'Fast Five' Director Justin Lin Inks Universal Deal, Sets Production Slate (Exclusive)

Justin Lin Elaine Chin Split 2011

Justin Lin Elaine Chin Split 2011

The helmer has signed a two-year first-look deal with the studio for his newly created Barnstorm Pictures.

Justin Lin, hot off of the success of Universal's Fast Five, has inked a two-year first-look deal with the studio for his newly created Barnstorm Pictures.

Lin has basically become the Fast & Furious franchise director, helming the most recent three movies: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious and the recent Fast Five, which gave Universal its biggest opening in company history and has earned more than $600 million worldwide.

Barnstorm will be based on the Universal lot. Lin has already hired his president of production: Elaine Chin, a former development exec at 20th Century Fox and HBO Films.

Lin, who broke through with his Sundance drama Better Luck Tomorrow, will work on an "elevated tentpole" aimed at global audiences. And he’s already put together a directing and producing slate that includes:

  • The action-adventure/spy film Leading Man;
  • An untitled project about a WWII Japanese American battalion that is the most decorated unit in American history;
  • An untitled sci-fi/crime thriller project to be directed by Robert Glickert; and
  • Fast & Furious 6, which already has a release date of May 24, 2013.

On top of that, Lin is attached to several projects, including the fifth installment of the Terminator movie series, currently not set up at a studio; Brigands of Rattleborge, the Western that previously topped the Black List; and We Disappear, a psychological drama based on the acclaimed novel by Scott Heim.

Lin also is developing Lone Wolf and Cub, an adaptation of the acclaimed epic samurai manga, with  Marissa McMahon, the burgeoning producer and daughter-in-law of WWE CEO Vince McMahon and by 1212 Entertainment. The team is in the midst of packaging the project.

Lin told The Hollywood Reporter he wants to concentrate not just on big tentpoles. Universal also has the indie-centric Focus Features under its wings, and Lin pictures himself working in the smaller-budgeted world of his roots, helping to give up-and-comers their chance.

Lin said he has developed a particularly close bond with the Universal executive team over the course of the past three movies.

"They gave me my shot," he said. "I went from a credit card movie at Sundance to them handing me the Fast franchise. I feel like I grew up at the studio. If I had choice to be anywhere, this is the place."

"Justin's vision and unique approach to filmmaking have been critical to the continued success of the Fast and Furious franchise," Universal co-president Jeff Kirschenbaum said. "We know his creative instincts and signature style will make Barnstorm's partnership with Universal a strong one."

Lin, who also directed recent episodes of NBC's Community, is repped by CAA and Cinetic Management.

Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com