Lin at the Star Trek Beyond premiere in Japan
|Pinyin||Lín Yìbīn (Mandarin)|
11 October 1971|
|Origin||Cypress, California, U.S.|
Justin Lin (traditional Chinese: 林詣彬; simplified Chinese: 林诣彬; pinyin: Lín Yìbīn, born October 11, 1971) is a Taiwanese American film director whose films have grossed US$2.3 billion worldwide as of March 2017. He is best known for his directorial work on Better Luck Tomorrow, The Fast and the Furious movies (3-6), as well as on Star Trek Beyond. He is also known for his work on television programs like Community, and the second season of True Detective.
Justin Lin was born on October 11, 1971 in Taipei, Taiwan. He grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Cypress, California, in Orange County. He attended Cypress High School, and then the University of California, San Diego for two years. He then transferred 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.
Justin 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 wrote and directed a documentary, Crossover (2000), which focused on the 70-year-old phenomenon of the Japanese American Basketball Leagues, which were established in the 1930s.
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]
This section's content on box office revenues and their comparisons possibly contains original research. (March 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
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 The Fast and the Furious films, creating the franchise.
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 do 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$31 million, and peaked at the top spot of the weekend box office with $71 million. It held the title for the highest-grossing opening weekend ever in April at that time. As of May 2009 the film has grossed a total of $346 million worldwide.
Lin directed and released the follow-up film Fast Five in 2011, 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.
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.
This section needs expansion with: a more complete, sourced overview of all appearing film work since 2015, consistent with the foregoing level of detail. You can help by adding to it. (March 2017)
In November 2012, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Lin planned to direct a sci-fi film entitled Hibernation.
In February 2013, Deadline announced that Lin would helm a film adaptation of a thriller novel entitled The Breach by Patrick Lee.
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 November 2014, Deadline reported that Lin and Universal are discussing a return to direct the eighth Fast and Furious film with a multi-picture deal and an additional installment which will then close out the franchise. However, F. Gary Gray ended up helming the eighth installment, The Fate of the Furious.
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 Justin 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 2016, Deadline reported that Lin would be the director and producer for the film Hot Wheels, a feature film based on Mattel's line of toy racing cars that Legendary Pictures is attached to co-produce.
The reboot of the film Highlander (1986) was reported by Variety to be moving forward, as of November 2016, with Chad Stahelski directing, after the August 2011 announcement that Lin had dropped plans to direct it because of scheduling conflicts with Fast & Furious 6, although remaining on the project as an Executive Producer.
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.
Justin Lin has directed several 2010 and later episodes of the NBC comedy series Community, including "Modern Warfare", which aired on May 6, 2010, as well as "Interpretive Dance",[when?] and "Introduction to Statistics".[when?][verification needed]
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 pilot would be based on the real life of Walter O'Brien.[who?] In addition to directing the first episode, Lin serves as one of the series Executive Producers, along with Nick Santora. 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.
Also in October 2013, Deadline announced that Lin would be directing the pilot episode of an untitled TV crime series created by Shawn Ryan and Davey Holmes, Shameless, set in the Territory of Hawaii during 1957, when it was on path to its 1959 statehood decision. A synopsis of the show describes it as "statehood and tourism are about to make a few men very rich, and when the brother of a small-time Hawaiian hustler is murdered, he resolves to wage war on the most powerful man on the island."
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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 four 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 four 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)
Feature films directed:
TV series directed:
Short films directed:
TV series produced:
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