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Furious 8 director talks Star Wars influence on new movie

F. Gary Gray, the director of this year's critically acclaimed Straight Outta Compton, said he's embracing his inner J.J. Abrams for Furious 8.

The director told Collider that he wanted to take a different approach to Vin Diesel's high-octane action franchise, and thought the way Abrams approached Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a great way of going about it.

"Look at someone like J.J. Abrams who gives you the spectacle and great action set pieces, but also gives you character and plotting and narrative," Gray said. "You amp up everything, you work on the performances, you work on the story, you work on the action; it's just not one thing."

Gray couldn't give too much away about the eighth installment, but said he and Diesel have had serious conversations about where they want to take the franchise and how they can accomplish that. He added that it was very important to the both of them that the series not feel like a carbon copy of the last few movies.

Furious 8 also marks the first film in the franchise without star Paul Walker, who died in a tragic car crash in November 2013.

The movie is set to be released in theaters on April 14, 2017.