Since the tragic death of Paul Walker during the filming of Fast & Furious 7, the question has been raised regarding whether or not production would continue. Walker has featured in six Fast & Furious films, all except the third, and his death from a car accident on 30th November has temporary halted production, whilst Universal Pictures and the filmmakers decided on a course of action for the film. Walker is estimated to have filmed almost half of his scenes when his death occurred. It has been reported that Universal have put $150million into the film, and the Fast & Furious films are the highest grossing film series Universal Pictures have produced.
It has now been reported that Universal are in contact with the films screenwriter, Chris Morgan, and are discussing ways to re-write the script to allow Walker’s character to leave the film, using the footage already shoot, and allowing the cast and crew to return to production in early 2014. Director James Wan, when questioned whether production would eventually resume has confirmed it will.
The Fast & Furious 6 DVD due for release on 10th December in the US has also been quickly amended by Universal marketing co-president Michael Moses, to reflect the new plans to donate a percentage of proceeds to Walker’s non-profit charity, Reach Out Worldwide, who transport medical staff and volunteers to places hit my natural disasters.
This is not the first occasion is which a film has faced difficulty due to the death of an actor. In 2008, production on the Terry Gilliam film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus had to be temporarily halted after the death of Heath Ledger during filming. His role was eventually shared between Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law, with each portraying transformed versions of his character, whilst the already filmed footage of Ledger remained.
Judging by the public reaction, it appears that the fans are keen on seeing the film being completed rather than re-made. Either way, it seems that Fast & Furious 7 will go ahead eventually. Universal have removed the 11th July 2014 release date, and Fox will release Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on that date instead.
Fast & Furious 7 is expected to be released in late 2014.
Update 19/07/14: Paul Walker’s brother has acted as a stand in for some of the films remaining scenes. Fast & Furious 7 has a UK release date of 10th April 2015.
Read the article at focusfilm.co.uk