Make no mistake about it. Furious 7, the latest film in the Fast and Furious franchise kicks some serious butt. The film is jam packed with high octane stunts and car chases but this movie also packs an emotional punch. It is the last of the franchise to star actor Paul Walker who died tragically in a car accident at the time the movie was shooting.
On November 30, 2013, at approximately 3:30 p.m. PST, in Valencia, California, Walker and his friend Roger Rodas, 38, left an event for Walker's charity Reach Out Worldwide for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in Rodas's red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT. The car crashed into a concrete lamppost and two trees on Hercules Street, a 45 miles per hour (72 km/h) speed zone near Kelly Johnson Parkway in Valencia, Santa Clarita, California, after which the vehicle burst into flames. The crash was caught on film by a security camera. Authorities determined that Rodas was driving the car, while Walker was the passenger. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department declared both victims dead at the scene. Rodas died of multiple traumatic injuries, while Walker died from the combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries, according to the Los Angeles county coroner's office. Both of their bodies were burned beyond recognition.
With Furious 7 in the middle of filming at the time of Walker's death the studio, Universal announced an indeterminate hiatus on the production, citing a desire to speak with his family before determining what to do with the film. The cast and filmmakers were beyond devastated citing Walker as not only a co-star and close friend but family.
No one was more shook up than Vin Diesel who had been one of Paul's closest friends for the past fifteen years. Diesel who not only stars in Furious 7 is also a producer and was clearly torn as to whether or not they should have even finished the film, but in the end decided that they would and that it would be a final tribute to their friend. The last scene in the movie includes a very touching tribute to Walker that will leave audiences and fans alike in tears. Vin stated during the recent press junket for the movie, "We all knew that it was our job to lead the legacy for someone we love, and someone the world loved," said Diesel. "That's why the ending is as precious as it is."
Universal Pictures put the production on hold a month after Paul Walker died, before filming resumed in April 2014. Walker's brothers Cody and Caleb were used as stand-ins for the actor and CGI was used to fill in the gaps.
Diesel who has been out promoting Furious 7 has been quite emotional whenever he talks about Paul. I had the opportunity to discuss the movie with Vin in Los Angeles and the actor got quite choked up when I asked him what he will remember most about his friend. Click the link below for our interview.
Furious 7 is in theaters on April 3rd