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Universal revs up another ‘Fast and Furious’

Diesel, Walker will return for fifth installment

Universal Pictures is hitting the accelerator on a fifth installment of “Fast and Furious,” currently being referred to as “Fast Five.”

Studio has closed deals with Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, director Justin Lin and producer Neal Moritz to return to the franchise, which has become one of the studio’s most lucrative.

Diesel and Walker sat out the third chapter in the series but returned for last year’s fourth installment, which was the highest-grossing “Fast and Furious” film and Universal’s top grosser of 2009. Its box office haul was more than $350 million worldwide.

Chris Morgan is writing “Fast Five,” marking the third time he and Lin have teamed for a “Fast and Furious” film. The story finds protags Dom (Diesel) and Brian (Walker) as fugitives being pursued by relentless lawmen.

Lensing will begin later this year for a 2011 release.

Original Films’ Moritz has produced every film in the series, beginning in 2001 with the “The Fast and the Furious.” Diesel is also producing.

Universal’s Jeff Kirschenbaum and Franklin Leonard will oversee the project for the studio.

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