Star killed in high-speed car crash, but film-makers
plan to proceed with movie in ‘respectful’ manner
HOLLYWOOD racing film Fast & Furious 7 will still be released despite the death of its star, Paul Walker, who was killed on Saturday in a high-speed car crash, sources have told Hollywood Reporter.
Walker, 40, died when the Porsche Carrera GT he was a passenger in hit a pole and a tree and burst into flames in Valencia, California. The car was being driven by financial advisor Roger Rodas, 38, the actor’s friend and the CEO of his company, Always Evolving.
Walker and the rest of the cast of Fast & Furious 7 were due to return to Atlanta yesterday to continue work on the unfinished movie. Sources told the Hollywood Reporter that Walker had shot most of his scenes although the cast – which includes Vin Diesel and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – were scheduled to shoot extra scenes in Abu Dhabi next month.
The film – the sixth instalment to star Walker as Brian O’Conner, a police officer who investigates the street racing scene by going undercover as a driver – was due to be released on 11 July next year. Executives at Universal held an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss “whether rewrites would be necessary and how to proceed in a manner that would be respectful to Walker’s death”, sources said.
Walker’s friend and his Fast &Furious co-star, Tyrese Gibson, broke down as he visited the scene of the accident yesterday. In a message posted on Instagram Gibson wrote: “My heart is hurting so bad no one can make me believe this is real…”
Walker, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, had been attending a charity event at the headquarters of Always Evolving prior to the accident. Witnesses said he and Rodas decided to take the red Porsche for a “joyride”.
The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw says Walker was typecast as O’Conner, but didn’t seem to mind. He loved the movies and did a lot of his own stunts.
“His great passion was for cars: he drove in the racing scene and his professional life as petrol-head cop Brian O’Conner appeared to mesh with his private life and celebrity persona, “His death has an awful appropriate irony – and sad too.