Director Justin Lin Comments on TERMINATOR, FAST AND THE FURIOUS Franchises

     October 7, 2011

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Two weeks ago we brought you the news that Justin Lin would not be helming a Terminator reboot in the immediate future due to a scheduling conflict with The Fast and the Furious 6 (Fast Six?). While that remains the case, Lin has certainly been vocal in his reverence for both franchises. After the runaway success of Fast Five (which has currently brought in over $616 million), Lin plans to finish up his involvement with that franchise in two more installments before moving on to the Terminator reboot:

“Creatively, I’ve had to put some stuff on hold and walk away from some projects that I’d really love to do, but this is an opportunity for me and for us to close out the franchise the right way. It comes with a price but it’s something that I look forward to.”

I’ll translate that into: I can make a boat-load of money on this sure thing first before taking chances with a problem-riddled franchise. Hit the jump for more quotes from Lin.

Perhaps I was a bit too hard on Lin just now. In a discussion courtesy of the LA Times, Lin does actually address the assumption that he’s sticking with Vin Diesel over Arnold Schwarzenegger purely for the dollar signs. Regarding the Terminator franchise:

“I do hold such a strong admiration for it that if it’s not really coming together in the right way, I don’t really want to partake in anything like that. That’s a great way to approach it creatively. And to be able to work with people who are passionate, especially with Arnold and James (Cameron). It’s such a big part of who they are and to be able to have that conversation and try to up the ante, you can’t ask for anything better.”

Lin has sat down with Schwarzenegger and Cameron in the recent past to have a creative discussion on the reboot, with Cameron there mostly as a consultant and Schwarzenegger possibly in a larger capacity:

“On a filmmaker level, to be able to sit in a room with Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron and be able to talk it through and kick ideas around, that’s been priceless already.”

arnold-schwarzenegger-terminator-photoFans seem split on whether the inclusion of Schwarzenegger in the reboot would be a boon or a burden, but Lin is at least open to the suggestion:

“There is a way to do that. I don’t want to give anything away but I have a very clear idea thematically and arc-wise where we can go. Again, it’s been just great to throw that around with James and Arnold. Is time our enemy? Well, there is a ticking clock but anytime anything goes into development — with the state of filmmaking and the way films get made — you’re always fighting for more time. The biggest enemy is rushing things. I don’t think it should be rushed. Creatively, it will come when it comes. Passion is always the currency and it’s the thing that will create momentum. If that’s not there you shouldn’t do it. Obviously, there’s a lot of money involved and with that money the clock is going to keep ticking.”

The time factor in this case is two-fold. Not only will Schwarzenegger turn 65 next year, but if the reboot gets pushed back too far, the rights will revert back to James Cameron in 2018. That’s plenty of time to finish up the Fast and the Furious franchise and crank out a Terminator reboot. And honestly, this is a fantastic situation for Lin if he is able to keep Ellison, Cameron and Schwarzenegger from finding another director for a year or two. Not only is the franchise reboot potentially very lucrative, Lin’s involvement would be a sort of personal dream come true:

“The timing for that is a little bit off [in the distance] but the good thing is it doesn’t feel like creatively it’s been compromised. I don’t think anyone is trying to hurry anything. I’m hopeful it will work out but at the same time I’m going to be hard on that film if I get a chance to make it. With that franchise, that’s what it deserves. I remember growing up and watching the first ‘Terminator’ films and they defined my youth in many ways. That’s something I want to try to seek out and recapture.”

In addition to the discussion on whether to include Schwarzenegger in the reboot, the unanswered questions (ie gaping plot holes) throughout the franchise have given fans hope that a new installment could tie up loose ends or spin off in a new direction altogether. If this is what you’re looking for, you should be pulling for Lin.

“Those first two ‘Terminator’ films, we have such a strong connection to it and there’s always a desire to revisit anything that can cause us to feel like that. Being someone who really holds that sacred, I feel like there is a way of continuing that journey. Also with the time travel and canon there’s a version there that you can do right. For me, there’s still some characters and themes that were kind of promised and exhibited in those movies that we have never actually seen. Those are things that got me excited about potentially trying to crack all of that.”

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