What a day to be F. Gary Gray. Last night, the Straight Outta Compton director surfaced as the frontrunner to direct the next Fast & Furious movie, for which Universal has been looking far and wide to find someone to take the helm. Subsequently, another report surfaced that the job wasn’t Gray’s for the taking just yet, as You’re Next helmer Adam Wingard and Now You See Me director Louis Letterrier were also in the running. Then today another report arrived that Gray was Marvel Studios’ choice to helm Black Panther, only for yet another report to claim that Marvel has instead halted that director search in favor of having a finished a script first.
None of these reports were rumors, mind you. They all came from the trades, and while they varied in detail, they all seemed to signal that A. Major discussions were taking place for the Furious 8 director’s chair and B. Gray is very much in demand.
But with all that confusion behind us, THR now reports that Gray is indeed the likely one to be stepping behind the camera on Furious 8, as he’s in talks to take the helm. We figured as much after Vin Diesel shared a photo of yesterday’s meeting with Gray on Facebook. The franchise star/producer is something of a Godfather for the series, giving input and staying involved at every stage of development—something that was reportedly a point of contention when trying to get Furious 7 helmer James Wan to return.
As soon as Gray’s name surfaced, he seemed like the obvious choice. He just directed a massive hit for Universal with Straight Outta Compton, and while he’s been courted for high-profile projects before (he’s been on a few Marvel shortlists), staying within the Universal family appears to be ideal for the filmmaker—especially when given the keys to one of its flagship franchises.
So now, finally, it appears as though the New York-centric Furious 8 has a director. Chris Morgan has been hard at work on the screenplay and will no doubt continue to hone that with Gray’s input, and all involved can move full speed ahead towards the April 2017 release date.