‘Furious 8’: F. Gary Gray Rumored to Be Frontrunner for Director’s Chair

     October 5, 2015

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Despite Fast and Furious franchise star Vin Diesel’s attempts to break the news of who would be directing the upcoming installment Furious 8, it looks like good old-fashioned reporting may have beaten him to it. Recently, The Fast and the Furious director Rob Cohen had been rumored to be Diesel’s pick to finish out the franchise, thanks to the star’s social media posts. Then, Diesel threw his own hat into the ring, which made sense considering earlier reports that he had become difficult behind the scenes of the production due to his increased involvement with the day-to-day decisions.

Now, as The Wrap reports, it looks like Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray is the frontrunner to inherit the high-octane film franchise. A competing report from THR also mentions Gray, but includes directors Louis Letterier and Adam Wingard as contenders. The Wrap is quick to point out that Gray recently made Universal – the studio at which Furious 8 is set up – a good chunk of change with the NWA biopic, and has previously worked with both Diesel (A Man Apart) and star Dwayne Johnson, in the 2005 crime comedy, Be Cool. Gray also has experience with fast cars and blow-em-ups, having helmed the 2003 actioner, The Italian Job. One particular roadblock to Gray helming Furious 8 will occur if he’s offered the director’s chair for Marvel’s Black Panther, and decides to take it.


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Image via Universal Pictures

Each report also mentions that Universal studio execs will be sitting down with Diesel and producing partner Neal Moritz to decide between Gray and another director. It could be Letterier, whose most similar films include both The Transporter and The Transporter 2, plus The Incredible HulkClash of the Titans, and the surprise hit, Now You See Me. Or it might fall to Wingard, who has a similar directing history to Furious 7 director James Wan, having made a name for himself with such horror anthology films like V/H/S and its sequel, and The ABCs of Death, plus the cult horror hit, You’re Next. Variety reports a dark horse candidate in Will Eubank, who directed The Signal, and also points out that Wingard’s currently scheduled to direct the Death Note adaptation for Warner Bros. The studio recently announced Nat Wolff would be starring in the lead of that film, potentially putting pressure on Wingard to prioritize their picture over Universal’s enticing offer, since production schedules would likely conflict.

So while the circus surrounding the director’s chair for Furious 8 continues to entertain, these meetings are expected to take place this week. Assuming everyone’s on board, we should have a final confirmation of just who will be directing the film sooner than later, since it still has a release date of April 14, 2017 on the calendar.


Update: Returning to his social media shenanigans, Diesel posted this image of himself and Gray, along with what appears to be their Furious 8 vision board. Enjoy!

For more on Furious 8, check out some of our recent coverage at the following links:

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