By the time Justin Lin had stepped down from directing Fast X the movie had already gone through a long and complicated pre-production process. It was written, it was planned, and shooting had already begun, when Lin suddenly announced he was making the “difficult decision” to quit the movie. Production was paused while Universal searched for a replacement, which ultimately turned out to be The Incredible Hulk and Now You See Me director Louis Leterrier. A short while later, production resumed under Leterrier’s supervision; the completed film comes out in May. (The trailer just debuted.)

But Leterrier didn’t just show up and finish shooting Lin’s script. He told Esquire that he made major changes to the film — primarily to the third act, but also to the rest as well. And he did it all in the handful of days between his first getting brought in to apply for the job and when showed up on set to begin shooting. Here’s how he described the rewrite process:

I read the script four times on the plane, and I said I had some ideas, and they said ‘great, because the whole third act is changing. Can you rewrite it tonight?’ I was literally on no sleep. I’d been on no sleep for days. Obviously, this was not going to be set in stone. But I was like, ‘okay, yeah, I’ve got some ideas,’ and started writing. And obviously, since the third act was changing, I needed to change the first act. And when you rewrite the third act, and the first act, the second act has to go. So basically I had to on the fly rebuild the airplane.

 

I would think that a movie of this size can’t just be rewritten so quickly. Don’t the action sequences need to be carefully plotted out so the stunts and the visual effects can be planned and executed? Isn’t it a massive thing with a million moving parts and if you change one you throw everything off? I ... guess not? We’ll see whether the finished product feels like something that was drastically rewritten. I hope it does not.

Fast X is scheduled to drive into theaters on May 19, 2023.

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