While it the success of "Fast Five" has put Justin Lin on the hot list for movie projects around town, things just haven't quite been going his way this summer. While he's been wishlisted/shortlisted for projects like "The Wolverine" and "Die Hard 5" he has turned down those opportunities, and last month he exited the "Highlander" remake he had been attached to for a couple of years. All of this was with his eye firmly on a new 'Terminator' movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger, but alas, it looks like the stars won't aligning for him to work on the project.
Arthouse friendly producer Megan Ellison has the rights to the upcoming movie (you can't live on John Hillcoat and Wong Kar-Wai movies alone), and Deadline reveals that the now planned fourth quarter 2012 start on the movie will clash with Lin's plans to return to direct the sixth installment in the "The Fast & The Furious" franchise. Moreover, the site notes that there are two films planned that will bring the Cameron/Schwarzenegger storyline to a close.
When we spoke to Lin in August he confirmed that the 'Fast/Furious' movie would be his next project with 'Terminator' but plans have changed since then. It must be bummer for Lin who has been working closely with James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger in developing the movie.
“ ‘Terminator’ is something I’ve been having a lot of fun with,” Lin had told us. “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.”
However, the door is left pretty wide open for Lin to come back if a) Ellison can accommodate his schedule or b) the production gets pushed back for other reasons. Right now, there is no screenplay or even a screenwriter attached to the project that would presumably be shooting a year for now. We're guessing everyone involved is laying out every inch of the story so whoever comes along has a detailed blueprint to follow but if they can't deliver it the way the filmmakers want, that 2012 start could be an issue. Additionally, if there are any delays on the three films Arnie has lined up -- "The Expendables 2," "The Last Stand" and the recently announced "Captive" -- that could be an issue as well. The other factor is that there is a ticking clock on the rights to which Ellison paid more than $30 million for, because they will revert back to Cameron in 2018 which means she will need to get both films in the can and in theaters before then.
So all this to say "The Terminator" movie(s) are still happening but need a director to steer the ship. So yeah, some kind of shortlist of names will probably crop up in the near future. We'll let you make the inevitable "I'll be back" joke.