The cast and crew behind the long-running “Fast & Furious” series is nothing if not close. Unusually so, for any movie series. They put their all into making these films alongside filmmaker Justin Lin and were bonded as a tightknit group of friends. So the untimely loss of cast member Paul Walker would have been devastating under any circumstances, but they were all in mid-production on “Fast & Furious 7.” Thus Universal, having announced that they would share a percentage of the home entertainment proceeds on the movie with Paul Walker’s non-profit Reach Out WorldWide, is putting the movie on hold until they can figure out their options.
At the exhibitor convention CinemaCon last spring, “Furious” vets Walker and Vin Diesel expressed the family feeling that makes them give their utmost to this project as the ensemble watch each others’ backs. In other words, much like Screen Gems’ “Resident Evil” series, when a team commits long term to making a series great, it can be a gift that keeps on giving. “Fast and Furious 7” was set to open July 11, 2014.
Here’s the statement:
“Right now, all of us at Universal are dedicated to providing support to Paul’s immediate family and our extended Fast & Furious family of cast, crew and filmmakers. At this time we feel it is our responsibility to shut down production on Fast & Furious 7 for a period of time so we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise. We are committed to keeping Fast & Furious fans informed, and we will provide further information to them when we have it. Until then, we know they join us in mourning the passing of our dear friend Paul Walker.”
Tyrese and other of Walker’s “Fast & Furious” castmates visited the crash site; Vin Diesel wrote on his Facebook page, referring to Brian, Walker’s “Fast & Curious” character:
“Pablo, I wish you could see the world right now, and the profound impact, your full life has had on it, on Us… on me. I will always love you Brian, as the brother you were on and offscreen.”
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office has issued an official cause of accidental death for Walker and Roger Rodas, who was driving the Porsche GT that crashed on the side of the road and burst into flames. Passenger Walker died from “traumatic” and burn injuries, reported the coroner; Rodas died from “multiple traumatic injuries.” Toxicology results are still to come in several weeks.