To make some of the most hectic scenes, director Justin Lin and the Fast and Furious team had to break the law, but the studio was prepared.
The characters featured in the Fast and Furious franchise don't shy away from breaking the law, and the same can be said about the team that was in charge of filming the third installment. Tokyo Race from 2006. The film, directed by Justin Lin, instead of focusing on Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) or Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), was starring Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) that he was sent to live with his father in Japan to avoid serious punishment.
While in his new environment, Sean found himself immersed in the world of racing where he met Han Lue (Sung Kang), a character we have seen in several Fast and Furious movies. His new friend served as a mentor, but he was also involved with Takashi (Brian Tee), the famous "Drift King" and a man with connections to the Yakuza. Takashi quickly became Sean's enemy, prompting Sean to demonstrate his worth in the new city he called home.
When Tokyo Race was still in development, the director wanted to film in the Japanese capital to get the authentic look and feel of the city.
More specifically, the director had his sights set on Shibuya, one of the busiest places in Tokyo. The idea was to have a sequence with a group of runners adrift through the famous cross section. Obtaining a film permit is difficult in Tokyo, especially when it comes to foreigners. Justin Lin had been frank about this fact, but took the risk. So he continued filming the Fast and Furious movie without proper permission. The decision resulted in an arrest, but the studio, Universal Pictures, was prepared for the situation.
The studio was well aware of the difficulty of acquiring film permits in Japan. In fact, most of the movies set in the city are shot elsewhere and played to look like Tokyo. Since the 1967 James Bond movie, We only live Twice, laws and regulations have become stricter.
The process is expensive and frustrating, so films set in Tokyo are rarely authentic.
Some directors went out of their way to film on site. Like the case of Sofia Coppola negotiating heavily to shoot Lost in translation 2003. Lin, however, was still a newcomer at the time, so he took a chance. Universal then hired a "decoy" who stayed on set if problems arose. Shortly after filming in Shibuya, the police expelled the Fast and Furious team from the area. When the police tried to arrest the director, the "decoy" claimed it was Lin and spent a night in jail.
Lin managed to get some images, but most of the Shibuya sequence was created through special effects. As for the rest of the Tokyo Race, the majority of the film was shot in California, specifically Los Angeles. Lin had no problems and had a good enough experience to return for three more Fast and Furious sequels. The filmmaker is also at the forefront of the next two installments, that is, the ninth and the tenth, which should close the series.
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