David Ayer Says He Has ‘Nothing to Show’ For Writing ‘Fast and the Furious’
The writing credits for hte original The Fast and the Furious read “Screenplay by Gary Scott Thompson and Erik Bergquist and David Ayer,” with Thompson receiving an additional and separate credit for the “Screen Story.” To this day, Thompson’s name appears in Fast & Furious sequels, where he is credited with having created the characters which the further sequels are based on.
But one of the other writers says he feels he deserves way more credit — not to mention money — for what he contributed to the series.
That would be David Ayer, who also wrote Training Day the same year that The Fast and the Furious came out, and then went on to a long career writing and directing big Hollywood movies like End of Watch, Sabotage, and Suicide Squad. In an interview with actor Jon Bernthal, Ayer claimed that despite what he described as a crucial role in developing many of the key elements of the very first The Fast and the Furious, he “got nothing to show for it, nothing, because of the way the business works.”
Ayer said that Thompson and Bergquist’s version of the story “was set in New York” and starred “Italian kids.” It was he (according to Ayer) who moved the story to Los Angeles and “started, like, writing in people of color, and writing in the street stuff, and writing in the culture, and no one knew s— about street racing at the time.” (The original article that the entire franchise is based on, “Racer X” by Ken Li, was indeed set in the world of New York City street racing.)
Ayer also said he went to car shops in the Valley to meet mechanics, and put everything they told him about “the hacking of the fuel curves for the injectors and stuff like that” into the script. Despite all of that, Ayer says "the narrative is I didn't do s—" on the film.
If Ayer’s version of events is accurate, he certainly deserves a lot of credit for the things that made The Fast and the Furious what it is — at least initially; the later movies bear little resemblance to the first one besides a few of the characters. Of course, the other writers might disagree with his account or the extent to which he influenced the final shooting script. Without being able to see all the different drafts of the screenplay, it’s very hard to suss out who did what.
The most recent Fast & Furious movie, Fast X, is scheduled to debut on Peacock on September 15.