New York, NY, USA

Asian Menswear Spotlight Series: Justin Lin


Justin Lin (born October 11, 1971) is a Taiwanese-American film/television director and writer. Known for directing highly successful blockbuster films, including Star Trek Beyond and the Fast and the Furious franchise, Lin’s movies have made over $2 billion globally.⁣⁣

⁣⁣Born in Taiwan, Lin’s family moved to the United States when he was 8, where his parents invested their life savings in a fish and chips shop in Anaheim, CA. The family lived and worked in the USA illegally, having overstayed their visa, and lived in fear of deportation until they gained amnesty through the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1987.⁣⁣

Lin experienced racism growing up; customers regularly racially abused his father in the family fish and chips store, and Lin was regularly called names and beaten up by bullies at school - partially due to his ethnicity and to his inability to speak English well. 

His love of basketball helped him overcome both challenges – learning English by reading biographies of players from his favorite team, the LA Lakers, and earning the respect of bullies by beating them on the basketball court.⁣⁣

Lin recalls only ever watching two films in a cinema growing up and developed a love for movies by watching video tape rentals. Watching tapes unlocked a desire to tell his own stories, and after high school, Lin graduated from UCLA with a BA in Film and Television.⁣⁣

⁣⁣His first co-directed film, Shopping for Fangs, starred John Cho and is now considered a cult classic. Lin’s first solo directed film, “Better Luck Tomorrow”, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to great acclaim, leading to Variety magazine identifying him as one of the top 10 directors to watch.⁣⁣

Lin’s first commercial success was with The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, the third Fast and Furious film. The success of the film revived the franchise, leading to Lin directing the next three Fast and Furious films. He was then offered and accepted writing and directing duties for Star Trek Beyond, a franchise he had loved as a child.⁣⁣

⁣Lin has since directed Fast and Furious 9 and 10, both of which are in post production, and is set to direct Hot Wheels The Movie, due for release in 2023.