Why Paul Walker Wasn’t Sure He Wanted to do ‘Furious 7’
Before his tragic death, late actor Paul Walker was one of the original cast members of the Fast franchise. He first got on board along with Vin Diesel in the original The Fast and the Furious. As many know, his last movie in that universe was Furious 7. But at one point, Walker seriously considered walking away from the franchise before the seventh installment.
How Paul Walker got involved with ‘The Fast and the Furious’ franchise
Paul Walker was a part of the franchise even before it began. In an interview with Motor Trend, he once explained how starring in a completely different movie led to the mega-blockbuster.
“I was working on a movie called The Skulls,” Walker revealed. “The studio, producer and director asked, ‘What do you want to do next?’ I said, ‘I want to do a movie where I’m racing cars or I’m an undercover cop.’ They combined the two and that’s how The Fast and the Furious came to be.”
Since the first movie, however, the later Fast and the Furious films steered in a bit of a different direction than the original. It was a change that Walker took notice of.
“Now it’s not just a car movie. It’s a heist movie. It’s an action movie. I jokingly ask, ‘Where else is there to go?’ Unless our cars start turning into robots,” he quipped.
But the Pleasantville actor even admitted he wasn’t completely fine with the evolution of the series.
“It’s bittersweet for me. I don’t think we’d be where we are if it weren’t for minds like [director] Justin Lin and dedication from people like [co-star] Vin [Diesel]. But, being a car guy, I always want things to be more authentic. When it comes to the driving, at this point we stretch what’s plausible, and I struggle with it,” Walker said.
Why Paul Walker wasn’t sure about ‘Furious 7’
In an interview with Collider, Walker once expressed that he wasn’t sure if he was willing to do Furious 7. This was mostly because James Wan was going to direct the film. Walker was already used to collaborating with his previous director Justin Lin, and was far from ok with switching directors.
“I was so scared to do it without Justin,” he said.
Walker remembered running into J.J Abrams at South by Southwest, and asking his opinion on the matter.
“They want us to go do another Fast & Furious, but my man, Justin, isn’t coming back. I don’t know if I want to do it,” Walker told Abrams. “He said, ‘F***, don’t do it then.’ That was coming from a director. I thought that was cool. I really was like, ‘I don’t know.’”
But later, Walker spoke to an associate of Wan’s who convinced him that the Aquaman director was trustworthy.
“I was still deciding, and Peter Safran, a producer on Hours, did The Conjuring with James. So, when James was anointed as the new guy, Peter called me up and said, ‘Dude, you’re gonna love him. That guy’s amazing!’ Coming from Peter, that meant something. I really respect him.” Walker recalled.
That was enough to convince Walker to put faith in Wan.
“My intuition is on point with people. I can read people. Even through the phone, you can read sincerity. You can’t bulls*** me. I’ve been around too many sharks, for too long. I was like, ‘He’s a really good guy.’ I called up Peter and was like, ‘You weren’t kidding. This guy is awesome,'” he continued. “And then, I was like, ‘Sweet people get eaten up.’ I started thinking like that. “
Vin Diesel believed that Paul Walker sent John Cena to Furious 9
As many know, Fast 9 introduces Vin Diesel’s brother. Casting this newcomer, however, was an anxious process for Diesel, who revealed on The Kelly Clarkson Show he had trouble figuring out who was right for the role.
“For two months before I went into filming, I created a shrine where I could do all the combat training, all the stunts and I had the Charger there to simulate the garage to get into the Dom state of mind,” Diesel said. “Now the idea of the brother worked great on paper, but when the time came to cast it, anxiety. Who could you cast to be Dom’s brother and 20 years into the game? The audience knows our mythology so much.”
According to Diesel, Walker helped him find the answer.
“[Cena] comes into the shrine one morning, and I had this strange feeling…that Paul Walker had sent him,” he confided.