EXCLUSIVE: After spending the past decade plus-directing some of the biggest tentpoles in town, Justin Lin is returning to his indie roots. Sources tell Deadline he is set to direct The Last Days of John Allen Chau as his next film. Ben Ripley is penning the script, with filming to begin this spring across the globe.
Lin has spent the past 15 years helping turn the Fast & Furious series into one of the biggest franchises in the industry while also stepping in to direct the tentpole Star Trek Beyond in that period as well. Even as he rose in the ranks of A-list directors, he would let it be known to be people in his inner circle that he always wanted to get back to his indie roots, and once the project landed financing the opportunity to direct the film was too hard to pass up.
That said, he is very much in the big-budget tentpole business starting with his adaptation One Punch Man for Sony. Sources say a new draft of that script is due in the coming weeks, and Sony is very high on the project but wanted to give Lin the opportunity to direct The Last Days of John Allen Chau and hope once that is finished he can jump into One Punch Man.
The Last Days of John Allen Chau is based on the Outside Magazine article of the same name published by journalist Alex Perry. The film follows Chau, who believes he has been chosen to save the souls of the uncontacted tribe of North Sentinel Island, a protected site in the Indian Ocean where outsiders are forbidden. He embarks on a harrowing journey to proselytize the Sentinelese in his desperate search for identity, purpose and belonging.
Ripley’s produced feature credits include the Jake Gyllenhaal time-travel thriller Source Code; Boychoir with Kathy Bates and Dustin Hoffman; and Flatliners with Elliot Page, Diego Luna and Kiefer Sutherland.
Lin is a filmmaker whose movies have grossed more than $2 billion worldwide and is responsible for rebooting The Fast and Furious franchise and creating innovative projects in both TV and film. Over his career, Lin has championed representation and diversity and it continues to remain a priority in his storytelling. His directorial debut, the acclaimed Better Luck Tomorrow, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of its release.
Lin and Perfect Storm are repped by CAA and Sloane, Offer, Weber, Dern. Ripley is repped by Brillstein Entertainment, Verve and Stankevich Law. Perry is repped by Speed Literary and Talent Management.
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