Filmmaker David Ayer is probably best known for 2016s Suicide Squad these days. That movie was not a happy experience for him, and for years there have been cries of “Release the Ayer cut” as it was clear from the trailers and other materials that the studio interfered in what was a very different movie. So very Hollywood.
This is a shame, as many movies in his catalog are well worth checking out. Movies such as End of Watch, Fury, and Street Kings. He is also a writer. He wrote the screenplay to Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day. What many do not realize is that he wrote the original The Fast and the Furious movie with Gary Scott Thompson and Erik Bergquist. Fast And Furious is now, inexplicably, one of the highest-grossing franchises in the history of Hollywood.
So he’s loaded up on all those sweet residuals, right? Wrong! Ayer appeared on Jon Bernthal’s Real Ones podcast and he had this to say:
“Biggest franchise in Hollywood, and I don’t have any of it. I got nothing to show for it, nothing, because of the way the business works.
The narrative is I didn’t do s—, right? It’s like people hijack narratives, control narratives, create narratives to empower themselves, right? And because I was always an outsider and because, like, I don’t go to the f—– parties. I don’t go to the meals, I don’t do any of that stuff.
The people that did were able to control and manage narratives because they’re socialized in that part of the problem. I was never socialized in that part of the problem so I was always like the dark, creative dude, beware.”
The concept for the movie itself was based on a 1998 Vibe magazine article about the street racing scene. Ayer took the Thompson and Berquist draft and changed it up completely to turn it into what we know today:
“When I got that script, that shit was set in New York, it was all Italian kids, right? I’m like, ‘Bro, I’m not gonna take it unless I can set it in L.A. and make it look like the people I know in L.A., right?’ So then I started, like, writing in people of color, and writing in the street stuff, and writing in the culture, and no one knew s— about street racing at the time.
I went to a shop in the Valley and met with like the first guys that were doing the hacking of the fuel curves for the injectors and stuff like that, and they had just figured it out and they were showing it, and I’m like, ‘Oh f— yeah, I’m gonna put that in the movie.’”
The Fast & Furious movies have now banked over $7 billion and counting, and Ayer has none of it, despite being instrumental in its concept and approach.
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