The Fast and Furious franchise has now been running for more than fifteen years and is showing no signs of slowing down. And with the latest release, The Fate of the Furious, comes a new director.
With credits including The Italian Job and Straight Outta Compton under his belt, F. Gary Gray seems to be a more than worthy successor to James Wan, who directed Furious 7.
So in anticipation of our next outing with the Fast and Furious team next April, we’ve taken a closer look into Gray’s work and what we know so far about The Fate of the Furious, to determine just how he’ll be bringing new life into the franchise.
Gray is a critically acclaimed director
Straight Outta Compton, Gray’s most recent work prior to this one, was a critical and commercial success. The film grossed $200 million worldwide and even received a nomination for Best Screenplay at the Academy Awards. Gray was praised for his work on the film, one that is widely believed to be his best work to date. He has also received various awards throughout his career, including the 2004 Special Achievement Award from the African American Film Critics Association.
He's worked with several of the Furious crew before
From Vin Diesel in A Man Apart to Dwayne Johnson in Be Cool and both Jason Statham and Charlize Theron in The Italian Job, Gray has already formed a strong working relationship with many of the significant players within the franchise. He’ll already have an understanding of how these people work best, and as a result he’ll know what to do to get the best possible work out of them. Vin Diesel even revealed that he believes Gray deserves Oscar attention for his work on the film.
He wants to refresh the franchise
In an interview with Collider, Gray cited Star Wars: The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams as a major influence on his work. He stressed the importance of narrative and character not being ignored at the expense of spectacle and action sequences. Although extremely secretive, he revealed: "I’m extremely excited about the direction we’re going in, and we’re really pushing to make sure the audience feels like it’s not more of the same." We can’t wait to find out exactly what this means!
Marvel has him on speed-dial
Gray was heavily tipped to direct Captain America: The Winter Soldier back in 2012, before taking his name out of the running to focus his energy on Straight Outta Compton. More recently he was seen as a contender for Black Panther, with Chadwick Boseman reprising his role as the titular character in the film set for release in 2018. The job ultimately went to Ryan Coogler (Creed) but the fact that Marvel have tapped him twice for big-screen thrills surely bodes well for the Fast franchise...
Gray has past experience with tyre-screeching action
The Italian Job had a number of intense action sequences involving cars – another sure sign that he was destined to helm a Fast and Furious movie. More than a decade later, technologies have become far more advanced, meaning that he now has the opportunity to try his hand at more intense action than ever before.
He loves his work!
From turning down the opportunity to work on a major movie release to instead work on a project he was passionate about, to delighting all of his fans with various insights on social media, Gray genuinely seems to love what he does. What more could you ask for?
Are you excited to see what F. Gary Gray can bring to the franchise? Tweet us @Cineworld and be sure to check out The Fate of the Furious when it speeds into our screens on 14th April 2017.
Hannah Dixon is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.