Posted: April 25, 2014, 1:15 p.m.
by Devon Landman.
It’s one thing for an actor’s character to pass away on a T.V. show or movie. But when the person dies in real life, it is extremely difficult for film producers and co-workers to both cope with the actual death and find the right strategy to have the production successfully continue.
Hollywood has had to deal with many deaths of famous actors. No matter the cause of the death, it still becomes a director’s worst nightmare having to cope personally, and having to professionally handle the future of that character.
When Paul Walker tragically died this past November in a car accident, “The Fast and the Furious 7,” currently being filmed in Atlanta, was stopped. However, after months of coping with Walker’s death, the franchise recently announced that his brothers, Caleb and Cody Walker, are going to fill in the late actor’s remaining action scenes. According to People Magazine, “The franchise posted ‘A Note to the Fans’ on Facebook Tuesday to thank audiences and to announce that The Fast and the Furious 7, will be completed.”
The note said, “We came together and all felt the only choice was to continue. We believe our fans want that, and we believe Paul would want that too. Paul had already shot his dramatic scenes and most of his action for The Fast & Furious 7, and it’s among the strongest work of his career.”
The note further said, “We have resumed shooting and now welcome Paul’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, into our Fast family. Caleb and Cody are helping us complete some remaining action for their brother and fill in small gaps left in production. Having them on set has made us all feel that Paul is with us too.”
Having Walker’s brothers fill in for him was a smart move by the franchise for a few reasons:
1. The fans can have closure with the death of both Walker and his character.
If the series had just abruptly ended, fans would have had many unanswered questions. Also, fans of Walker can see him have his last hard-earned screen time since he was alive to film the majority of the last film.
2. It honors Walker’s work.
Vin Diesel, a dear friend of Walker, announced the film will be released next spring, and its completion “will allow the character of Brian O’Conner to live on and let us celebrate Paul in his most defining role.”
3. Having a family member take his place makes no room for discontentment from the fans.
If producers decided to replace Walker with another one of Hollywood’s famous actors, fans would be critical of how the actor plays Walker’s character. The fact that they are having Walker’s brothers fill in allows the audience to remember his familiar face.
Although there is no good way for filmmakers and directors to say goodbye to a deceased actor, “The Fast and the Furious” franchise has handled Walker’s death the best way it could. With this strategy, the franchise should expect to see high numbers rolling in the movie boxes next spring.