On Eve of ‘Fate of the Furious,’ F. Gary Gray Celebrates 25 Years of Filmmaking
F. Gary Gray was 16 when he decided he wanted to become a filmmaker. Always a compulsive planner, he drew up a step-by-step plan to break his way into the film business, and prepared himself to spend years in the trenches manning cameras, getting coffee on set, working as a driver. By his initial set of benchmarks, he hoped to be ready to direct his first feature by the time he turned 45.
As it turned out, that schedule was more than two decades off. Gray is now 47, and preparing to release his ninth feature later this month, nearly a quarter century after accepting his breakthrough directing gig, for Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day” video. The most expensive film of his career, “The Fate of the Furious” was shot across three different countries, from New York and Atlanta in the U.S. to Iceland and Cuba. It’s a long way, both literally and figuratively, from his first feature film, “Friday,” which the 23-year-old Gray shot almost entirely around the West Athens blocks of South Los Angeles where he grew up. The film, which stars Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron and Scott Eastwood opens April 14 in the United States.