Writer-director David Ayer is calling out the “Fast and the Furious” franchise for ignoring his contributions to the 2001 film.
During a recent episode of Jon Bernthal’s “Real Ones” podcast, Ayer addressed his involvement on “The Fast and the Furious” film that kicked off the multi-billion dollar franchise. Gary Scott Thompson and Erik Bergquist wrote previous drafts of the script before Ayer came on board and changed the location of the film and added realistic elements and diverse characters, according to the “Suicide Squad” helmer.
“Biggest franchise in Hollywood, and I don’t have any of it,” Ayer said. “I got nothing to show for it, nothing, because of the way the business works.”
Ayer continued, “When I got that script, that shit was set in New York, it was all Italian kids, right? I’m like, ‘Bro, I’m not going to take it unless I can set it in L.A. and make it look like the people I know in L.A., right?’ So then I started, like, writing in people of color, and writing in the street stuff, and writing in the culture, and no one knew shit about street racing at the time.”
He added as an example, “I went to a shop in the Valley and met with like the first guys that were doing the hacking of the fuel curves for the injectors and stuff like that, and they had just figured it out and they were showing it, and I’m like, ‘Oh fuck yeah, I’m going to put that in the movie.’”
The concept behind “The Fast and the Furious” was inspired by a Vibe magazine article about drag racing titled “Racer X.” Ayer called out the “narrative” around the first film that iced him out of the franchise as a whole.
“The narrative is I didn’t do shit, right?” Ayer said. “It’s like people hijack narratives, control narratives, create narratives to empower themselves, right? And because I was always an outsider and because, like, I don’t go to the fucking parties. I don’t go to the meals, I don’t do any of that stuff. The people that did were able to control and manage narratives because they’re socialized in that part of the problem. I was never socialized in that part of the problem so I was always like the dark, creative dude, beware.”
Ayer summed up, “Fuck all the middlemen, right? I get it. It’s up to me, I gotta self-rescue, right? I can fucking whine about getting shot at and all the rounds I’ve taken over my career — I’ve gotta self-rescue, and I’ve gotta create an ecology where it’s safe for me to be creative, and that’s it. And that’s what I’m doing now.”
“The Fast and the Furious” was a Universal release. The franchise is set to wrap up with a rumored three-part finale, beginning with this year’s “Fast X.”
During EW’s “Binge” video series, “Fast and Furious” lead star and producer Vin Diesel recalled that the initial script was “not what I thought it would be” and that he met with Ayer to do a “page-by-page critique-slash-rewrite.”
Back in 2021, producer Neal H. Moritz confirmed to Entertainment Weekly for the 20th anniversary of the film that Ayer was “really able to lend credibility and a voice of these young people in this world.”