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Filming is set to resume on James Wan’s Fast and Furious 7, which had to regroup following the death of the franchise’s co-founder, Paul Walker. We know that there have been rewrites on the sequel, and that Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner, will remain a star of the film. But now we’re starting to hear details about what the creative team might do to replace Walker in the part.
The New York Daily News (by way of THR) is quoting a source close to the production who has laid out how Wan will progress with his filming. The source says:
"They have hired four actors with bodies very similar to Paul’s physique and they will be used for movement and as a base. Paul’s face and voice will be used on top using CGI."
This gels with a theory we heard earlier that Walker’s own brother could have been used as stand-in for the late actor, and so it sounds like Universal, Wan and the franchises producers have opted to go this route in order to finish Fast 7 in time for release.
It is a solution recently employed by the filmmakers working on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay when they had to contend with the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman before filming had finished. Digital technology has progressed to the point where it can be used to create such visual cheats. Is it the best option? Absolutely not. But large commercial movies have to make complicated artistic decisions to protect their investments in the wake of tragedy. And the producers, according to the Daily News, think that Fast fans will accept the solution if it allows the sequel the chance to give Walker’s character (and the actor, himself) closure on screen.
Walker’s co-star, Vin Diesel, meanwhile took to Facebook to continue paying homage to his late friend. The message on this picture was decidedly cryptic, revealing only the title "The Two Pauls," and fans have been asking Diesel on the page to explain who the guy in the photo next to Walker is.
Wan will continue working toward bringing Fast 7 to completion. The sequel is due in theaters on April 10, 2015. The future of the franchise beyond that, however, remains up in the air.