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July 2013

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director's chair Justin Lin: Fast & Furious 6 H By Iain Blair In-your-face editing and effects. 10 OLLYWOOD — Justin Lin has been driving the Fast & Furious megafranchise since 2006's Tokyo Drift, and has become the go-to car-chase and carstunt filmmaker of his generation. Now he's back for the fourth time with the latest blockbuster episode of the long-running action franchise, Fast & Furious 6, which reunites stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson for another testosterone-fueled adventure. The set up? Since Dom (Diesel) and Brian's (Walker) Rio heist toppled a kingpin's empire and left their crew with $100 million, our heroes have scattered across the globe. But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam have left their lives incomplete. Meanwhile, Hobbs (Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries, whose mastermind is aided by a ruthless second-incommand. The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks Dom to assemble his elite team in London. Payment? Full pardons for all of them so they can return home and make their families whole again. Gentlemen — start your engines. Also coming back to the franchise is an accomplished, behind-the-scenes team, including cinematographer Stephen F. Windon (Fast Five, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) and editors Christian Wagner (Fast Five, Fast & Furious, Mission: Impossible II) and Kelly Matsumoto (Fast Five, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift). Here, in an exclusive interview, the director talks about making the film, dealing with all the effects, and his love of post. POST: How do you top the last film? JUSTIN LIN: "The pressure of that is what I enjoy the most about the challenge. When I started on the franchise, my pitch was about embracing the characters and evolving them and the genre, and I feel we really have done that." POST: What sort of film did you set out to make this time? LIN: "My goal was always to mix it up. They've all been very different tonally and stylistically, and that was very conscious effort. Plus, I have a great partner with Universal. Often, when you have a very successful franchise, people tend to get very conservative and want to just repeat the same thing. But the studio's been very open to me trying new things all the time, and for a filmmaker that's a Post • July 2013 great place to be." POST: What were the main technical challenges of pulling all this together? LIN: "There were so many, and it's funny to say this with the big budget I had, but I still didn't have enough. I had to pull a lot of indie tricks out of the hat that I used on my first film, Better Luck Tomorrow, which I financed with credit cards. For instance, we'd have fight scenes scheduled for three to five days, and the stunts and action scenes, since every one of those is also designed as a character beat. Often I'd shoot all day on 1st unit, drive over to the 2nd unit and shoot with Dwayne all night, and then head back to 1st unit again." POST: How far did you have to integrate post into the shoot to make this happen? LIN: "The post aspect was crucial and we integrated that very early on. Right after storyboard I went to previs, so I immediately got Justin Lin on the set of Universal's Fast & Furious 6: "If you can share your point-of-view effectively with your cast and crew on the shoot, then it all comes to life in post." then have to do it in one. So it was hard for everyone, but it also set a good tone for us. I began in indies, and even with these huge films, I want to treat 'em like they're indie movies. Forget the huge budget and paydays — it's still down to all showing up on the day and trying to create something that's never been done before." POST: How tough was the shoot? LIN: "It was grueling. We shot all over the place — England, Scotland, the Canary Islands, Spain — and the cohesion of the film depends on me being involved in every detail. So even though we had a big 2nd unit led by Spiro Razatos, it's designed for months ahead, so whatever lens he's using is all pre-designed, and if there's the slightest change I'm on the phone with him. "So I'd often be shooting in the day and talking with Spiro at night or in the cutting room discussing whether he should use a 16mm or a 14mm lens. All that had to be pinned down every day, since you can't go back and re-shoot this stuff. So I really relied on Spiro and we worked very closely on all the editors to start cutting it because I needed everyone to be on the same page. So often it's discussing each beat, so everyone knows exactly what we're trying to do. Doing one of these films is very different from doing a superhero movie. "A lot of times with those films you have a guy flying, and you design it and shoot it exactly that way, because he's not really flying. But for these films, you can design cars and a head-on collision, but it never ends up exactly the way you plan it. So you've gotta have Plan B, C, D and E all in place. "For instance, we have this huge plane stunt sequence, and it worked, but not the way we wanted. The car didn't get smashed the way it was designed to. So on the day, Spiro calls me, I run into the cutting room, and we had to redesign it on the fly so that 12 hours later they could start shooting other shots. We had the editors on early on, so that when they're cutting previs and Spiro arrives with the footage, we can integrate all that. The schedule was insane for such a big action movie. We only wrapped in December, and

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