|Born||October 11, 1971|
|Nationality|| United States|
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles (BA, MFA)|
Justin Lin (traditional Chinese: 林詣彬; simplified Chinese: 林诣彬; pinyin: Lín Yìbīn, born October 11, 1971) is a Taiwanese-born American film director. His films have grossed US$2.3 billion worldwide as of March 2017. He is best known for his directorial work on Better Luck Tomorrow (2002), the Fast & Furious franchise from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) to Fast & Furious 6 (2013) and F9 (2021), and Star Trek Beyond (2016). He is also known for his work on television programs like Community, and the second season of True Detective.
Early life and education
Lin was born on October 11, 1971 in Taipei, Taiwan. He immigrated to the United States at the age of eight and grew up in Buena Park, California. He graduated from nearby Cypress High School. Lin earned the rank of Eagle Scout in March 1989 while a member of Boy Scout Troop 670.
Lin attended the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) for two years before transferring to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he earned a BA in Film and Television and a MFA in Film Directing and Production from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He was given a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2017.
1997–2005: Better Luck Tomorrow, Annapolis
Lin's first feature film was Shopping for Fangs (1997), which he co-directed with fellow UCLA Film School alumnus Quentin Lee when they were still at UCLA. The film stars John Cho and is considered to be a "cult classic" among independent Asian American films.
Lin's solo directorial debut was Better Luck Tomorrow (2002), a film focusing on a circle of high-school-age Asian-Americans who become caught up in a cascading series of petty and then serious crimes. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival of that year, and in a question and answer session following a festival screening, Roger Ebert stood up and angrily responded to an audience member asking Lin if he thought it irresponsible to portray Asian-Americans in a negative light, saying, "[N]obody would say to a bunch of white filmmakers, 'How could you do this to your people?' ... Asian-American characters have the right to be whoever the hell they want to be. They do not have to 'represent' their people." Ebert's approval of the film drew the attention of major studios, eventually leading to MTV Films buying the film for distribution, MTV Films' first such acquisition. Better Luck Tomorrow was also an official selection of the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival, was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at 2002 Sundance, and was a nominee for the John Cassavetes Award at the 2004 Independent Spirit Awards. Variety magazine named him one of the "Top 10 Directors to Watch" in 2002, citing the movie.
Lin's second feature film—and first film to be produced and distributed by a large studio, Touchstone Pictures—was Annapolis (2006), which starred James Franco, Tyrese Gibson, Donnie Wahlberg and Jordana Brewster. The film cost US$26 million to make, but grossed only $17 million worldwide.[clarification needed]
2006–2015: Fast & Furious franchise, minor projects
This section's content on box office revenues and their comparisons possibly contains original research. (March 2017)
His third feature film, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, was released in North American cinemas on June 16, 2006. Despite mixed reviews, Tokyo Drift brought in over US$24 million on its opening weekend; the domestic box office would eventually total $62 million with a further $95 million accruing from the foreign box office, making total gross receipts $158 million.[clarification needed] With Tokyo Drift, Lin would begin his run as director of the next three Fast & Furious films, leading the franchise until Furious 7. Lin was initially approached to direct the film after the success of Better Luck Tomorrow at Sundance, and after wrapping his first studio film Annapolis, but wanted some "conditions" met, as the script presented him was about "cars drifting around Buddhist statues and geisha girls." Instead, Lin wanted to make a film about Japan, which was "much more postmodern" as he mentioned, and intended to have a film on a more global scale that went against preconceived stereotypes.
After Tokyo Drift, Lin directed a short film that also premiered at the Sundance Global Short Film Project, La Revolución de Iguodala! (2007), about one individual's message as that individual travels through time and becomes embodied in different races. He also went on to do an independent film, Finishing the Game (2007), a mockumentary on the events surrounding the production of Bruce Lee's final film, Game of Death. It premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, and was also selected as the opening night film at a variety of North American film festivals, for instance at the 25th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival.
Lin returned to direct Fast & Furious, the fourth in the film series, which opened on April 3, 2009. On its first day of release the movie grossed US$30.6 million, and peaked at the top spot of the weekend box office with $71.0 million. The film ultimately grossed $359 million worldwide.
Lin directed the follow-up 2011 film Fast Five, which holds the titles for the highest-grossing opening weekend ever in April (US$84 million), and for any car-oriented film. Fast Five also broke box office records for being the second highest spring opening weekend, and surpassed Fast & Furious (2009) to become the highest-grossing film in the franchise. It grossed over $625 million worldwide, making it number 63 on the all-time worldwide list of highest-grossing films (in unadjusted dollars), and the seventh highest-grossing film of 2011.
Following the success of Fast Five, Lin and his production company Barnstorm Pictures signed a two-year first-look deal with Universal Pictures, the company that owns the Fast and Furious franchise.
