Vin Diesel has been at the center of the Fast and Furious franchise for several films. But at one point, the actor predicted that Furious 7 would be by far the most significant feature in the hit series.
How Vin Diesel and ‘Furious 7’ was affected by Paul Walker’s death
Vin Diesel and the cast had a difficult time filming the rest of Furious 7 after Paul Walker’s unexpected death. The actor already filmed much of Furious 7 before his accident. Walker’s noticeable absence made Furious 7 feel more than just a movie for everyone involved, including Diesel.
“Fast 7 was the hardest movie I’ve ever had to make and in some ways the most important movie I’ve ever had to make,” Diesel once told Entertainment Tonight (via Contact Music).
Walker’s brothers and a bit of CGI would be used to recreate the late actor’s likeness for the movie. But having to act alongside his costar’s substitutes proved to be extremely challenging.
“There’s only one Paul Walker. When you’ve worked with someone for 15 years and you know each other’s idiosyncrasies and you’ve created magic together for so long, it’s a strange thing to mourn that person and simultaneously pretend that person is next to you,” Diesel said.
Vin Diesel almost canceled ‘Furious 7’ because of Paul Walker’s death
When it came time to continue filming Furious 7, Diesel was having a particularly hard time. Soon, the actor told the film studio that he couldn’t go through with the picture.
“I got on a plane, and told the production company I couldn’t shoot, just to cancel everything,” Diesel once said in an interview with Variety (via Pop Sugar) about hearing the news.
Eventually, filming on Furious 7 would resume. But Diesel had trouble tapping into the stoic Dominic Toretto when he was still mourning his co-star.
“I’m supposed to be in killer mode . . . I went through three boxes of tissues, and I felt so bad. I felt so embarrassed. I had always been the kind of actor that other actors respect. I was just failing so hard. My nose was running and my eyes were tearing. I had to walk off set to try to get all the fluids out. I couldn’t contain my emotion, and thus it became the toughest film I ever had to shoot,” he said.
Ultimately, Diesel decided to go through with finishing the feature because of Walker.
“There was fear. Could I finish playing Dom with such a broken heart? . . . I thought what Paul would really want me to do was finish it. So that’s what I did,” Diesel said.
Diesel also recalled how one of the last conversations he had with Walker involved death. He reminded that there was a considerable amount of risk involved in action films, and those risks could potentially lead to his own death.
“’If I do die, let them know what kind of brother I’ve been to you,’” Diesel remembered telling Walker. “I’ve played that over in my head countless times. That’s the last time I ever saw him.”
How ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ helped Vin Diesel mourn Paul Walker
The Fast and Furious films aren’t the only mega franchise that Vin Diesel is a part of. The actor also has a hit Marvel series under his name by portraying Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. The film couldn’t have come at a better time for Walker, as it helped him deal with his co-star’s death.
“That was healing for me,” Diesel said in a 2014 interview with Variety. “To play a character that could reincarnate, rejuvenate and represent life as trees do.”
The film’s director James Gunn noted how much of a relief playing Groot must’ve been for the grieving star.
“Vin was in a very sensitive place,” Gunn said. “It was not long after Paul passed away. I think the simplicity of Groot, the innocence of Groot and the creativity of Groot was a big relief for Vin.”
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