Paul Walker's death in a car accident last November shocked the automotive community, but it also left the producers of the seventh Fast & Furious movie in a very tricky position. With production already underway, how do you finish a movie when one of its major characters is no longer with us?
If a report in the New York Daily News is anything to go by, you use a mixture of body doubles and computer-generated images to ensure the star is still present where he's needed. It's a little disquieting that an actor can be replaced so easily, and while the studio is said to feel that fans of the franchise will be happy with the result, it's sure to cause more than a little consternation among Walker's fans.
Modern CGI techniques mean transitions between Walker's real scenes and those filmed using CGI should be seamless, however. The studio has apparently hired four actors with bodies very similar to Walker's physique. Those actors will be used as a base for movement in scenes, and Walker's face and voice can be applied afterwards using CGI. It's likely to be odd for the other actors involved in Fast & Furious 7 though, who'd filmed at least half of the movie before Walker's death. Many have worked alongside Walker since the very first movie, and even suspension of disbelief can't replace the rapport all would have had with Walker.
For co-star Vin Diesel though, Walker's accident has been a catalyst to make the best possible movie. "This time there is added purpose," he said, "a collective goal to make this the best one in the series."
Diesel also recently took to Facebook to share a picture of the pair, shooting the last scene they ever shot together. "There was a unique sense of completion, of pride we shared...in the film we were now completing...the magic captured...and, in just how far we’ve come," he wrote, before confirming the movie's April 10 2015 release date.