Fast & Furious 7 delayed but still going ahead after Paul Walker death
Star of the street racing franchise had filmed the majority of his scenes before he died in a car crash last Saturday
• Tributes pour in for Fast & Furious star after fiery crash
• Los Angeles coroner waits on dental records for two victims
Autopsy results for Fast & Furious actor Paul Walker could be released as early as Tuesday as medical examiners wait on dental records to identify the actor’s body, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner said on Monday.
Walker, 40, who became a symbol of street-racing and car culture in his roles in the Fast & Furious franchise, was a passenger in a fiery one-car crash on Saturday in Santa Clarita, California, about 30 miles north-west of Los Angeles.
Walker’s publicist and media reports identified the driver of the red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that crashed into a utility pole and burst into flames as Roger Rodas, 38, a friend of Walker’s who owned Always Evolving, an auto dealership and racing services company in Santa Clarita.
“Evidently both individuals were seen getting into the vehicle minutes before the crash,” Winter said.
“We’re waiting for dental records,” Los Angeles County coroner spokesman Edward Winter said. “The bodies are unidentifiable.”
The Associated Press reported on Monday the neighborhood where the crash occurred is known to attract street racers, according to law enforcement officials.
The two had taken what was expected to be a brief drive away from a charity fundraiser and toy drive at Rodas’ custom car shop in the southern California community of Valencia.
The crash happened on a street that forms an approximately one-mile loop amid industrial office parks and is rimmed by hills and isolated from traffic, especially on weekends.
“It’s well-known out here that that’s a hot spot for street racers,” California highway patrol sergeant Rick Miler said. “It’s a long stretch where, weekends, businesses are all closed and they feel like nobody’s going to bother them up there.”
The Los Angeles County sheriff’s department is still investigating the accident but already has said speed was a factor. The posted limit was 45mph.
Investigators are trying to determine how fast the car was traveling and what caused it to go out of control, including whether the driver was distracted or something in the road prompted him to swerve.
Walker and Rodas had bonded over their shared love of racing.
Rodas, 38, and Walker, 40, co-owned an auto racing team named after Rodas’ shop, Always Evolving. Rodas was a financial adviser as well as a professional driver who competed in 10 Pirelli World Challenge GTS races in 2013, his first year on the circuit. He finished second in rookie of the year standings, circuit spokesman Dave Drimmie said.
Walker starred in all but one of the six Fast & Furious blockbusters. He had been on break from shooting the latest installment.
On Monday, fans of Walker continued to gather at the crash site, leaving flowers and memorabilia from the movie franchise about fast cars that made him famous.
Production of Fast & Furious 7, which began filming in September, has been delayed but will not be scrapped, industry trade publication the Hollywood Reporter said, citing sources.
The publication reported that Comcast Corp-owned Universal Pictures, the big-budget film’s studio, and Fast 7 director James Wan spoke on Sunday about how to continue with the film following Walker’s death.
A representative for Universal was not immediately available to comment on the status of the film, which is to be released on July 11.
The Fast & Furious franchise, which stars Vin Diesel, has grossed more than $2bn at the global box office since its first film was released in 2001.
Walker stars in the Hurricane Katrina survival drama Hours, which will be released on December 13, and also the crime drama Brick Mansions, which is in post-production and will be released next year.
Paul Walker‘s final Fast & Furious film remains on course for a cinema release, despite the death of its 40-year-old star in a road accident on Saturday.
Sources told the Hollywood Reporter that production on Fast & Furious 7 would be delayed, with the shoot in Atlanta unlikely to resume until today or tomorrow at the earliest. There were no plans to abandon the film, for which Walker had shot the majority of his scenes. However, the cast were due to travel to Abu Dhabi in January for an additional shoot and the movie was likely to be delayed beyond its planned July 2014 release date.
The Atlanta shoot had been on hold for the Thanksgiving holiday. Walker, who played Brian O’Conner in the Fast & Furious films, had returned to southern California during the hiatus. He died on Saturday afternoon when the limited-edition Porsche he was traveling in crashed and burst into flames in Valencia, Santa Clarita. The driver of the vehicle has been identified as financial advisor and fellow car enthusiast Roger Rodas, CEO of Walker’s company Always Evolving.
Meanwhile, producers of another Walker film said they would be moving forward with the planned 13 December release of Hurricane Katrina drama Hours, described as a passion project for the actor. “After lots of back and forth, this is our decision. It’s Paul’s tour de force. He’s in every frame of the movie,” Paul Presburger of production company Panteliontold The Hollywood Reporter. “Paul would have very much wanted us to move forward. He was incredibly proud of this project. We did a press junket two weeks ago, and I remember sitting with him and how excited he was for people to see this movie. He was looking for something to showcase his acting skills, which he so rarely had the chance to do. He hit it out of the park.”
Walker’s co-star and friend Tyrese Gibson broke down in tears after visiting the crash site yesterday to place flowers. “Not just a family on camera – we’re a real family,” he later tweeted.
Co-stars Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel have also expressed their remorse online, the latter writing on Instagram: “Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace.”
- Autopsy results for “Fast & Furious” actor ,Paul Walker, may be released later today (freedwnld.wordpress.com)
- Walker’s autopsy results due this week (iol.co.za)
- Fast and Furious 7 will proceed despite death of Paul Walker (thenewstribe.com)