'Furious 8' Director Search Down to Three Filmmakers (Exclusive)

The Fast and the Furious (2001)
<p>The first movie in the now seven-movie series was based on an article in&nbsp;<em>Vibe</em> magazine by <strong>Kenneth LiRafael</strong>. The piece, titled &ldquo;<a href="http://www.vibe.com/2015/03/racer-x-rafael-estevez-kenneth-li-fast-and-furious-inspiration-may-1998/ " target="_blank">Racer X</a>,&rdquo; published in May 1998, depicted the illegal street racing subculture in the late &#39;90s. The first Universal movie grossed a worldwide total of $207 million.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div>
None of the contenders are named Diesel.

Universal’s search for a Fast and Furious 8 director has narrowed to three finalists, and none of them have the last name Diesel.

Last week, Furious star Vin Diesel took to his Facebook page and intimated he should direct the latest installment of the billion-dollar franchise after efforts to convince Furious 7 director James Wan to return for No. 8 proved unsuccessful. (Read The Hollywood Reporter’s story about it here.)

Instead, the studio has its eyes on the following, according to multiple sources:

F. Gary Gray, the man behind its surprise commercial and critical hit Straight Outta Compton, who also has Diesel experience, having directed the actor in 2003’s action-thriller A Man Apart.

Louis Leterrier, the experienced action man who counts The Incredible Hulk, The Transporter and Now You See Me among his credits.

Adam Wingard, the filmmaker behind cult genre hits including The Guest and who, like Wan, has a background in horror with movies such as You’re Next and segments of anthology movies The ABCs of Death and V/H/S 2.

Several sources say that the trio are due to meet with Diesel — who as one of the franchise’s stewards has a say in who directs the movies — and Universal this week.

It should be noted that the meetings could stall with these contenders, leading to a wider search. (William Eubank, who co-wrote and directed The Signal, was also a name being floated earlier in the search.) That would not be in Universal’s best interest, since the movie already has an April 14, 2017, release date.