Update 10/9/2015: Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray confirmed (via Facebook) that he will direct Furious 8. He posted the following statement regarding the announcement:
“I could not have asked for better partners than Vin Diesel, Neal H. Moritz, & the Universal Studios Entertainment family. Together we are excited to bring you the next chapter in the Fast & Furious saga. #FastFamily”
Mere days after an unconfirmed report indicated that the list of potential Furious 8 directors had been narrowed down to four names, franchise star and producer Vin Diesel might have unofficially confirmed the studio’s final decision.
In a Facebook update posted late Tuesday night, Diesel offered fans a photo of himself with Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray — one of the names on the rumored list of contenders — with a board full of images from various Fast & Furious franchise films.
Diesel didn’t include a caption for the photo, so it stops short of being official confirmation of Gray landing the Furious 8 gig, but as many speculators have indicated, Gray is certainly one of the most likely candidates to end up behind the camera. The pair worked together on the 2003 film A Man Apart, in which Diesel played a DEA agent who embraces his dark side in order to take down a vicious drug cartel, and Gray has become a studio darling with the tremendous success of his N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, which has earned more than $160 million domestically so far on a $28 million budget.
Things have changed quickly behind the scenes with Furious 8, as Diesel had previously indicated that he’d like to see original The Fast and the Furious director Rob Cohen return to direct Furious 8 or one of the two films following it that will conclude the franchise. Yesterday, a report indicated that Gray was on the shortlist of directors for the film along with Now You See Me and The Transporter director Louis Leterrier, The Signal director Will Eubank, and You’re Next and The Guest director Adam Wingard.
The most recent film in the Fast & furious franchise, this year’s Furious 7, currently ranks as the fifth highest-grossing movie of all time worldwide with $1.5 billion so far. The film is also the fourth highest-grossing film of the year in the U.S. with $351 million.
Furious 8 is expected to bring back much of the franchise’s regular cast, as well as newcomers to the series from the previous film, such as Jason Statham and Kurt Russell. The film is currently scheduled to premiere April 14, 2017.