like coming in and playing another person’s saved game. I know the characters, I know the stories, but now it’s up to me to pick it up from where it was left off and take it in a different direction — but a direction that has kind of been laid out, if that makes sense.”
We should start to hear more about Fast 7 soon as production gets underway in anticipation of the film’s July 11, 2014 release date.