Justin Lin Drops Highlander Reboot, Meets with James Cameron to Discuss New Terminator, Reveals Fast 6 Ending is Done
08.15.11 by BJSprecher
Thanks to the tremendous success of Universal's Fast Five, Taiwan-born Justin Lin has quickly become one of the hottest directors in Hollywood. Universal didn't hesitate to sign Lin up for a sixth movie in The Fast and the Furious franchise, and he's also developing a new Terminator movie with series star Arnold Schwarzenegger. In addition, he's been fielding offers from "a lot of different studios" about "some amazing franchises." His increasingly busy schedule and desire to have creative control of the projects he works on has forced him to pass on the sequel to Live Free or Die Hard and now Lin has dropped out as director of Summit Entertainment's Highlander remake, a movie he has been attached to since 2008.
Lin told The Playlist that he has had to "walk away from a lot of stuff" recently because he didn't want to be just be a "director for hire."
Because I’m in a position that I can at least assess what I want to do with it. I feel like with a lot of these other franchises, it’s hard to be a director for hire, because you want to go in, and if you’re going to like join something that exists, I think it’s going to have to be built from the ground up, in a way. I think having a filmmaker approach to a franchise is the ultimate goal.
Lin will direct Fast 6 (working title) next, but he told The Playlist that he is already "having a lot of fun with" the new Terminator movie. Lin revealed that he recently sat down with Schwarzenegger and franchise creator James Cameron to have an unofficial discussion about the movie, a meeting of the minds that left a lasting impression upon him.
I had a great meeting with Arnold and James Cameron, just sitting down unofficially. And James is so gracious because he’s not part of the project, he’s not going to be producing, but it was great of him just as a filmmaker to take time out to just talk.... I don’t know where it’s going to lead, but I never thought at this level I’m going to be able to meet filmmakers and be in situations where they’re that gracious and insightful and so inclusive.... I’m working on [Terminator] right now, but again, if I’m going to be kind of the gatekeeper to it, I want to make sure that I can hopefully build it up the right way — and so far that’s been the most fun. Just to be able to take James Cameron’s brain and for him to be so open even though he has no stakes in it, just as a human being, that’s something that I will always remember as a part of my journey as a filmmaker.
While Lin may not know where Terminator is "going to lead," he already has a good idea where Fast 6 will go. In fact, he told BoxOfficeMagazine that he has already completed the end sequence of the movie.
My whole thing is about respecting the audience and respecting the evolution of these characters — and they've grown and now the family is back together. And in many ways, some of the big pieces of Fast Six have already been discussed: I already have a 12-minute sequence done. I did it just as an exercise. I had it done before we were finished with Fast Five, actually. So I wanted to do that just to have it there and to be honest with you, I didn't know if I was going to do a Fast Six. I didn't know if people were going to embrace Fast Five and we were going to have an opportunity. But I felt like I really wanted to make sure that the last scene, which I had talked to Vin [Diesel] about countless times — I wanted to make sure that was done. So actually I boarded it, I pre-vised it, and I cut it. So it's funny, when we were in Atlanta shooting [Fast Five], I already had the end sequence to Fast Six done. And that was what I wanted to work towards.