The previous instalment in the car-racing franchise, Furious 7, broke box office records with its $1.5 billion earnings.
Universal Pictures is desperate to recreate similar success with Furious 8, but according to The Hollywood Reporter the studio is now in a panic to meet the film’s April 2017 release date deadline.
The outlet claims in addition to coming up short in the hunt for a director, the departure of studio co-president of production Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, who oversaw the Furious franchise, is causing even more problems.
Director James Wan apparently found making the last movie tough. While filming Furious 7, one of the movie’s main stars Paul Walker passed away and his role was eventually filled by his brothers Caleb and Cody.
The stress from Paul’s death and the resultant production chaos reportedly left James struggling.
“[James] is said to have felt that rather than life altering, the deal could have been life ending,” the outlet wrote. “Insiders confirm that the $200 million, two-year production of Furious 7 was so demanding that it actually compromised Wan’s health.”
A Universal spokesperson issued a statement on the matter insisting the only reason why James isn’t returning for Furious 8 is because he is already booked to direct The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist.
“The studio and filmmakers loved working with James on Furious 7, but he was never in the mix for an eighth film due to a scheduling conflict with The Conjuring 2,” the Universal rep noted. “We are actively casting and searching for the right director for the next chapter of the franchise.”