F Gary Gray Biography
F Gary Gray (Felix Gary Gra) is an American film director, film producer, music video director, and actor. Gray directed Friday, Set It Off, The Negotiator, The Italian Job, and Straight Outta Compton. He also directed the eighth installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise, The Fate of the Furious, which is the 11th highest-grossing film of all-time.
He first appeared as an actor in the 1989 movie Major League. In 1995 he directed the video short Murder Was the Case: The Movie and the film Friday. Gray directed the movies Set It Off in 1996 and The Negotiator in 1998. In 2003 he directed the films A Man Apart and The Italian Job.
He also directed the movies Be Cool in 2005 and Law Abiding Citizen in 2009. He has also directed videos for the artists Cypress Hill, Babyface, R. Kelly, Ice Cube, OutKast, Usher, Coolio, Queen Latifah, Dr. Dre, Whitney Houston, TLC, Jay-Z, and Rick Ross. He has won Best Director awards at the Acapulco Black Film Festival and Black Reel Awards. He has received The Ivan Dixon Award of Achievement, the African American Film Critics Association Special Achievement Award, and the Pioneer Award.
F Gary Gray Wife
Gray has never been married but he was once engaged to actress Elise Neal.
F Gary Gray Net Worth
Gray has an estimated net worth of $10 million.
F Gary Gray Image
F Gary Gray Interview
Before we dive in, I have to ask you: what is your all-time favorite movie car chase, and why?
That is a really, really, really good question. Gene Hackman, underneath the [elevated train] – The French Connection. Bullit was dope, too. I know that’s a film school answer, but those are pretty dope because you have to really understand that they didn’t have the equipment that we have today. So to get that level of feeling was really tough with those big cameras back then.
Was that something you looked at as an inspiration for this movie?
You know what? Not really, to be honest with you. I’d already seen those movies because of The Italian Job [which Gray directed in 2003]. I did all of that film school homework before The Italian Job, so it was already sort of built in for me instinctively.
Speaking of The Italian Job, you’ve worked with many members of this cast before. [Charlize Theron and Jason Statham were both in that movie, and Gray directed Vin Diesel in 2003’s A Man Apart and Dwayne Johnson in 2005’s Be Cool.] How did those previous relationships affect the work on this movie?
Well, there’s an instant shorthand. While it’s been ten-plus years, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on the kind of “getting to know you up front” deal. It’s like, you know what they’re capable of, they know what you’re capable of, and over time, you’ve both grown. The balance of that growth you see in The Fate of the Furious. It’s a little easier.
We’ve seen the over-the-top action scenes escalate over the past few films. How much of a say do you have in the action scenes when you come into a huge machine like this? Is it all laid out beforehand, or do you have the opportunity to present your own ideas?
Nothing’s ever all laid out with anything that I’m involved in. It’s more of a collaborative thing. The one thing that was in place when I joined was the submarine. [Writer] Chris Morgan had this massive idea about a submarine on ice and the team, and having a car race in Cuba. Those were the two things that were kind of established when I joined the team. We just developed them from there. We went from a quarter mile in Cuba to the Cuban mile. That’s something that I wanted to adjust and make my own. The wrecking ball was a new idea that Chris Morgan came up with that evolved over the time during pre-production. The zombie car sequence was something that was really, really fun. There’s so much action in this movie! I’m thinking through all of it. I come in and as a director, I love collaborating. But you have to put your spin on the action as well.
So, pre-production, you come in, you’ve got a few things established, and then are you just in a room with Chris and Vin hashing out ideas, or do you drop some notes and Chris goes off and writes something and comes back to you? What’s that process like?
It’s a combination of all those things. It’s really a lot of sitting in a room with Chris and there are other partners who come in and out. Jay Polidoro, who’s one of the studio executives who doesn’t act like a studio executive. He’s like one of the guys, he’s extremely creative himself. Then you have Neal Moritz who comes in and listens to what’s going on and he’s like the guardian of the franchise, gives his input, stuff like that. But it was a lot of me and Chris in the trenches, really taking these ideas and seeing how far we can push them and making sure they fit within the story and within this world.
Do you feel like you were able to put your personal stamp on this movie? It’s the biggest thing you’ve ever done. I mean, Straight Outta Compton was big, but this is massive.
[Laughs] This is definitely the biggest thing I’ve ever done. But of course. This vision is a vision that I think definitely serves the franchise, but it’s from my point of view. I’d like to think that I know what the fans are expecting in terms of the spectacle, but with the tone, I had to bring my experience with drama and humor to tie it all together. So I feel really good about that. I’m really proud of this movie.