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Justin Lin on Fast & Furious

Published February 12, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures
Fast & Furious Poster Fast & Furious
Justin Lin got to make the first Fast and the Furious sequel without any original stars. Vin Diesel did a cameo at the end of Tokyo Drift, but that was it. Now Lin gets to work with the original crew, as Diesel and Paul Walker return for Fast & Furious.

Justin Lin on Fast & Furious


Now Lin is no car expert. He just knows what he likes. "It's basically whatever I want," Lin said. "Honestly, they'll have these shows and they'll be hundreds of cars in the parking lots and I'll walk there and I know how passionate the people there are. I try to at least respect that. I want to respect the people who love the cars and so I also listen Paul who loves cars. Personally, I'm a huge basketball fan and I just don't like watching films about basketball where you can tell they have no regard for people who love basketball. I try to at least be conscious of that. The example, whether it's this one or even the last film, where there was all these flashy cars, these beautiful and classic muscle cars, the imports and I remember walking around the corner and there was this sad, little, beat up Monte Carlo sitting there. I was like, 'That has to be the car.' That ends up being the car in the first race in Tokyo Drift. It does come from character. I don't want to beat it to death, but as we develop it I try to see why a character would drive a certain car and then we go from there."

Of course with the Fast and the Furious franchise, all the big manufacturers want Vin Diesel to drive their cars. "When it's appropriate, that's the deal. We're here to serve the story and I know it's a multi-billion dollar business, but at the same time it's my job to try to maintain it and fight the fight. It's the weirdest thing. I think that in indie films you're just trying to make the best film you can and on a studio film they hire you to fight to make the best film. Sometimes they're coming to you with good proposals, but bad ideas. I feel like that's kind of like been my job, everyone's job, taking a step back and trying to serve the film."


Fred Topel with Fast and Furious Car Scoping one of the cars


On the set last year, Lin worked with Diesel on a confrontation scene between Dominic and the film's villains. He's open to rewriting on the fly because those scenes are vital to making the car chases exciting.

"For me the car chases mean nothing unless you're invested in the characters. Part of this thing is that you're sprinting a marathon. That's how I feel when I do studio films. Once that machine gets going you wake up from your nap everyday and you're just trying to make it the best film that you can. That's what I try to do everyday. The rewriting, that's part of the process. I think you do that with indie's anyway, but here it's crazy because you never feel like you have as much prep as you need. With an indie project you have to get it to a point where you're going out to try and raise the money. Here you have so many things going on, but you're still rewriting it and trying to make everything better. There will be things that you find when you're shooting which is great and just like indie films, too. You'll be like, 'Wow. That's magic. Lets try to make this better.' That's normal."

When it comes to the stunts, Lin uses pre-visualization to make sure all departments know what he envisions. "I think that's part of my indie background a little. I think that communication is so important. You can always cover things and try to find it in the editing room which is part of the process, but what's the point? You should try to have something and try to execute it. The best way to do that is to use the tools available to you."

Fast & Furious opens to theaters on June 5th.

For the trailers, stills, poster and more movie info, go to the Fast & Furious Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Universal Pictures
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