James Wan to direct "Fast and Furious 7"

April 11th, 2013

James Wan is in line to direct 'Fast & Furious 7'.

The 'Insidious' director is studio Universal's first choice to helm the next installment in the high-octane speed racing franchise, and is expected to take over from Justin Lin, Deadline reports.

Lin is credited with revitalising the franchise, directing the previous three movies in the series, as well as the forthcoming 'Fast & Furious 6', but he recently informed studio bosses that he will not return for the seventh movie.

Universal was reportedly eager to rush the seventh film into production for a 2014 release with shooting to begin this summer. However, Lin opted to leave the franchise as he would have to juggle pre-production on the next movie while still working on post-production for the current film.

Wan is best known for directing horror movies such as the first 'Saw' movie, last year's hit 'Insidious' and will next bring 'The Conjuring' to the big screen.

The director was on a short list of potential filmmakers for the big budget blockbuster, beating 'Kick-Ass 2' director Jeff Wadlow, 'Contraband' director Baltazar Kormakur and 'The Karate Kid' director Harold Zwart.

The seventh film is expected to see the returns of franchise stars Vin Diesel - who is also executive producer on the series - and Paul Walker, but the status of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson has not yet been confirmed.

Lin gave his blessing to his successor, saying: ''I'm extremely proud to be part of the 'Fast' franchise; it is an experience I will always treasure. It's time for me to move on to other things and I'm thrilled that Universal and Neal have selected James Wan to lead the franchise into its new chapter.''

'Fast & Furious 6' is due for release next month.