EXCLUSIVE: Earning over $600 million worldwide, "Fast Five" is one of the biggest hits of the year, and not only is it the most successful entry in the franchise so far, director Justin Lin proved there is still plenty of fuel in the tank and Universal agrees -- they have already dated a sequel for May 24, 2013. The film launched Lin into tentpole territory, with the studio landing the rights to "The Terminator" sequel for the director. And while the project will have to wait until series star Arnold Schwarzenegger gets the gritty thriller "The Last Stand" out of the way first, Lin is already getting his creative juices flowing.
“ ‘Terminator’ is something I’ve been having a lot of fun with," Lin told us in an interview to support forthcoming video release of "Fast Five." “Just even this week, I had a great meeting with Arnold and James Cameron, just sitting down unofficially. And James is so gracious because he’s not part of the project, he’s not going to be producing, but it was great of him just as a filmmaker to take time out to just talk.”
Following the success of “Fast Five” earlier this summer, Lin began fielding offers to direct a number of other franchise sequels including “Die Hard 5.” Although his immediate follow up will be “Fast and Furious 6,” he said that he’s enjoyed exploring a variety of options going forward. “It’s been great after ‘Fast Five,' ” he confessed. “I feel very honored to be included, and I’ve talked to a lot of different studios, and they’re some amazing franchises that I love.” At the same time, Lin indicated that he wanted to capitalize on his growing clout in Hollywood, and without being able to exert a degree of creative control over some of those projects, he had to decline offers to direct a few of them.
“I’ve had to kind of walk away from a lot of stuff,” he explained. “Because I’m in a position that I can at least assess what I want to do with it. I feel like with a lot of these other franchises, it’s hard to be a director for hire, because you want to go in, and if you’re going to like join something that exists, I think it’s going to have to be built from the ground up, in a way. I think having a filmmaker approach to a franchise is the ultimate goal.” Although he insisted he was grateful for the opportunity to be considered to direct “Die Hard 5,” he reveals why he wound up not taking it on. “For many of the projects, I feel very privileged, but I just know it wasn’t the right situation. And the first ‘Die Hard’ changed me as a kid when I watched it. But ‘Die Hard 5’ is just not something that I’m going to do, or I’m interested in.”
Following his meeting with Cameron and Schwarzenegger, he indicated that his passion for 'Terminator' was buoyed, although he couldn’t confirm that it would be the next film for him after “Fast and Furious 6.” “I don’t know where it’s going to lead, but I never thought at this level I’m going to be able to meet filmmakers and be in situations where they’re that gracious and insightful and so inclusive,” Lin said “And that’s a franchise that I’m working on right now, but again, if I’m going to be kind of the gatekeeper to it, I want to make sure that I can hopefully build it up the right way – and so far that’s been the most fun. Just to be able to take James Cameron’s brain and for him to be so open even though he has no stakes in it, just as a human being, that’s something that I will always remember as a part of my journey as a filmmaker.”
"Fast Five" arrives on DVD and BluRay on October 4th. --Todd Gilchrist