Lin continued with its sixth installment, Fast & Furious 6. It became the largest Memorial Day Weekend gross for a Universal Pictures movie ever, setting a record of US$120 million and a worldwide total of $317 million. It also became the highest grossing Universal Pictures movie in the UK, with an opening weekend UK gross larger than any other movie in the series. Specifically, the film took more than US$4.4 million on its opening day, the biggest opening day for both the franchise and the studio in that market, the second-highest opening of 2013 (behind Iron Man 3 at $4.7 million), and the highest-grossing film of the day with 54% of the market. In the UK, the film also finished as the number one film of the weekend, taking a ca. $14 million, making it the biggest opening for the franchise and Universal, and for a Vin Diesel or Dwayne Johnson film, and the second-biggest opening weekend of 2013 (again behind Iron Man 3, at ca. $18 million). The film performed relatively well critically. Metacritic describes it as having "generally favorable reviews", and Rotten Tomatoes reports 75% approval from top critics, and 83% approval from viewers, as of March 2017.
2015–present: Star Trek Beyond
In October 2017, Lin was confirmed to be returning to the Fast and the Furious franchise, directing F9. Originally set for an April 2020 release, the film was ultimately released in June 2021 after several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Announced film projects
In November 2012, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Lin planned to direct a sci-fi film entitled Hibernation.
At the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Lin acquired the narrative remake rights to the documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, the adaptation of which he reportedly plans to self-finance and produce through his Perfect Storm banner.
In March 2014, Deadline and others reported Lin as having been slated to helm Times Square, based on The Black List script by Taylor Materne and Jacob Rubin, a crime thriller about "set in the last days of the old Times Square, when it was transitioning from a seedy lawless Midtown Manhattan dump to a family-friendly corporate mecca; in that backdrop, when a secret from his past is unearthed, a young man's loyalties are divided between his neighborhood boss who raised him and the grizzled ex-cop who swore to protect him."
In June 2016, Variety announced that producer Steven Paul's SP International Pictures had acquired the rights to produce a live-action English-language feature film remake of the "iconic" manga, Lone Wolf and Cub, in an article where Lin went unmentioned, after a March 2012 announcement that Lin might direct such a film. In July 2016, Lin mentioned that he was re-attached as the director for an adaptation of the manga, and that he plans to have a predominantly Asian cast, saying
five-to-ten years ago, they would have wanted Keanu Reeves to play the dad. I think the cool thing about it is that filmmaking has gone global. There's many ways to make a movie and I think Hollywood has to evolve.
In September 2017, it was announced that Lin would be directing and developing a narrative version of the documentary Abacus: Small Enough to Jail by Steve James (Hoop Dreams), who serves as an Executive Producer on the narrative film, with award-winning playwright and House of Cards writer Kenneth Lin will be responsible for writing the screenplay.
Lin directed three episodes on the first season of the NBC comedy series Community between 2009 and 2010, which include "Modern Warfare", "Interpretive Dance", and "Introduction to Statistics". For his work on the show, Lin was nominated for two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series. In September 2011, Lin and his production company Barnstorm Pictures signed a first-look deal with Sony Pictures Television, who produced Community.
In October 2013, Deadline announced that Lin would be directing the pilot of Scorpion, a CBS drama produced by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The series is about an eccentric genius who leads an international team of super-intelligent experts tasked with guarding against complex threats of the modern age. The pilot would be based on the real life of information technologist Walter O'Brien. In addition to directing the first episode, Lin serves as one of the series executive producers, along with Nick Santora.
In December 2018, Lin signed an overall TV deal with Apple Inc., departing from his deal with Sony Pictures Television. In the fall of 2020, Lin's Perfect Storm Entertainment signed an overall film and television first look deal with Universal Studios.
Recurring film collaborators
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Lin has collaborated with several of the actors he has worked with in his first film, Better Luck Tomorrow in his later films, including movies in both the Fast and Furious and Star Trek film franchises, as well as his later independent film, Finishing the Game. Within the five films he has directed in the Fast and Furious franchise, he has also collaborated with the same core group of actors, with Vin Diesel and Sung Kang appearing in all five Fast and Furious films that he directed. From Star Trek Beyond's cast, he previously collaborated with John Cho in both Better Luck Tomorrow and Shopping for Fangs. Lin's most frequent collaborator is Sung Kang, who has appeared in a total of six of Lin's films.
Other collaborations with actors also come from Lin's previous works on TV shows. Both Danny Pudi, who Lin directed on some episodes of Community, and Shohreh Aghdashloo, who was featured on an episode of Lin's produced show Scorpion, have roles in Star Trek Beyond.
