Shane Black may be set to direct Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham's Fast & Furious spin-off

Ben Bussey
UK Movies Writer
Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw are the best of friends in ‘Fast &
Furious 8’ (credit: Universal)

While fans of the ‘Fast & Furious’ – and, most vocally, Tyrese Gibson – may be fretting over the push-back of ‘Fast & Furious 9,’ there’s still some cause for excitement: the Luke Hobbs/Deckard Shaw spin-off movie will be arriving in the meantime. And there’s a very exciting director said to be in the mix.

Variety report that ‘Iron Man 3’ director Shane Black has been named as a candidate to call the shots on the as-yet untitled ‘Fast & Furious’ spin-off set to centre on Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s characters from the high octane action franchise.

Announced by studio Universal within weeks of ‘Fast & Furious 8’s record-breaking release, the spin-off – which would have been teased by post-credits scene which was cut from the film at the last minute, allegedly at the insistence of actor/producer Vin Diesel – aims to capitalise on the chemistry the two hard men built up, as adversaries forced to work side-by-side.

Writer-director Shane Black at the LA premiere of 2016’s ‘The Nice Guys’ (Credit: Nicky Nelson/WENN.com)

Should he land the job (Variety stress that talks have not yet taken place), Shane Black is an exciting and entirely logical choice for the director’s chair. As the writer of ‘Lethal Weapon,’ Black pioneered the action buddy movie format which caught on like wildfire in the late 1980s and into the 1990s.

Since becoming a director, Black has continued to specialise in comedic interplay between odd couples: 2005’s ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ and 2016’s ‘The Nice Guys’ respectively cast Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer, and Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as mismatched detectives with a gift for trash talk – all of which would be ideal for a Hobbs/Shaw movie.

Moreover, Black’s no slouch at directing large scale action, as he proved with Marvel mega-hit ‘Iron Man 3,’ and all being well will prove once more in 2018 with ‘The Predator.’ On top of all this, Black’s also had some dealings with Dwayne Johnson, having provisionally cast him as the lead in his in-development ‘Doc Savage.’ However, with that film seemingly stuck in limbo, this ‘Fast & Furious’ spin-off might prove a more than adequate interim project.

Play nice now, boys… (credit: Universal)

So, here’s hoping that Black does indeed wind up behind the camera on the first ‘Fast & Furious’ spin-off movie – although, again, it should be emphasised that no deals are on the table yet, as screenwriter Chris Morgan is still at work on the script.

It also remains unknown whether Charlize Theron, who was initially rumoured to be part of the spin-off, will also reprise her ‘Fast & Furious 8’ role here.

The Hobbs/Shaw movie is scheduled to hit screens on 16 July 2019, whilst ‘Fast & Furious 9’ will now open on 14 February 2020. Meanwhile, Shane Black’s ‘The Predator’ will open on 3 August 2018.

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