This section needs expansion with: a complete, sourced representation of his work consistent with the text of the article; otherwise delete the list. You can help by adding to it. (March 2017)
|1997||Shopping for Fangs||Yes||No||Yes||Co-directed with Quentin Lee|
|2002||Better Luck Tomorrow||Yes||Yes||Yes||Also editor|
|The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift||Yes||No||No|
|2007||Finishing the Game||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2009||Fast & Furious||Yes||No||No|
|2013||Fast & Furious 6||Yes||Executive||No|
|2016||Star Trek Beyond||Yes||Yes||No|
|Space Jam: A New Legacy||No||Executive||No|
|2023||Part one of untitled Fast & Furious film||Yes||Yes||TBA||Pre-production|
|2024||Part two of untitled Fast & Furious film||Yes||Yes||TBA||Pre-production|
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- In addition to any festivals listed in the text, the film was also selected as an opening night film at: the 23rd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival; the 30th Asian American International Film Festival in New York; the 2007 DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival; the 11th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival; the Asian Film Festival of Dallas;[when?] and the DisOrient Film Festival of Oregon.[when?]
- Goto, Taro & SFIAAFF Staff (February 24, 2007). "Finishing the Game [25th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF)], March 15-25 2007—Films & Events, Screening, Thu 3/15". AsianAmericanFilmFestival.org. Archived from the original on February 24, 2007. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
- "Fast and Furious 6 (2013) - Financial Information". The Numbers.
- "Fast & Furious (2009) - Financial Information". The Numbers.
- The prior record was held by Cars, which grossed $60 million.
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- McClintock, Pamela (May 26, 2013). "Box Office Report: 'Fast 6' Earns $122 Million-Plus, Runs 'Hangover III' Off Course". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
- Toro, Gabe (May 26, 2013). "Weekend Box Office: 'Furious 6' Leads Biggest Memorial Day". The Playlist. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
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- Finke, Nikki (May 19, 2013). "'Fast & Furious 6′ Breaks Records In UK-Ireland Before Begins Global Rollout May 24". Deadline Hollywood.
- "Fast & Furious 6". Metacritic. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- RT Staff (March 2, 2017). "Fast & Furious 6 (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
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- Fleming, Mike Jr. (December 22, 2014). "Star Trek 3's New Director Will Be 'Fast & Furious 6' Helmer Justin Lin". Deadline. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
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- Siegel, Tatiana (November 2, 2012). "Justin Lin to Direct Sci-Fi Thriller 'Hibernation' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Siegel, Tatiana (January 24, 2014). "Sundance: Justin Lin to Adapt 'Battered Bastards of Baseball' Doc". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Fleming, Mike Jr. (March 19, 2014). "'Fast & Furious' Helmer Justin Lin To Direct 'Times Square'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- McNary, Dave (March 19, 2014). "'Fast and Furious' Director Justin Lin on 'Times Square'". Variety. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Tartaglione, Nancy. "Justin Lin To Direct Chinese-Language 3D Remake Of 'The Shaolin Temple'". Deadline Hollywood. January 17, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Frater, Patrick (June 27, 2016). "Iconic Manga 'Wolf and Cub' Set for Live-Action Remake by SP International (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
- Chitwood, Adam (March 27, 2012). "Justin Lin to Direct Lone Wolf and Cub for Kamala Films". Collider.com. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Nugent, John (July 12, 2016). "Exclusive: Justin Lin talks Lone Wolf And Cub". Empire. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- Marnell, Blair (July 12, 2016). "Justin Lin is Still Attached to the Lone Wolf and Cub Movie". nerdist.com. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- Fleming, Mike Jr. "'Abacus: Small Enough To Jail' About Chinatown Bank Charged In 2008 Mortgage Crisis". Deadline.
- Finke, Nikki (January 6, 2010). "41st NAACP Image Award Nominations". Deadline. Archived from the original on October 7, 2018. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
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- Andreeva, Nellie (September 2, 2011). "'Fast And Furious' Director Justin Lin Signs First-Look Deal With Sony Pictures TV". Deadline. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
- Littleton, Cynthia (February 4, 2014). "CBS Orders Drama Pilot From Justin Lin, Nick Santora". Variety. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (October 14, 2013). "Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci Team With Nick Santora & Justin Lin For CBS Put Pilot, Sell CW Terrorist Drama". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- Adams, Sam. "First Reviews: True Detective Season 2 Loses the Light". IndieWire.
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- Kroll, Justin (August 27, 2020). "Justin Lin And His Perfect Storm Entertainment Banner Signs Multi-Year Overall Deal For Film And TV With Universal Pictures And Universal Studio Group". Deadline. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
- Christian, Aymar Jean (December 26, 2012). "Squad 85, Internet Icon: YOMYOMF is the Web's most diverse TV channel". Slate Magazine. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
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